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Canine Surgery

What To Know when Surgery has been Recommended for your Dog

We understand that it can be frightening to receive the news that a surgery is being recommended for your canine companion. It is important to understand that it is a recommendation that our veterinarians do not take lightly. If one of our veterinarians is recommending a surgical procedure, rest assured that it is with the best interest of your dog in mind. It is important to us that you understand the reasons as to why a surgical procedure is being recommended and are able to comfortably make the right decisions regarding your dog's health.

Canine surgical procedures fall into two categories where your dog is concerned, elective procedures and those that are urgently necessary.

Elective Dog Surgeries include:

  • Spay
  • Neuter
  • Anesthetic Dental
  • Benign growths of the skin

Urgent Care Surgeries include:

  • Skin lacerations or abscess
  • Intestinal obstruction from a foreign body
  • Internal bleeding
  • Torn cruciate or ACL ruptures
  • Fracture repair
  • Malignant skin tumors
  • Bladder stones/urethral blockages

Making the Decision to Proceed with Surgery

The decision to do surgery involves a discussion with the owner about possible complications and all factors to be considered when deciding what is best for your dog. Surgery always carries with it numerous concerns ranging from potential complications to prognosis for recovery. However, because veterinary medicine has progressed to encompass all modern considerations, the risks are very low to your dog having any major complications from most surgeries.

Factors to think about when considering surgery include:

  • Age and general health of your dog
  • Potential complications from the surgery
  • Potential outcome if surgery is not done
  • Recovery time and post op care required
  • Physical Therapy/Rehabilitation

Although the decision to have your dog undergo surgery is ultimately up to you, our veterinary team will present you with all the facts and possible outcomes to help you make an informed, ethical, and compassionate decision that is in the best interest of both you and your loyal canine friend.

Pre-Surgical Instructions

Pre-surgical instructions vary depending on the type of procedure being performed, and whether or not the surgery is emergency or planned.

However, we will provide you with a set of dog pre-surgical instructions that can be used as a general guideline for preoperative preparations.

These include:

  • Fasting your dog the night before surgery. We advise no food after Midnight the night prior to your dog's surgery. Minimal water is OK.
  • Being on time for your dog's surgery.
  • Listening carefully to post surgical instruction from your veterinary care team and calling the hospital if you have any questions regarding the post op care for your dog

Anesthesia for Dogs

We adhere to very stringent guidelines for administering dog anesthesia before, during and, if necessary, after surgery.

Anesthesia for dogs is extremely safe when the patients are stabilized before the procedure and all effort is made to have a good understanding of the dog's medical condition before surgery. There is always some risk to anesthesia, however, the risk is extremely low when being performed by a highly qualified veterinarian and surgical team.

Recovery from surgery depends upon the length of the surgery, the age of the dog, and the amount of pain medication required to keep your dog free from any post operative pain.

Some things to be aware of post anesthesia include:

  • It is normal for your dog to be groggy or disoriented for a few hours after receiving a general anesthetic
  • Your dog might sleep deeper or longer for 24 hours after receiving anesthesia
  • Your dog might be a duller version of itself for 24 hours after anesthesia due to the dulling effects of anesthesia
  • You might need to help your dog balance during feeding and bathroom breaks for the first 24 hours after surgery
  • Review with your veterinarian any feeding and/or comfort tips they can provide

Always remember to call us if you have any questions about your dog's recovery.

Post-Surgical Care for Dogs

Just like pre-surgery instructions, surgery recovery protocols and care vary depending on the type of procedure performed, and whether or not the surgery was an emergency.

However, we will provide you with a set of surgery recovery instructions that can be used as a general guideline for postoperative care.

  • For routine procedures, most dogs can go home a few hours after waking up from anesthesia
  • For advanced or emergency procedures, extended stays of 24 hours or longer may be necessary in order to monitor vital signs and deliver critical care

Make sure to receive and understand all recovery information, including:

  • The administering of medication, food, and water
  • The changing of bandages, cleaning of stitches, etc.
  • Follow up appointment scheduling

At-Home Care:

  • Allow your dog to recover in a warm, quiet space of its choosing to increase comfort and reduce stress
  • For the first 24 hours, monitor your dog closely as it recovers. Always call if you have any concerns
  • Limit outdoor exposure for at least 24 hours to supervised and, if necessary, assisted bathroom breaks
    • Consult your veterinarian for more information on the necessity and duration of limited or restricted outdoor exposure
  • Suture care (stitches): Most surgeries will require sutures. Your veterinary staff will review with you the after-care which will include keeping your dog from licking the incision
    • Most dogs will be sent home with an "E-Collar" to ensure they do not lick or bite out the sutures
    • Monitor the incision for possible signs of infection which will include redness or swelling
  • Continue to follow your dog's recovery program until told to alter or discontinue it by your veterinarian

Schedule an Appointment to discuss Surgical options for your Dog!

Call us directly or schedule an appointment online.


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