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Surgery in Dogs: Everything You Need to Know

Surgery in Dogs: Everything You Need to Know

Our Novato vets understand how frightening you may be to find out your dog needs surgery. It's important to understand that our team does not make this recommendation lightly. Today, we discuss types of surgery in dogs and recovery after procedures. 

Surgical procedures for dogs fall into two categories: elective procedures and those that are compulsory or non-elective. Your Novato vet believes in thoroughly educating clients. and that as a pet owner you should know why a particular surgery is being recommended. We also want to make sure you have the information you need to make educated decisions about your pet's health. 

Common Dog Surgeries

Elective surgeries are optional procedures requested by pet owners to correct impairments or injuries that can impede your pet's health and/or mobility. You will have time to research your options and the procedure, then choose the ideal care facility and timing to suit your pet's needs. 

These surgeries include:

  • Spaying
  • Neutering
  • Dental extractions
  • Benign skin growths 

More urgent care surgeries for dogs may include:

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

In most of these circumstances, these emergency surgeries may save a dog's life. 

Surgery often raises many anxieties for pup parents, from potential complications to recovery and long-term prognosis. That said, keep in mind that veterinary care has advanced to include all modern techniques and state-of-the-art technologies. The risk of serious complications due to most surgeries is extremely low.

Preparing Your Dog for Surgery

The veterinarian will examine your dog to check that they are healthy enough and prepared for surgery. We may recommend a weight loss regimen for overweight pets, as carrying additional weight raises the risk of general anesthesia and can make it difficult for your pet to move around post-surgery. 

It is a good idea to have your pet bathed or groomed in the week leading up to surgery so that they are clean and ready for surgery. You'll need to keep the incision dry while it heals, so your dog or cat won't be able to be groomed for a period after surgery. Radiographs and ultrasounds are two tests that your veterinarian may order.

Plan transportation ahead of time, based on the type of surgery your pet will undergo and their expected level of mobility after the procedure. If you are unsure about the best way to transport your pet home after surgery, consult with your veterinarian. If your pet will need crate rest, have an appropriately sized crate ready for when he or she returns home after surgery.

You might be wondering if a dog can have water before surgery or if dogs should eat before surgery. In most cases, you will be asked not to feed or drink anything to your pet after midnight the night before their surgery. If your dog is on medication, consult with your veterinarian about whether you should withhold the medication until after the procedure. Some veterinarians may also request that you bring your pet to the veterinary hospital overnight.

Check in with the staff at reception and ensure that they have your correct phone number so that they can keep you updated while your four-legged friend is in their care. Try to arrive on time and stay calm and relaxed while dropping off your pet. Your veterinarian may recommend additional testing before surgery to ensure that your pet does not face any additional anesthetic risks.

Your Dog's Recovery From Surgery

Understanding how to care for your dog after they have settled in is critical to assisting them in returning to their routine as soon as possible. Following vet instructions and obeying them is critical to a safe and successful recovery. If you do not understand any of the steps suggested, please clarify. Depending on the procedure, you may be referred to a professional veterinary surgeon or the surgery may be performed in-house.

Following surgery, your dog may experience a temporary loss of appetite. Instead, you could serve a half-size portion of a light meal like chicken or rice. Your dog's appetite should return within 24 hours of their operation. If your dog hasn't eaten in more than 48 hours after surgery, contact your veterinarian.

Your veterinarian may prescribe pain relievers or medications for your dog following surgery to help with post-surgery discomfort or pain. Follow these instructions carefully to avoid unnecessary pain while your dog recovers. Never give human medications to your dog without first consulting your veterinarian. While medications help us feel better, they are harmful to our dogs and other pets.

Most vets will recommend limiting your dog's movements as excessive stretching or jumping can interfere with recovery and cause incisions to reopen. Most dogs will be able to stay inside for a few days, only going outside for bathroom breaks.

If you are unable to provide direct supervision, it may be difficult to prevent your dog from climbing stairs or jumping on furniture. If your dog is recovering from orthopedic surgery, he or she may need to be confined to a laundry-sized or smaller pen with gradually increasing amounts of exercise as the recovery process progresses.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Would you like to learn more about canine surgery at Bel Marin Animal Hospital? We're happy to address questions or concerns, so contact our veterinary hospital today.

New Patients Welcome

Bel Marin Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Novato companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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