Why does my pet need a pre-operative consultation for surgery & dental procedures?

When scheduling a surgery or dental procedure, you might be wondering why a pre-operative consultation is necessary. The following are answers to some of the common questions we get from pet parents:

What is the purpose of a pre-operative appointment?

A pre-operative consultation allows us to do the following:

  • Set expectations for your pet's surgery or dental procedure
  • Make sure your pet is healthy enough to undergo anesthesia
  • Discuss the specific procedure - this includes healing times, size and site of incisions, possible complications, postoperative recovery instructions, when to return for a recheck; and more.
  • Create an individual surgical or dental plan for your pet - this includes which medications to use, the timing of the procedure, etc.

What can I expect to happen during the appointment?

1. Your pet will receive a full and thorough exam by one of our veterinarians (more often than not, you will meet with the specific veterinarian who will be performing the procedure). 

  • Note: If any abnormalities are noted (e.g. lung crackles or wheezes, heart murmurs, etc.) this allows us time to discuss recommendations and precautions to make sure your pet stays safe. Should it be a more serious matter, your veterinarian may recommend postponing the procedure or performing other diagnostics at that time. 

2. Next, we will discuss key points of your pet’s procedure: possible complications, post-operative recovery time, and tips to make the process as smooth as possible. This, of course, will vary for each procedure. 

  • As an example, you may be advised to order soft/canned food ahead of time if you know your pet will need dental extractions or you may be given recommendations on the best way to make sure your pet leaves their surgical incision alone.

3. Lastly, we will collect a blood sample that will allow us to ensure your pet’s organs are functioning properly (see below for more information).

Why is bloodwork important prior to placing my pet under anesthesia?

Bloodwork allows us to examine your pet’s organ function including (but not limited to) their liver and kidneys. These specific organs are especially important for processing the ‘inhalant’ (the gas that keeps your pet under anesthesia). If one organ is malfunctioning, it is vital that we know ahead of time as it helps us avoid certain risks.

  • Note: Based on the results of the bloodwork, veterinarians may proceed with the planned procedure, recommend further tests, make changes to their surgical plan, or postpone the procedure, depending on each case.

Your comfort level with your pet's surgery and their safety is of utmost importance to us. Please feel free to reach out if you have any other questions or concerns. 

Thank you for trusting us with your pet’s health, and for being the BEST pet parent to your fur baby!

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