When your pet needs surgery…

Make sure they will get proper medical care!

When your pets undergo anesthesia or have a surgical procedure performed — whether it’s a lump removal, dental cleaning or a neuter procedure — it is stressful for both you and your pet.

You worry about how your pet will handle the anesthesia, if they will be alright, if the staff will take care of them or not, if they will be upset by being left in a kennel for the day and sometimes overnight.

Regardless of where your pet’s procedure will be performed, you should ask questions and you should know what kind of care your pet will receive before, during and after their procedure.

Knowing this information may help ease your anxiety and give you the peace of mind that you have made the right decision to have the procedure performed at that particular hospital.



Frequently asked questions that pet owners ask about surgery and anesthesia

Before the procedure is performed, does the facility make sure my pet is healthy enough for surgery?

At West River Valley Veterinary Service, your pet will receive a pre-surgical exam. We will make sure that potential problems are identified before your pet undergoes anesthesia by checking them from nose to tail, paying specific attention to their heart and lungs. We run a pre-anesthetic blood panel that checks your pet’s baseline vital organs, specifically the liver, kidneys, blood sugar, protein levels and anemia screening.

Our goal is to choose the safest anesthesia for your pets system. If the pre-surgical exam or the pre-anesthetic bloodwork identifies a problem, we will call you before any further procedures are performed. Even young pets who may appear healthy can have underlying liver and kidney changes that they are not showing symptoms of!

What is the surgery room like?

The West River Valley Vet Service does not have anything in the surgery ward that is not needed during surgery. There are no cages in the surgery ward and it is located in a low traffic area to help minimize the possibilities of contamination. It is well lit with dedicated surgical lighting.

How clean is the surgery, the instruments and materials? Do you use the same instruments on different animals?

Our surgery ward is disinfected after each patient. Our doctors scrub their hands and wear sterilized surgical gloves, gown, hair net and facial mask which are all disposed of after each patient. Only high quality suture and surgical instruments are used. Surgical instruments are carefully cleaned and sterilized after each use in an autoclave. The autoclave procedure heats the instruments to very high temperatures, sterilizing all items within it. Our surgical instruments are scrubbed in disinfectant, packaged and sealed to eliminate the possibilities of contamination before and after being autoclaved. All surgical drapes and hand towels are also washed between each patient, carefully packaged and autoclaved as well.

While my pet is under anesthesia, is anyone monitoring them?

At West River Valley Vet Service, while the doctor is performing the procedure a technician is present and is monitoring and recording their oxygen levels, heart rate, blood pressure and respiration rate. After the procedure their notes are entered into your pet’s medical record. A pulseoximeter, a device that monitors your pet’s heart rate and blood oxygen levels, and a blood pressure monitor are also being used to monitor your pet while they are under anesthesia.

Did you know that while your pet is under anesthesia, that they are unable to regulate their own body temperature?

While your pet is under anesthesia, they are on a blanket or towel on top of a circulating hot water heating pad so that their temperature does not drop too low. We also provide them with warm towel and wrapped hot water bottles during surgery and after surgery while they are in the recovery ward. The recovery ward has radiant heat in winter and air conditioning in summer to keep our patients as comfortable as possible. Your pet’s temperature is monitored with a rectal thermometer.

Where will my pet be during recovery? Is anyone monitoring them at this time?

We have separate wards for cats and dogs at West River Valley Vet to keep the environment as quiet as possible.  During recovery there is always someone physically with your pet until they are swallowing and resting comfortably. After they are resting comfortably, we check on patients often to make sure they are continuing to remain comfortable.

Does the hospital provide me with support if I have questions or concerns after surgery? Do they provide medications for pain management during and after surgery?

We provide all owners with detailed take home instructions after surgery. We will call to make sure that your pet is doing well after their procedure and we encourage owners to call or email us at any time if they have any questions or concerns regarding their pet. After surgery we provide pain medications for pet owners. The majority of pets will hide their pain from us. We encourage owners to give pain medication as directed. Just think of how we feel after our own dental or surgical procedures.

Don’t all vets have to do all these things? Shouldn’t I make my decision on price alone?

It would be nice if all vets and clinics did everything we do, but the truth is standards vary widely. Do your homework. When it comes to the life and well-being of your pet, be sure to make the best choice for them.