What You Need to Know Before Your Cat's Upcoming Surgery
Many people have questions about various aspects of their cat's surgery, and we hope this information will help.
Is anesthesia safe?
Today's modern anesthetic monitors have made surgery much safer than in the past. We do a thorough physical exam on your pet before administering anesthetics to check for fever or other illness that might impact the procedure. We also adjust the amount and type of anesthetic used depending on the health of your cat.
Preanesthetic blood testing is important in reducing the risk of anesthesia. Every cat needs blood testing before surgery to ensure that the liver and kidneys can handle the anesthetic. Even apparently healthy animals can have serious organ system problems that cannot be detected without blood testing. If there is a problem, it is much better to find it before it causes anesthetic or surgical complications. Animals that have minor dysfunction will handle the anesthetic better if they receive IV fluids during surgery. If serious problems are detected, surgery can be postponed until the problem is corrected.
It is important that surgery be done on an empty stomach to reduce the risk of vomiting during and after anesthesia. You will need to withhold food for at least 8 to 10 hours before surgery. We ask you to pick up your cat's food at 8 pm the night before surgery so that you don't forget to do so before going to bed.
Will my pet have stitches?
Many surgeries, including spays and mass removals, do require skin sutures. You will need to keep an eye on the incision for swelling or discharge. Most cats do not lick excessively or chew at the incision, but if yours does, please let us know. There are topical bitter-tasting products that can be applied around the incision or your cat can be fitted with an elizabethan collar. No baths are allowed until the incision is fully healed. Skin sutures usually need to be removed in 10-14 days after surgery.
Will my pet be in pain?
Anything that causes pain in people can be expected to cause pain in animals. Cats may not show the same symptoms of pain as people do; they usually don't whine or cry, but you can be sure they feel it. Pain medications needed will depend on the surgery performed. Major procedures require more pain relief than things like minor lacerations.
Recent advances in pain medications have allowed for better pain control in cats than ever before. For most procedures, we administer a pain injection approximately 10 minutes prior to surgery. After surgery, pain medication is given on a case by case basis. Any cat that appears painful will receive additional pain medication.
What other decisions do I need to make?
While your cat is under anesthesia, it is the ideal time to perform other minor procedures, such ear cleaning or implanting an microchip. If you would like an estimate for these extra services, just let us know.
We ask you and your cat to arrive at the clinic the morning of surgery between 7:30 and 8:30. We will need about 10 minutes to get your kitty checked in and to go over paperwork. When you pick up your cat after surgery, you can also plan to spend about 10 minutes to go over your cat's home care needs.
We will call you the night before your scheduled surgery appointment to confirm the time you will be dropping your cat off and to answer any questions you might have. In the meantime, please don't hesitate to call us with any questions or concerns.