Pre-op Considerations for Routine Surgeries:
Routine (or "elective") surgeries are those procedures that are not urgent. There's no rush to have them done immediately. (The word "routine" doesn't 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. Some lump removals are in this category too. So, there’s time for you and your vet to think ahead, and consider some pre-operative options.
Here are some questions you may be asked at the time of your pet’s admission to hospital for a surgical procedure:
1. Would you like to have pre-anesthetic blood work performed?
This is our way of having a deeper glimpse into the health of your pet, beyond the physical exam. The blood tests will reveal the numbers and characteristics 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. Sometimes blood test results suggest conditions that might need some follow-up.
2. Would you like to have a pre-op ECG (electrocardiogram) performed?
An ECG tracing can be obtained and electonically sent to a cardiologist prior to anesthesia. After analyzing the ECG, the cardiologist responds promptly with comments and recommendations for medications to consider or avoid during anesthesia. Sometimes this test leads us to consider additional testing, but very often it just gives us confidence or specifications regarding our anesthetic plan for the patient.
3. 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.
4. 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 (scanning) 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 (SPCA, vets & various other animal welfare organizations.)
e. The disadvantage of microchips is – you need to have a microchip scanner. 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.
5. While your pet is under anesthesia, are there any lumps or skin lesions that should be tested (with fine needle aspiration or skin scrapings)?
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.
6. 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.
7. We routinely trim nails (if needed) while the patient is asleep. There is no additional charge to trim nails of a patient under anesthesia.