"Surgery" can be a frightening word when it comes to your four-legged companion, so we make it a personal goal to detail the steps of what you can expect, should your pet ever need surgery, to give you peace of mind. Please refer to the sections below to learn more about the phases of dog and cat surgery here at La Crosse Veterinary Clinic.
When you arrive for your pre-surgery visit, scheduled up to one week prior to your pet's surgery, your pet will be weighed and a pre-anesthetic physical exam will be performed by the veterinarian. The procedure(s) and available options will be discussed, an estimate of cost will be presented to you, and the Pre-Anesthetic Consent Form will be completed. This form contains phone numbers where you can be reached throughout the day, authorization to perform the procedure, and payment methods.
Next, blood is drawn for pre-anesthetic analysis. Pre-anesthetic lab work is vital to determine your pet’s readiness for surgery and anesthesia, so the veterinarian can customize an anesthesia plan just for your pet. The tests are completed in just a few minutes, and the veterinarian will contact you if there are any abnormalities.
Day of Surgery
On the day of surgery, you and your pet will be briefly admitted by a surgery technician. Any last minute concerns or changes can be addressed before leaving your pet with us for the day. Pain management is paramount at La Crosse Veterinary Clinic, so before your pet ever receives anesthesia, we will administer pain medication first. Studies have proven that pre-empting pain is much more efficient in controlling it later on and also reduces the amount of anesthesia necessary.
While your pet waits for surgery, he/she will rest in a kennel. We provide separate facilities for cats and dogs. Our staff has your pet’s wellbeing in mind at all steps along the way. Our kennels are warm, soft, and safe. We treat each pet as an individual and try to offer them all the comforts of home.
As your pet approaches his/her surgery time, an intravenous catheter may be placed for the delivery of medications, anesthesia, or fluid therapy. I.V. fluids aid in maintaining good hydration, replacing blood loss, and sustaining blood pressure. Pre-anesthetic medications and pain relievers may be given to help relax your pet and prepare him/her for anesthesia.
Next, your pet will receive anesthesia, and a technician will perform a sterile surgery preparation. Surgery prep usually involves clipping away fur near the incision site and sterilizing the skin with an antiseptic solution. A sterile lubricant will be placed in your pet’s eyes for protection during surgery, and we will also trim your pet’s toenails at no additional cost.
Once surgery prep is complete, your pet will be moved into our sterile surgical suite. Your pet’s body temperature will be monitored and maintained through a variety of methods, including our heated table. Heart rate, respiration, EKG, blood pressure, and pulse oximetry are other vital signs that we can monitor closely during your pet’s surgery. Besides our monitoring equipment, a veterinary technician is beside your pet at all times, continuously watching over him/her. The veterinarian then drapes the pet and begins the procedure. Anesthesia and vital signs are constantly monitored, and additional medications may be given for pain or anesthesia as needed.
Once your pet’s surgery is complete, anesthesia will be gradually reduced, more pain medication may be given, and your pet will recover in a warm, soft kennel under the watching eyes of a technician. The veterinarian or technician will then phone you for an update on your pet. For the next few hours, your pet will be placed under observation as his/her body gradually clears any remaining anesthesia and returns to normal.
Later that afternoon, more pain medication may be administered as needed, and dogs will be walked outside. Most pets are normally ready for discharge between 4 to 5pm. Overnight patients will be offered food and water the next morning and are able to be discharged after 9am.
When you arrive to collect your pet, the procedure and any recommendations or medication will be discussed. You will receive printed discharge instructions specific to your pet, and payment will be taken. We will inform you of your pet’s post-operative condition and answer any questions that you may have. Finally, we will bring out your pet who has been eagerly awaiting your arrival, and send you home together. We are always available if you have questions about your pet's recovery at any time!