Bellevue Veterinary Hospital, Parksville

(250) 248-2031

Pre-operative Considerations for Routine Surgeries


Routine surgeries are those procedures that are not urgent. There is no rush to have them done immediately.  (The word "routine" does not mean we don't take them seriously.  It just refers to the lack of urgency in timing.)  Examples are spaying & neutering, as well as most dental procedures. So, there’s time for you and your vet to think ahead, and consider some pre-operative options.  

This is NOT an "up-sell".  Instead, - we want you to know (ahead of time) what your options are.                                                  bellevue frame pre op blog

Here are some of those options you may be asked about at the time of your pet’s admission to our hospital for a surgical procedure.

1. Would you like to have pre-anesthetic blood work performed?

a. This is our way of having a glimpse into the health of your pet, beyond the physical exam.  The blood tests will reveal the numbers and condition of red and white blood cells, plus platelets (the blood clotting cells).  Also the chemistry portion of the panel demonstrates some hints into kidney & liver health, as well as blood sugar, proteins, and electrolytes.  These indices can guide our decision to go ahead with the anesthesia or not, and/or could alter which medications we'll choose for your pet.

2. Would you like to have an ID number tattooed into your pet’s (right) ear?

a. This procedure requires general anesthesia, so it’s only offered when we already know the patient is going to be heavily asleep for another procedure.
b. This ID# is a code, identifying the clinic at which the pet was spayed/neutered & tattooed, and it also indicates the year it was done, and the # of that patient within that year at that clinic.
c. It is a code that is recognizable throughout BC vet clinics and SPCAs.
d. A tattoo is an inexpensive, low-tech, easily evident identifier on your pet, if he/she is ever lost. 
e. There is minimal discomfort with this procedure.
f. Your contact information must be kept up-to-date at the clinic where your pet was tattooed (even if you don’t go to that clinic anymore).
g. Unfortunately, the code is less likely to be correctly interpreted outside of BC.

3. Would you like to have a microchip implanted in your pet?

a. This can be done at any time and doesn’t require general anesthesia, but it’s just easier for the pet if under anesthesia, so it can be considered at the time of another procedure.
b. The microchip is injected just under the skin, around the back of the neck between the shoulder blades, and has a number that can be revealed by a microchip reading device.
c. The number will be associated with your contact information that will be stored at a central database.  You have to keep your own contact information current (by communicating with the company web site for the microchip).
d. This will allow anyone (anywhere in the world) to find your contact information and inform you of your pet’s whereabouts, if your pet is found by someone who has access to a microchip reader/scanner.  (Vets & SPCAs & various other animal welfare organizations.)  
e. The disadvantage of microchips is – you need to have a microchip reader.  This isn’t a common piece of equipment outside of an animal care facility, so sometimes it’s not found that the pet has a microchip.

 4. While your pet is under anesthesia, are there any lumps or skin lesions that should be tested (with fine needle aspiration or skin scrapings)?

a. Again, these procedures don’t necessarily require anesthesia, but they are easier for the patient when asleep.  And sometimes they may even be more accurate as the animal is not moving around during the sample collection.

5. Sometimes abnormalities of the teeth or other oral structures are found when the patient is anesthetized.  Dental xrays can be helpful in some cases.  This would be discussed in more detail if needed.

6. We routinely trim nails (if needed) while the patient is asleep. 


Extra information about care during general anesthesia:

surgery 2

  • Every dog or cat, receiving general anesthesia, will be given intravenous fluids during their procedure.  
  • Patients are placed on warming beds during the procedure and in recovery.  Cozy warm towels and blankets are also used post-operatively.  
  • Several monitoring tools are used to assess the patient during the procedure. (These include: capnography, blood pressure monitoring, pulse oximetry and esophageal thermometer readings & an ECG, if needed.)  Also, basic monitoring of the patient’s anesthetic depth and vital signs are charted throughout.
  • Anesthetic gas is delivered with oxygen through a tube that is placed in the trachea (airway). The amount of anesthetic gas is adjusted moment by moment, while the oxygen delivery is continued throughout, and post-operatively before the patient awakens.
  • Local anesthetics and/or pain medications are administered to decrease the amount of anesthesia required, and these also help to produce a more comfortable recovery.
We will do our best to answer any questions you have before, during and after your pet comes in for surgery.   

And finally, please make sure that you (or a family member who can help with decisions) are available by phone on the day you leave your pet in our care.

Tags: Surgery, Anesthesia, Blood tests, Identification