Surgical Care for Your Pet Surgical procedures are often a necessary part of your pet’s general health care plan. When your pet needs surgery, the experienced veterinarians at Best Friend's Animal Hospital have a surgical suite equipped with state-of-the-art surgical equipment and offer a wide variety of surgical services for your pet. Our experienced, professional staff will treat your pet with the utmost care and compassion while in our care.
If your pet needs specialized surgery referrals to board certified surgeons are available.
Surgeries performed at our hospital include but are not limited to:
Growth removal or tumor biopsy
Laceration / wound repair
Stenotic nares correction
Corrective eyelid surgery
Urinary bladder surgery & stone removal
Emergency surgery (e.g. wound repair and others as needed)
Select orthopedic surgeries
Pre-Surgical Care Your veterinarian at Best Friend's Animal Hospital will give your pet a thorough physical examination before the procedure to make sure your pet is healthy enough for the surgery and anesthesia. Remember, pets can’t tell us if they don’t feel well. A physical examination is our first defense against performing surgery on an animal that could be ill, have an infectious disease, a heart murmur or could be debilitated from parasites.
At Best Friend's Animal Hospital, all patients age 6 or older will have blood work before anesthesia. All pets – not just the old or sick – should have a basic pre-anesthetic blood test to reduce risk and increase safety. Therefore, we strongly encourage pre-anesthetic blood work in all pets regardless of age. A healthy-appearing pet may be hiding symptoms of a disease or ailment and blood work can detect abnormalities that could affect anesthesia – even in pets younger than one year of age. We check a complete blood count (CBC), electrolytes, blood sugar, and liver and kidney values. If the blood work is normal, we can proceed with confidence knowing the anesthetic risk is minimized. These tests also provide a baseline for your pet if it becomes sick in the future.
Prior to surgery, we will discuss with you the recommended surgical procedure and explain why we believe a particular procedure is necessary, what the surgery entails, and expected recovery times. We also provide information on proper postoperative care and answer any questions you may have so that you feel comfortable that you are making the right choice for your pet. Itemized estimates of the cost for the procedure will be prepared and discussed prior to the operation.
During Surgery We have standard protocols in place to make anesthesia and surgery safer for our patients. Factors such as the patient’s age, breed, and health determine which anesthetic protocol is most ideal. At Best Friend's Animal Hospital we also use the pre-anesthetic examination, blood work, and the type of procedure to select the best anesthetic for each patient. Every patient anesthetized will have an IV (intravenous) catheter in place before, during and until your pet is well awake and recovered from the anesthesia. Intravenous catheters allow us to administer medications to your pet while keeping them more comfortable and give us instant access to a vein should an emergency arise during anesthesia – when every second counts. IV Fluids are also administered through the catheter to your pet during anesthesia. Every form of anesthesia tends to lower blood pressure and that can be harmful to the body and organ function. IV fluids help to maintain blood pressure. Your pet will receive IV fluids using a specialized fluid pump that allows us to deliver precise amounts and change the rate as needed.
At Best Friend's Animal Hospital, your pet’s vital signs will be monitored by a trained veterinary technician and an electronic patient monitor throughout the entire procedure. The patient monitor will be attached to your pet and will continuously measure heart rate, ECG, respiratory rate, body temperature, the amount of oxygen in the blood (pulse oximetry), and blood pressure. The most important monitoring tool we have is a trained veterinary technician dedicated exclusively to your pet while anesthetized. This individual is very “hands on” and will be assessing your pet’s heart rate, respiratory rate, gum color, and depth of anesthesia with her hands, ears, and eyes—not just relying on the monitor. Vitals are charted on paper every few minutes.
All pets, especially cats and smaller dogs, lose a lot of body heat while anesthetized. The resulting hypothermia can cause a life-threatening slowing of the heart and can also slow the anesthetic recovery. For this reason warmth should be provided and body temperature should be monitored regularly during and after anesthesia. At Best Friend's Animal Hospital, in addition to monitoring your pet’s body temperature, we use a heated surgical table, thick towels in order to keep your pet warm and cozy during its procedure, and may also use a Bair Hugger warming unit (which forces warmed air into a channeled blanket that is placed around the patient). This keeps the temperature up during and after surgery and provides a smoother, safer and more comfortable recovery.
A comprehensive pain management plan is developed for every patient to keep them as comfortable as possible. Studies show that pain control is much more effective if begun ahead of the procedure. At Best Friend's Animal Hospital, a specific combination of pre-medications selected for your pet will be administered in order to alleviate discomfort or stress and will also reduce the amount of anesthesia necessary for your pet – a huge safety benefit. Since anesthesia doesn’t control pain once the pet wakes up, we administer a variety of additional medications to relieve operative pain.
Postoperative Care At Best Friend's Animal Hospital, a trained technician is dedicated exclusively to carefully monitoring your pet from the moment anesthesia is induced until your pet is recovered and awake. Your pet will be closely monitored in our recovery area until they are stable enough to send home. We will stay in contact with you throughout your pet’s hospital stay, and we will provide you with detailed information on how to properly care for your pet at home after surgery. We are happy to answer any questions or concerns that may arise once you get your pet home. Many surgical patients are seen 10-14 days post-operatively at no cost to you in order to ensure a healthy surgical site and to address any concerns you might have.
Surgical Costs If you are finding an extreme price difference between two veterinarians there is usually a reason for the difference. You need to be aware of what services are included in the cost of the procedure. Many veterinarians don’t include services such as pain medication, pre-anesthetic blood work, balanced pre-surgery medications, intravenous catheters, fluids during anesthesia, and monitoring during and after the procedure into the general cost of the surgery.
Before surgery, owners should take the time to sit down with their veterinarian and ask questions about the procedure and the steps that will be taken to ensure their pet’s safety while under anesthesia. Your veterinarian should be able to answer questions about how your pet’s vital signs will be monitored while under anesthesia and who will be responsible for monitoring your pet.
If you have concerns about surgery in your pet please call, we would be happy to answer any questions you may have.