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Canine Surgical Procedures


What to know when surgery is recommended

We understand that it can be frightening to receive the news that a dog surgery is being recommended. It is important to understand that it is a recommendation that our veterinarians do not take lightly. Dr. Dolan and Dr. Robinson and the Creekside Animal Hospital team have decades of surgical experience with dogs of all breeds, big and small, young and older.

Most surgeries are considered to be low risk

Surgery always carries with it numerous concerns ranging from potential complications to prognosis for recovery. However, because veterinary medicine has progressed to encompass all modern considerations, the risks are very low to your dog having any major complications from most surgeries. Every recommendation for surgery is evaluated for surgical risk and is always weighed against the medical benefit to our patient. It is important to us that you understand the reasons as to why a surgical procedure is being recommended and are able to comfortably make the right decisions regarding your dog's health.

Canine surgical procedures fall into two categories where your dog is concerned, elective procedures and those that are urgently necessary.

Most common elective dog surgery procedures include:

  • Spay
  • Neuter
  • Dental extractions
  • Benign growths of the skin

Some common urgent care surgical procedures include:

  • Skin lacerations or abscess
  • Intestinal obstruction from a foreign body
  • Internal bleeding
  • Torn cruciate or ACL ruptures
  • Fracture repair
  • Malignant skin tumors
  • Bladder stones/urethral blockages
  • Spleen cancer

What happens on the day of the surgery?

  • You will withhold food from your pet after 10 pm the night before surgery.  Your pet can have access to water up until you drop your pet off between 8:30 am - 9:00 am the morning of the surgery.  Please allow at least ten minutes in your morning schedule so that your pet can be check-in and we can answer any questions that you may have.
  • Our veterinary technician makes preparations for surgery and screening that includes: lab work, EKG (electrocardiogram), IV catheter placement (for the administration of continuous fluids during the procedures), prepares the surgical suite and check the surgical supplies and equipment.
  • Our veterinarian will give your pet a nose to tail exam to determine that there are no medical issues that are physically apparent.
  • Pain medication is administered before the procedure to reduce post-operative pain.
  • Our veterinary team will induce your dog into a safe state of general anesthesia.
  • The attending staff monitors vital signs including breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, state of anesthesia, oxygenation levels and body temperature
  • The veterinarian performs the procedure and then closes the incision with surgical glue or sutures.
  •  Postoperative medications are given and postoperative care continues until your dog completely recovers from the anesthesia
  •  We will keep your dog hospitalized until they completely recover and is safe to send home.
  • When you pick up your dog you will be discharged by a veterinary technician and given home care instructions. Medication to minimize post-op discomfort will be sent home if needed.

Post surgical careGeneral home care instructions for after surgery

COMFORT: Providing your dog with a quiet place to recover indoors and away from other animals

FOOD and WATER: With the excitement of returning home after surgery, your pet may be inclined to drink and eat excessively, which may result in vomiting.  To avoid this, we recommend restricting access to water for an hour or so until your pet has quieted down.  Then, allow only small amounts for the first 8 hours.  Normal feeding may resume the next day.

ELIMINATION:  Many patients may not have a bowel movement for 24-36 hours after surgery.  This is normal.

EXERCISE AND ACTIVITY:  Due to the effects of anesthesia, he/she may be groggy for 12 hours. Your pet should be confined to indoors and taken outside on a leash only for elimination. Patients recovering from surgery or illness should have limited exercise.  Avoid access to stairs or situations that may lead to injury.  Preventing your dog from running and jumping for seven to ten days following surgery.  Leash walk your dog when during potty breaks so that they do not run and jump.

INCISION CARE:

  • Always prevent your dog from licking the incision site.  This can cause infection or the incision to open. If your dog is inclined to lick and direct and constant supervision is not possible, an Elizabethan collar (aka the party hat) or an inflatable collar must always be worn at all times.
  • Avoiding getting the incision wet in inclement weather
  • No bathing or swimming for at least ten days after surgery
  • Checking the incision site daily to confirm proper healing. Look for any redness, swelling, discharge, or changes at the surgery site.
  • We use soluble sutures under the skin for many of our surgeries which will dissolve over time and will not need to be taken out.

MEDICATIONS:  If medication is sent home it is crucial to follow directions carefully.

MONITOR:  A decrease in activity or appetite for one or two days may be observed.  However, if your pet exhibits any of the following symptoms, please notify the hospital:  (1) Loss of appetite for over 2 days (2) Refusal to drink water over 1 day (3) Weakness (4) Depression (5) Vomiting (6) Diarrhea

Please protect your pet when leaving the hospital by using either a leash or a carrier.  Excessive activity may result in your pet getting loose or result in injury if your pet is recovering from surgery.  Do not allow your pet to become overly active and excited when you pick him/her up from the hospital.

Scheduling surgery for your dog

If you need to discuss surgical options or schedule surgery for your dog, please contact us today. Our veterinary staff is highly experienced and caring dog people who are happy to help ease the stress and fear associated with dog surgery for you and your canine friend alike.

Our Veterinary Team Is Qualified And Able To Perform Surgery On Your Dog

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