Four Seasons Veterinary Hospital

3730 FM 2920 Suite 110
Spring, TX 77388


What You Need to Know Before Your Pet's Upcoming Surgery

Many people have questions about various aspects of their pet's surgery. We hope this information will help. It explains the decisions you will need to make before your pet's upcoming surgery.

Is the anesthetic safe?
Today's modern anesthetic monitors have made surgery much safer than in the past. Here, at Four Seasons Veterinary Hospital, we give your pet a thorough physical exam before administering anesthetics. We perform this exam to ensure that an underlying health condition, fever or other illness won't be a problem during surgery. We also adjust the amount and type of anesthetic used depending on the health of your pet. 

Pre-anesthetic blood testing is important in reducing the risk of anesthesia. Every pet needs blood testing before surgery to ensure the liver and kidneys can handle the anesthetic. Apparently healthy animals can have serious organ system problems that cannot be detected without blood testing. If there is a problem, it is much better to find it before it causes anesthetic or surgical complications. Animals who have a minor dysfunction will handle the anesthetic better if they receive IV fluids during surgery. If serious problems are detected, surgery can be postponed until the problem is corrected.

It is important surgery be done on an empty stomach to reduce the risk of vomiting during and after anesthesia. You will need to withhold food for at least eight hours before surgery for adult dogs and cats. Very small puppies and kittens may not need to fast for that many hours. This will be discussed with you prior to the evening before surgery. Your pet may have water until the morning of surgery.

Will my pet have stitches?
For many surgeries, we use absorbable sutures underneath the skin. These sutures will dissolve on their own and do not need to be removed later. Some surgeries, especially tumor removals, require skin stitches. With either type of suture, you will need to keep an eye on the incision for swelling or discharge. Most dogs and cats do not lick excessively or chew at the incision, however, watch your pet to make sure this is not a problem. If there are skin sutures, these will usually be removed 10 to 14 days after surgery. During that time you will need to limit your pet's activity level. No baths are allowed for the first 10 days after surgery.

Will my pet be in pain?
Anything that causes pain in people can be expected to cause pain in animals. Normally pets do not show the same symptoms of pain as people; they usually don't whine or cry, but you can be sure they feel it. Pain medications needed will depend on the surgery performed. Major procedures require more pain relief. Be assured we will provide all pets with comprehensive pain management. Their comfort and health are our first priority.

What other decisions do I need to make?
While your pet is under anesthesia, it is the ideal time to perform other minor procedures, such as dentistry, ear cleaning, or implanting an identification microchip. If you would like an estimate for these extra services, please call ahead of time. This is especially important if the person dropping the pet off for surgery is not the primary decision maker for the pet's care.

When you bring your pet in for surgery, you will need 10 to 15 minutes of time to fill out paperwork and make decisions on the other options available. When you pick up your pet after surgery you should also plan to spend about 10 minutes to go over your pet's home care needs.

We will call you the night before your scheduled surgery appointment, to confirm the time you will be dropping your pet off and to answer any questions you might have. In the meantime, please don't hesitate to call us with any questions about your pet's health or surgery.