Scott P. Hammel,
DVM, MS, Diplomate ACVS
Most non-emergency surgeries are done on an out-patient basis. Occasionally, an overnight stay is needed following surgery. Your primary veterinarian will discuss the schedule of admitting your pet and sending him or her home ahead of time.
While many surgery times are less than one hour, the total time your pet needs to be in the hospital is typically several hours. Being in the hospital is a new environment for your family member. Animal care health teams are trained to treat pets in a way that relaxes them as much as possible. This can take time. In addition, we want to make sure we have time to thoroughly evaluate any changes in your pet’s health, perform additional tests as needed, and allow for administration of required medications.
In preparation for the procedure, the area we will be working on will be shaved. In many cases, an additional part of the body will also be shaved for access to a vein for fluid administration. These areas will be sterilized for surgery. We will only shave what is necessary, but it may seem like a relatively large area. For instance, a knee surgery requires the leg to be shaved and sterilized, from the hip to the ankle. This allows the surgical team to handle the leg during surgery without concern for contamination.
Your pet will have an incision that may or may not contain skin sutures. There will be sutures underneath the skin that you cannot see. The sutures you see will be left intentionally loose to allow for skin swelling, limiting irritation. We do our best to clean the antiseptic and any blood from around the incision. Nevertheless, it is possible you may see some dried or fresh blood near the wound. This is normal. Occasionally a bandage will be in place when your pet goes home, but not always.
The healthcare team at your clinic will give you instructions on specific aftercare for your pet’s surgery, as prepared by City of Lakes Veterinary Surgery and your primary care team.