Surgery in Dogs: Everything You Need to Know

While our vets always try to resolve veterinary conditions in the least invasive manner possible, sometimes surgery may be required. Today, our vets share the most common types of procedures, what to expect from veterinary surgery at our clinic in San Angelo, and how to help your dog recover.

When it comes to your dog, canine surgical procedures are divided into two categories: elective procedures and those that are absolutely obligatory. Understanding the reason why surgery is recommended for your pet can help to ease your worries when they require treatment.

The Most Common Types of Veterinary Surgery

Some of the surgical procedures performed include:

  • Spay
  • Neuter
  • Dental extractions
  • Benign growths of the skin

If your dog experiences a veterinary emergency or urgent care situation, they may require surgeries to treat issues like:

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

In most of these situations, a dog would need emergency surgery to save their life.

Surgery often raises a slew of anxieties, from potential complications to the outlook for recovery. However, it should be noted that, because veterinary care has advanced to include all modern considerations, the likelihood of your dog experiencing serious consequences from most surgery are extremely low.

How to Prepare Your Dog For Veterinary Surgery

Prior to performing a surgical procedure, your vet will take the time to fully examine your dog and complete diagnostics such as bloodwork. If your pet is overweight, the vet may suggest a weight-loss regimen. Carrying additional weight raises the dangers of general anesthesia and may make it difficult for your pet to move about after surgery.

We recommend bathing and grooming your dog about a week before a scheduled surgery to ensure they are nice and clean. You'll also need to keep the incision dry while it heals, so your dog won't be able to be groomed for a period after surgery. Radiographs and ultrasounds are two tests that your veterinarian may order.

You should plan your trip to and from the veterinary clinic ahead of time. 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.

If your dog has a planned surgery coming up then you may have questions about allowing them to eat or drink ahead of it. 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.

Always make sure that you've provided the clinic with up-to-date contact info so that they can get in touch with you if necessary during your dog's surgery. 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.

What to Expect While Your Dog Recovers From Surgery

It is important to know what to expect and how to care for your dog in the time after their surgery. 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.

You should do everything possible to ensure that your dog refrains from running and jumping while they recover. This can help keep their wounds from reopening. 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 more information to help you prepare for your pet's surgery at Western Veterinary Hospital? Contact our San Angelo team. We'll be happy to answer any questions you have.