Frequently Asked Questions
Why would my Veterinarian need to contact a board-certified surgeon?
Most veterinarians perform routine surgeries such as spays, neuters, some mass removals and other straightforward surgeries. However in some cases your Veterinarian may refer you to a veterinary surgeon for more complicated procedures. Reasons your Veterinarian may refer you may include:
- The procedure is one that they do not commonly perform
- The procedure requires specialized equipment that they do not have access to
- The procedure requires advanced monitoring for your pet
How can I initiate scheduling a consult?
It is important for us to work closely with your pet's primary care Veterinarian to provide the best quality care for your pet. For this reason, it is generally best if your Vet contacts us to discuss the history, physical exam findings and diagnostics prior to the consult. However, you are welcome to contact us directly if you wish.
What should I expect during my consult?
During a consult, Dr. Stoll will get a thorough history of the complaint, examine your pet, review any diagnostics such as labwork or radiographs, and discuss her recommendations. In order to do this, your pet must be present.
What questions should I ask prior to any procedure?
Prior to any procedure performed on your pet, we want to make sure that your questions and concerns are addressed and that you feel comfortable. Important questions to ask include:
- What are my options?
- What are the risks, possible complications and benefits for each option?
- How often have you performed this type of procedure?
- What is the likely outcome of this procedure?
- What follow-up care is expected for this procedure?
- What would you do if this were your pet?
What kind of pain control do you use?
Pets cannot tell us when they are in pain, but they will often show us with their behavior. We take great strides in anticipating the pain and treating it before it becomes evident. CCVSS uses a multimodal approach to keep your pet as comfortable as possible before, during, and after their procedure. With the use of epidurals, opioids, narcotic-like pain medication, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) we make every effort to keep their pain manageable. The premedication administered prior to surgery contains an opioid. Morphine, hydromorphone, or buprenorphine are typical opioids used in dogs, and buprenorphine is the opioid used in cats. The epidural used contains both a local analgesic and opioid that is injected to give consistent lasting pain relief for up to 24 hours post surgery, when pain is most severe. Depending upon the procedure performed, your pet may be sent home on a narcotic-like pain medication- Tramadol and/or an oral NSAIDS- Rimadyl, Previcox, Metacam, Deramaxx, or Onsior (cats) for pain and inflammation. The duration of pain medication prescribed varies based on the procedure.
What should I expect before surgery?
Starting at midnight the night before surgery, your pet will need to fast (no food allowed, but a small amount of water is ok). Just like for human surgery, anesthesia and some surgical medications can decrease the swallowing reflex. If your groggy pet vomits, there is a risk of aspirating, or inhaling, the vomit into the lungs. This is why fasting is so important for your pet. The morning of surgery don't forget to bring any medications your pet routinely takes or any special food. Upon arrival, you may be asked to read and sign an estimate and consent form in order to make sure everyone is on the same page. On this form you will leave the best phone numbers to be able to reach you. This allows us to be able to contact you after surgery to let you know how it went.
What should I expect after surgery?
After surgery, your pet may experience some of the following:
- Loss of Appetite
- Delayed Bowel Movement
- Whimpering or Vocalizing
What happens after surgery?
All post-operative instructions are written with your pets best interest in mind; therefore, compliance with all written instructions is extremely important. Although it may seem inconvenient, the short-term period of confinement, compresses, and exercises is developed for your pet's long-term benefit.
It is important to keep your pet calm and quiet after surgery. This means no playing with children, adults, or other animals. During recovery, confinement in a 4' x 5' enclosure is important to allow for proper healing. Because your pet is less active, they will not be burning as many calories, and therefore may need less food than usual. Reducing your pets activity means no running, jumping, or playing. That means no running up the stairs, no jumping on the couch, on the bed, or in the car, and no playing. Leash control is required for dogs when going outside to the bathroom. Some orthopedic procedures may also require sling support when walking. If your pet lives outside, it must remain indoors until you are told it can return to its usual environment.
It is also important to prevent your pet from chewing or licking at their incision(s) or bandage. If you think that they may want to do this, or if you notice that they begin to, an e-collar is necessary. Any bandage that is applied must remain clean and dry. If the bandage covers a leg, make sure to cover the bandage with a bag prior to going outside, then immediately remove the bag once inside again. In addition, if you happen to notice an odor or abnormal redness, swelling, or discharge from the surgical area or bandage(s) please notify us immediately.
Make sure to follow medication instructions, including giving the full course of pain medications and antibiotics. By doing this you are reducing the risk of infection and keeping your pet more comfortable. Animals are good at hiding pain; just because they don't seem painful doesn't mean you should stop their medication. If you struggle in getting them to take these medications, contact us and we can try to give you suggestions or tricks that can help.
Lastly, it is critical to bring your pet back for their recheck appointments. These appointments allow us to examine your pet post-surgery, get a detailed update from you, and when necessary take radiographs to assess healing.