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What You Need to Know Before Surgery
What do I need to do to prepare for surgery?
Here at Lutherville Animal Hospital, we do a thorough physical exam on your pet before scheduling them for surgery. This allows us to determine your pet's health before safely administering anesthetics. Older pets may require a blood panel before surgery to check their internal organ function.
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. Water can be left down for your pet until the morning of surgery.
Drop-off time for surgery is between 8:00 am and 9:00 am Monday through Friday.
Will my pet have stitches?
For many surgeries, we use absorbable sutures underneath the skin. These will dissolve on their own, and do not need to be removed later. Some surgeries, especially tumor removals, do require skin stitches. With either type of suture, you will need to keep an eye on the incision for swelling or discharge. Monitoring your pet for excessive licking or chewing at the incision is also important. If there are skin sutures, these will usually be removed 10 to 14 days after surgery. You will also need to temporarily limit your pet's activity level and no baths are allowed for the first 10 days after surgery.
Will my pet be in pain?
Anything that causes pain in people can be expected to cause pain in animals. Pets 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.
For dogs, we may recommend an oral anti-inflamatory the day after surgery and several days after to lessen the risk of discomfort and swelling. For cats, we commonly recommend a liquid analgesic which is applied to the gum tissue to help manage your pet's pain level.
What other decisions do I need to make?
While your pet is under anesthesia, it is the ideal time to perform other minor procedures, such as dentistry or implanting an identification microchip. As part of any surgical procedure while your animal is under anesthesia, we will automatically clean your pet's ears and trim their toenails at no charge.