Q. Does the surgeon use sterile surgical attire?
A. Although most assume that all surgeons don a sterile gown and gloves and wear a cap and mask for surgery, that is not the case. At SNVH, the answer is yes. It does increase surgical costs to use complete surgical attire, but not doing so increases the risks of infection to the patient.
Q. Will my pet have an IV catheter in place before, during, and after anesthesia?
A. At SNVH, 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. Fluids are also administered through the catheter to your pet during anesthesia (see below).
Q. Will my pet receive IV fluids during anesthesia?
A. 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. At SNVH, your pet will receive IV fluids using a specialized fluid pump that allows us to deliver precise amounts and change the rate as needed.
Q. What monitoring techniques will be used during the anesthesia?
A. At SNVH, your pet's vital signs will be monitored by a Credentialed Veterinary Technician and electronic patient monitors throughout the entire procedure. The patient monitors 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), the amount of carbon dioxide (end-tidal CO2) and blood pressure. The most important monitoring tool we have is a Credentialed 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.
Q. Is my pet's body temperature monitored and controlled during and after anesthesia?
A. 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 SNVH, in addition to monitoring your pet's body temperature, we use a heated surgical table, a special blanket that has warm water circulating through it, and thick towels and fleece in order to keep your pet warm and cozy during its procedure. This keeps the temperature up during and after surgery and provides a smoother, safer and more comfortable recovery.
Q. How will my pet be monitored after surgery?
A. At SNVH, a Credentialed Veterinary Technician is dedicated exclusively to carefully monitoring your pet from the moment anesthesia is administered until your pet is recovered and awake.
Q. How will pain be controlled for my pet?
A. There are significant differences in anesthesia and pain control techniques among veterinarians. Studies show that pain control is much more effective if begun ahead of the procedure. At SNVH, 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.
Q. Will I be given post-surgical instructions?
A. At SNVH, a doctor or technician will review detailed discharge instructions with you at dismissal. Most 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.