At All Creatures Veterinary Hospital, we understand that having your companion animal undergo surgery can be a difficult experience. Our veterinarians adhere to the highest level of care standards for all surgical procedures. After performing a complete examination and reviewing your pet’s medical state, we will discuss treatment options that may include surgery and put together a plan that suits the needs of both you and your pet.

If surgery is recommended, you can feel comfortable knowing that our doctors will provide appropriate pain relief so that pain is identified and treated if present. Our highly skilled doctors place the utmost emphasis on pain management to ensure your pet is safe and comfortable throughout the treatment process. Using advanced technology, your pet’s vital signs are monitored by our well-trained veterinary technicians, who will remain with your pet through recovery.

Our clinic has 2 surgical suites where our veterinarians perform all common procedures, including (but not limited to):

  • Spay and Neuter
  • Surgical Tooth Extraction
  • Dewclaw Removal
  • Laceration Repair
  • Mass/Tumor Removal
  • Foreign Body Removal
  • Aural Hematoma Repair
  • Gastropexy
  • Fracture Repair
  • Lateral Suture Repair
  • Luxating Patella Correction
  • Femoral Head Ostectomy (FHO)
  • Umbilical Hernia Repair
  • Bladder Stone Removal
  • Cherry Eye Correction
  • Caesarean Section

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

Many people have questions about various aspects of their pet’s surgery, and we hope this information will help. It also 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 ACVH, we do a thorough physical exam on your pet before administering anesthetics, to ensure that a fever or other illness won’t be a problem. We also adjust the amount and type of anesthetic used depending on the health of your pet.

Preanesthetic blood testing is important in reducing the risk of anesthesia. Even 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 that have 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. Options for preanesthetic blood work and IV catheterization with fluids are discussed prior to surgery.

It is important that surgery be done on an empty stomach to reduce the risk of vomiting during and after anesthesia as nausea is a common side effect. You will need to withhold food for at least 8 to 10 hours before surgery. Water can be left down for the pet until the morning of surgery.

Will my pet have stitches?

For most surgeries, we use absorbable sutures.  These will dissolve on their own, so they do not necessarily need to be removed. With any type of suture, you will need to keep an eye on the incision for swelling or discharge. Some dogs and cats do not lick excessively or chew at the incision, but this is an occasional problem you will also need to watch for because if they chew out the sutures, they will have to be replaced under a secondary round of sedation. If there are skin sutures, these can usually be removed 10 to 14 days after surgery during a free recheck of the incision site. You will also need to limit your pet’s activity level for a time and 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. Pets may not show the same symptoms of pain as people do; 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 than things like minor lacerations.

For dogs, we may recommend an oral anti-inflammatory the day after surgery and several days after to lessen the risk of discomfort and swelling. We use newer medications, which are less likely to cause stomach upset and can be given even the morning of surgery. The cost of the medication ranges from $15 to $30, depending on the size of your dog.

Because cats do not tolerate standard pain medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or Tylenol, we are limited in what we can give them. Recent advances in pain medications have allowed for better pain control in cats than ever before. We can administer a pain injection prior to surgery. After surgery, pain medication is given on a case by case basis. Any animal that appears painful will receive additional pain medication.

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, we will need about 5 minutes of your time to fill out paperwork and make decisions on the blood testing and other options available. When you pick up your pet after surgery you can also plan to spend about 5 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.

Help Stop Pet Over-Population

Your pet is a companion, a friend, and in a real sense, a member of your family. To help reduce the number of animals ending up in shelters or being euthanized, we advise that you spay or neuter your pet. Both male and female dogs and cats are mature enough to reproduce between the ages of 6 – 9 months. Female cats come into heat cycles every 3-4 weeks during certain times of the year. Many female cats will become nervous during these heat cycles and exhibit unusual behaviors such as rolling on the floor, furtively hiding, or wanting constant attention. Female cats often become quite vocal, too, meowing plaintively through their cycle. Most male dogs and cats are ready and willing to reproduce by the time they are 6 to 12 months of age. They are able to breed consistently throughout the year, or whenever they are exposed to a receptive female. Both male dogs and cats are prone to wander in search of romance and find themselves exposed to fighting with other animals, or dangers such as cars.

Along with our standard services, we also work with the Humane Society of the Black Hills to carry out spays and neuters for the Snip-It Program which provides lower cost surgeries which are income-based. Check out the humane society’s website for more information on how to apply.