So what happens when you leave your pet at the Egan Fife Animal Hospital for their spay or neuter surgery? Here’s a brief explanation of your pet’s day:
The night before surgery you will be asked not to feed your cat or dog after 8 pm, this means no breakfast. Water is okay until they come in.
The morning of your pet’s surgery you will drop them off between 8:30 and 9:00 am. You will meet with one of our veterinary technicians who will go over a few questions with you, as well as any of your concerns. Your pet is then admitted to the hospital for the day.
The veterinarian performing the surgery will do a pre-surgical exam listening to their heart and lungs, checking for any deciduous (baby) teeth that may need to come out, checking for abdominal hernias that need repair and making sure your pet is in good health for their anesthetic and surgery.
If you have opted to have bloodwork done on your pet (or if it is an older dog or cat in which the veterinarian has required bloodwork prior to anesthesia), they have a small amount of blood drawn, which is immediately run through our in-house laboratory equipment. Within 10-15 minutes the doctor has results to review. As long as they have no concerns, they will decide on sedation medications for your pet.
(Above: Our in-house laboratory)
Your pet will be pre-medicated with a sedative and pain medication prior to surgery. This allows them to have pain medication on board even at the start of surgery, and sedation allows them to relax prior to be putting under general anesthesia.
Once the premedication has had time to work your pet will have an IV catheter placed so that IV fluids can be run during surgery to help maintain hydration and blood pressure during surgery, and also to give immediate IV access in case any additional medications need to be given.
Next your pet will be put under gas anesthetic for the duration of their surgery. Monitoring equipment is placed to monitor their heart rate and oxygen saturation while your pet is prepared for surgery.
In female dogs and cats the hair on their abdomen is shaved, in male dogs the space in front of their scrotum is shaved, and in male cats the hair on their scrotum is removed as these are the locations of the incisions for each surgery. These areas are then cleaned to be aseptic for surgery.
Your pet is moved to the surgical suite where they are hooked up to further monitoring equipment, and also placed on a warming mat to keep their body temperature as normal as possible during surgery.
During the entire surgery a veterinary technician monitors your pet’s vital signs while the veterinarian performs surgery.
In female dogs and cats an incision is made into the abdomen. Both ovaries which are the hormone and egg-producing organ in females is located. There is a vascular attachment to each ovary that has to be tightly tied off prior to releasing the ovaries attachment to your pet’s body. The rest of the uterus is then exposed – this is the part of the body that holds fetuses and can also develop deadly infections called pyometra. There are lots of blood vessels associated with the uterus and ovaries, and these blood vessels are larger in mature animals that have gone through one or more heat cycles. Once the ovaries and uterus are removed and the doctor has checked that there is no bleeding, the abdomen is closed in 3 layers. All of our doctors use intradermal suture patterns so there are no external sutures to be removed in most of our patients.
In male dogs the testicle is pushed forwards to the prescrotal region where an incision is made over the testicle. The testicle which makes hormones including testosterone, as well as sperm also has a large vascular attachment to the body. These blood vessels are tied off with suture material prior to the testicle being removed from the body. The same procedure is performed on the other testicle through the same incision. Like with female dogs, the more mature the dog, the larger the blood vessels are that need to be tied off. This incision is then closed in 2 layers. Like our spay surgeries, out neuters also do not have external sutures to be removed.
Male cats have incisions over the scrotum rather and their testicles are tied with special knots that do not require suture material. Unlike our other spays and neuters, their incisions are left open to heal by second intention, and no suture material is used.
Once your pets surgery is done they are given another injection of pain medication, and will have their nails trimmed prior to waking up. We also offer microchip implanting at this time so that your pet can be identified if they ever get lost.
Laser therapy is another option for your pet as they are recovering from their anesthetic. The therapeutic laser is used over the surgical incision to help decrease pain and inflammation and to help speed healing after surgery.
Your pet is then moved to a recovery kennel where a technician sits with them while they start to wake up. They are also given warm packs if they are cold, and extra blankets while they recover.
Once they are able to sit up and move around, they are taken off their IV fluids and dogs are taken outside for a walk. They rest the remainder of the afternoon until you come back to pick them up. At that time a veterinary technician will go over the pain medications we send home with your pet after surgery, and the discharge instructions including exercise restriction.
We recommend you bring your pet back about 10 days after their surgery for the doctor to check their incision to make sure they are healing well after surgery. This post-surgery recheck is complimentary for each of our surgeries.
If you have any other questions about spay or neuter procedures, make sure to ask your veterinarian at your next appointment.
Weekends, Holidays and After-hours we are available 24 hours daily 365 days a year at our location for local service by your veterinary team. Please call our office in case of emergency.
Please note - Weekend, Holiday and After-hour service is offered only to current clientele who have not transferred their files to another facility and whose animals are a patient of our practice that has been examined by one of our doctors in the past 24 months.
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Egan Fife Animal Hospital