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Operative Care

If your pet needs surgery, here's how you can best care for them before and after

Pre-operative Care

Please read the following carefully for the safety of your pet

Pets coming into our hospital for an operation require to have recently been examined by a veterinary surgeon. This will be determined by the age of your pet, your pet’s condition and the procedure being performed. Our receptionists or qualified nurses can advise you further on this if you have any questions.

If your pet has not been seen recently enough a pre-operative appointment will be made, usually early in the morning of the operation or occasionally prior to the day of the operation.

A consultation and examination charge may apply for this appointment.

If your pet does not require to be seen the vet in a pre-operative appointment on the morning of the procedure, please bring your pet to the surgery between 08.15 and 08.45 and one of our nurses will admit your pet into the hospital.

Please allow your dog to relieve itself before coming to the surgery and try to ensure that your dog is as clean and dry as possible before coming in for an operation.

Please allow at least 15 minutes for the admissions procedure. Whilst we understand that early mornings can mean tight time schedules, it is very important that the nurse goes through all the checks with you for the safety of your pet.

You will be required to read and sign a consent form giving us permission to perform your pet’s procedure. It is very important that the information on the consent form is correct and that you have understood it.

It is essential that we have a contact number for you while your pet is in our hospital in the event of the need for the vet to discuss the procedure with you while your pet is under anaesthetic or in the event of an emergency.

We aim to keep pets under general anaesthetic for the least possible time for their benefit. Please ensure you or someone responsible is available to make decisions on the numbers you supply us.

Food and Water – Dogs and Cats

Please stop food 12 hours before the operation – so no food after 8pm the night before. It is important that your pet is well hydrated before an anaesthetic, so please ensure water if available up until the time you come to the surgery.

Please keep cats indoors overnight to avoid them finding food outdoors.

Vomiting under an anaesthetic can be extremely dangerous as stomach contents can be inhaled into the lungs.

Food and Water – Rabbits, Guinea Pigs, other Small Mammals and Birds

Please continue to feed as usual and leave water freely available up until coming to the surgery. Please bring with you some of the food your pet is used to eating.

Post-operative Care

Our professional qualified staff monitor your pet closely after an operation until he/she is discharged to you. We contact pet owners once their pet is recovering to update them on their pet’s progress and arrange a suitable time for their collection. We realise how worrying it can be for owners and aim to minimise this as much as possible. Phone calls are usually late morning/lunchtime but could be earlier or later than this.

Your pet will normally be ready to be collected between 15.30 and 18.30 but you will be advised at the time of the phone call. We normally give the instruction ‘anytime after …’ offering you the flexibility and convenience to see the nurse and collect your pet when it is most convenient for you.

There may be a need for the vet to discharge your pet to you in order to discuss the case and view x-rays or discuss laboratory results. If this is necessary a specific time will be made and we will always endeavour to accommodate you.

Bandage Information

Your pet has had a dressing applied today. Please be aware that this is clearly a foreign object to your pet and he/she may find this odd to start with. The strange sensation is likely to disappear very rapidly and we would expect that he/she will be able to use the affected limb comfortably and often without any lameness being observed very quickly, dependent, of course on the reason for the dressing.

If the dressing has been applied under a general anaesthetic or sedation it is likely to be more acceptable as your pet will have woken up with it on and it will probably feel reassuringly comfortable.

Professionally applied dressings include padding applied to avoid rubbing and discomfort to avoid pressure sores. It is very important that your pet’s normal exercise is restricted while the dressing is in place as exercise will obviously be detrimental to the original fit of the dressing.

It is extremely important that the dressing stays completely dry. We can supply a tough plastic bag to place over the dressing when your dog has to go outdoors for toileting. Cats with dressings must be kept indoors.

Sometimes a degree of slippage or movement of the dressing on the limb is inevitable and unavoidable. Should this happen, the dressing may become uncomfortable suddenly. Your pet will let you know by limping more than normal or by starting to bite at the dressing, whereas previously it had appeared not to bother him/her.

Do not ignore this behaviour.

It is vitally important that if you suspect the dressing is not fitting as it did when first placed, that it be removed as soon as possible.

It is ideal that we remove and replace the dressing to assess the reason for the discomfort.

Please ring our emergency service if this happens out of hours for advice.

If you have to remove the dressing or it comes off please attempt to cover the foot with a sock or other loose dressing until such time as you are able to see a veterinary surgeon.

Do not use elastic bands to hold socks or dressings in place. Elastic bands or anything tied too tightly can cut off the circulation causing permanent serious damage to tissues.

If you have a pet, which is liable to chew a dressing even though it is not ill fitting, he/she may be fitted with an Elizabethan collar to avoid interference with the dressing.

Please do not hesitate to ring us for advice.