An Inside Look at Your Pet’s Spay or Neuter
By Tamara Kees
To help you feel more comfortable and knowledgeable about the spay and neuter procedure, let’s do a walk through of the day of surgery! Your pet will be fasted the night prior to surgery to reduce incidence of stomach upset from the anesthetics used during the procedure. When you come to check in, you’ll discuss the surgery, sign authorization forms, and ask any questions you like with your pet’s technician before leaving your pet safely in their arms. After check-in, your pet will be examined by the doctor to ensure he or she is in good health to proceed. Ideally, a small blood panel and ECG will be run with your approval, to ensure the health of the heart and organs before surgery. Our goal is to reduce risk of complications as much as possible to keep your pet safe, so this information helps us make the best decisions about what anesthetics to use on each patient and what pain medications will be safe to prescribe for a smooth and comfortable recovery at home.
After we know it is safe to proceed, a pre-sedative will be given to calm and relax your pet. After sedation takes effect, an IV catheter will be placed in a forelimb vein for ease of injections and the administration of IV fluids, which provide supportive hydration and keep the patient’s blood pressure at ideal levels during surgery. After induction with IV anesthetics, the patient can be kept at a safe and effective plane of anesthesia so that there is no awareness or pain during surgery. Monitors for heart rate, blood pressure, blood oxygenation, and temperature are used to ensure everything goes smoothly and to detect any potential complications before they become serious. A small incision will be made in the abdomen of a female or below the prepuce of a male so the ovaries and uterus or testicles can be safely removed. Internal, dissolvable sutures are placed and the patient is recovered in the arms of his or her technician. The patient is monitored closely for distress or discomfort, and we watch for any complications. Pain medications and sedatives will be on board and will be given again if needed, to make recovery as comfortable as possible for your pet.
While your pet recovers in a soft, padded cage, wrapped in warm blankets and comforted by his or her technician and assistant, they will metabolize the anesthetics and regain full control of their body. Once a patient is safely recovered and bright, alert, and responsive again, they can have their IV catheter removed, go for a restroom break with an assistant, and sometimes have a tasty little snack. All of the staff will give your dear pet lots of love and comfort until they are back in your arms again. Upon release you will be informed of how to best care for your pet during his or her recovery, shown how to give oral pain medications, and given contact information for any questions or concerns you may have, even if the office is closed. The staff at Fairgounds Animal Hospital will be there for you every step of the way to support you on the great decision to prevent illness and injury and ensure a happy, long life for your beloved pet!