We understand that leaving your pet for an anesthetic procedure can be stressful, especially when you do not know what happens during the day! We hope to take some of the mystery out of the flow of the day, so that you know what your pet will be experiencing during their time at Latah Creek Animal Hospital.
Prior to the Procedure
When scheduling the procedure, you will also be scheduled for a pre-surgical visit 1-2 weeks prior to the procedure. This will allow your pet to be evaluated prior to surgery for any health concerns, which can then be addressed prior to anesthesia.
This appointment will also allow us to obtain pre-anesthetic bloodwork. This helps show us how well your pet’s body can clear the anesthesia. For cats, the blood panel includes a test to help detect occult feline heart disease. Although anesthesia is never risk-free, bloodwork can help reduce some of the risks associated with anesthesia, and help with the personalized drug protocol that we select for your pet.
Doing both the pre-anesthetic visit and pre-anesthetic bloodwork prior to your pet’s procedure can help us screen for heart disease, kidney disease, liver disease, and other underlying conditions that would increase the risk for your pet for anesthesia.
The night before the procedure, your pet can have dinner as usual, and then no food after midnight (which means no breakfast). You may leave your pet’s water available as usual. Fasting helps decrease the risk of vomiting, which can lead to aspiration if it happens under anesthesia.
You will be provided with pre-visit medications to give at home the morning of your visit. This will include an anti-anxiety medication prescribed by the doctor. Even if your pet normally likes coming to the vet, this medication will help keep them calm and relaxed in their kennel both before and after the procedure.
Depending on the surgery and type of sedation/anesthesia we plan on using for your pet’s procedure, they may be prescribed an anti-nausea medication as well. You may use a small treat to administer these medications, as well as any normal medications they take in the morning.
You will be made an appointment to check in the morning of your pet’s surgery or dental. Please call our office when you arrive, and you will be escorted into an exam room to be checked in by one of our nurses. During this time, your nurse will discuss your treatment plan with you as well as answer any of your questions. While you are being checked in, a member of our patient care team will take your pet back to their kennel to get them settled in. Please bring items that you feel will comfort your pet, such as beds, blankets, toys, etc. These will be placed in your pet’s kennel with them throughout the day. Please bring washable items, as they may get dirty.
Preparing for Your Pet’s Procedure
All of our patients are pre-medicated with a personalized drug protocol to sedate them before being prepared for their procedure. Keeping their stress levels low helps keep them comfortable and can allow them to have a lower dose of anesthesia.
After sedation, an IV catheter will be placed. This allows for your pet to receive IV fluids during their procedure to help keep blood pressure stable and help keep your pet hydrated. It also provides access to the vein to help us administer medications quickly and painlessly.
An endotracheal tube will be placed to deliver both oxygen and anesthetic gas to your pet, as well as help prevent aspiration during the procedure.
During the Procedure
Your pet will be diligently monitored by a dedicated nurse or trained surgical assistant. Their vital signs, including heart rate, respiratory rate, blood pressure, oxygen level, and temperature are observed continuously and recorded every 5 minutes. They are placed on a warming mat to help maintain their body temperature and given a continuous flow of fluids to keep them hydrated, help their body flush out the anesthesia, and to keep their blood pressure stable.
Because we have a team member dedicated to giving their full attention to anesthesia, this allows the veterinarian performing the surgery or the nurse performing the dental to give their full attention to the procedure. This will help keep your pet safe and make the procedure efficient, decreasing time under anesthesia.
Spending the Day with Us
Your pet will likely be here with us for the majority of the day. Your attending veterinarian and nurse will decide the order of procedures for the day, based on a variety of factors including the procedures to be performed, stress of the patients, and length of recovery time expected before patients are able to be discharged. We will update you throughout the day to let you know when your pet is finished with their procedure and recovering comfortably.
Your pet will have several team members assigned to them. In addition to the doctor, your pet will have an attending nurse overseeing their care, as well as a surgical assistant and a team member dedicated to patient care. Your pet will be checked on regularly throughout the day to make sure they are calm and comfortable. In addition, your pet will be taken out to go potty several times, and we will provide a meal if appropriate. We provide a canned diet that is gentle on the stomach in case there is any discomfort or nausea after anesthesia; however, if your pet is on a special diet, please bring that with you.
Check-out and Returning Home
Your attending nurse will call you after the procedure is completed and your pet is resting comfortably in recovery. At this time, your nurse will coordinate with you to set a time for your discharge appointment. This is an important time to discuss your pet’s procedure and follow-up care. Please allow 20 minutes for this appointment.
Your pet may be sedate upon returning home. You may feed them a small meal in the evening and allow access to water. Your pet may need help navigating stairs or uneven terrain for the rest of the day. Please keep your pet calm and comfortable overnight, and give them plenty of rest and attention. Your pet will go home with pain medications, but if your pet still seems painful, please let us know and additional pain medications can be prescribed.
In addition to all the wonderful things that we do to keep your pet comfortable, we are also offering a special experience for patients uncomfortable in a kennel, those with separation anxiety, or anyone who has the availability to stay with their pet in the morning. After the check-in process, you and your pet will be settled in an exam room. You will be able to remain with your pet through the entirety of the process up until it is time for them to go under anesthesia. You will be able to be with your pet while they are sedated, while bloodwork is run (if too stressed to do prior to surgery day), and while the catheter is placed.
Your pet will be with you until it is their turn for their procedure.
We know that leaving your pet for surgery can be stressful, but we do our best to keep them as comfortable as possible. We are also happy to educate you about the process and answer any questions that you may have to help make the day as smooth and stress-free as possible for both you and your pet!
We only have one spot open per surgery day, if you are interested you can call one of our wonderful CCR’s at 509-462-7387.