If your pet needs to undergo a surgical procedure then they will come and spend the day with us at the hospital. We have separate dog and cat/rabbit/guinea pig wards and plenty of comfy beds and warm blankets. Most patients will go home the same day but on occasion they may need to stay in overnight, allowing us to keep a close eye on them and administer additional medication. If that is the case we will discuss it with you. There is a member of the clinical team in the practice at all times so they will never be on their own.
A common routine procedure that your pet may visit us for is neutering. Male animals are castrated and females are spayed. The actual operation varies between males, females and the species but there are many similarities. Other non-routine and emergency procedures may be performed too.
All patients undergoing a surgical procedure are anaesthetised and treated in a sterile manner using the same monitoring equipment and maintaining the same high standards. At Hollybank vets we make sure that your pet always receives the best possible care to try to reduce the risk of any complications.
Generally the day follows as below:
- All patients being admitted for a procedure – routine or otherwise- undergo a full health check before having any medication. We will ask you questions about their current health and conduct a physical examination.
- All patients are weighed to ensure accurate doses of medications are given.
- Patients then receive a pre-medication injection. This is given into the muscle normally and provides some sedation and some pain relief. They also receive a separate anti-inflammatory pain relief injection. Giving sedation prior to a procedure makes sure our patients are very relaxed and means that we need to give less of the anaesthetic drugs. It is proven that giving pain relief before a procedure works better and means our patients wake up comfortable and recover quicker.
- There may be a number of procedures scheduled for one day. We perform ‘clean’ procedures first (those that take place in our operating theatres) and then the ‘dirty’ procedures (such as dentals) to make sure we are as clean and sterile as we can be for those operations that require it. We have a list of all procedures scheduled for that day on the board in our ‘prep’ area. Each patient’s details are there along with the procedure they are having, the time it will take place and the details of which vet and nurse are operating and monitoring the anaesthetic.
- All patients being an anaesthetised have a cannula placed in their vein. This allows us to give them the injectable anaesthetic agent that makes them go sleepy but also means that should any complications arise then we have means to give life saving drugs. Every care is taken to reduce the risks of anaesthetics but these cannot be eliminated altogether and so we want to make sure that we are able to respond if necessary.
- Once our patients have been anaesthetised with the injectable anaesthetic agent they have a tube placed in their windpipe to help them breathe in the anaesthetic gas (that keeps them asleep) and oxygen.
- We use a number of machines to monitor your pet whilst they are asleep (checking their oxygen and carbon dioxide levels as well as their blood pressure and temperature). Importantly all animals have a dedicated anaesthetist monitoring them at all times right through until their recovery.
- Our vets scrub their hands and arms prior to getting dressed for surgery. For all sterile surgical procedures our vets wear single use sterile gowns and gloves, along with hair nets and masks where appropriate. We use sterile instruments and single use sterile drapes for the procedures. This risk of any contamination of an operation site is minimal and means that most routine procedures do not require any antibiotic therapy post operatively.
- Once your pet is awake we will call you immediately to let you know that they are ok and that the procedure has gone well. We will then organise a discharge appointment for you, normally a few hours later to ensure that they are fully awake before they go home. At this appointment we will discuss post-operative care and make sure you are happy with everything that has taken place. We will also book your post-operative check where needed.
- All our day patients are checked regularly following their procedure, given water and taken outside to relieve themselves. We keep a close eye on them until they are ready to go back home!