Surgical FAQ's - Litchfield Veterinary Hospital - Litchfield, CT

Litchfield Veterinary Hospital

289 Torrington Road
Litchfield, CT 06759


Surgical FAQ'S

What You Need to Know Before Your Pet's SurgeryVeterinary worker performing surgery

Many people have questions regarding various aspects of their pets surgery. Below you will find answers to the most commonly asked questions, information regarding the decisions you will need to make and information you will need to provide the day of your pets surgery.


1. What is preanesthetic blood work?

Preanesthetic blood work provides the doctors with important information regarding your pet's overall health. This is important in reducing the risk of anesthesia. Animals have a higher incidence of congenital liver and kidney disease than people do. Animals instinct is to hide illness, often they can have abnormal liver or kidney function and appear normal.  Blood testing is the only way to detect organ system function. In addition to liver and kidney function blood work screens for anemia, diabetes, dehydration and electrolyte imbalances. The doctors require all patients have preanesthetic blood work prior to anesthesia.  An older pet will require a complete blood profile, a urinalysis and thoracic radiograph. All of these tools give us the information we need to make the best anesthetic choices for your pet.  We customize the anesthetic drugs we use depending on your pets individualized needs.


2. Should my pet have blood work before the day of surgery?

At Litchfield Veterinary Hospital we have a well equipped laboratory that allows us to run many in-house tests for our patients. Blood work can be completed the day of surgery but in older pets or pets with known illness, we prefer to complete blood work prior to the day of surgery. Obtaining results prior to the day of surgery allow us to address any concerns before surgery is scheduled. 


3. If a problem is detected, will my pet still have surgery?

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 an anesthetic or surgical complication. Animals that have minor dysfunction will handle the anesthetic better if they receive intravenous fluids before surgery. If serous problems are detected, surgery can be postponed pending further diagnostic testing and control of the problem.


4. My pet is very old, should he/she be anesthetized?

At Litchfield Veterinary Hospital our doctors have extensive experience working with geriatric patients. We require older pets to have complete blood work, and radiographs of the chest cavity prior to anesthesia. We utilize an anesthetic protocol that is tailored to your pets specific needs. We use Sevoflurane as an inhalant anesthetic which is often used in pediatric and geriatric human medicine. Older patients may metabolize anesthetic drugs more slowly, therefore we adjust our protocol to the specific needs of senior pets. Our patients well being is our first priority and our certified technicians are trained to monitor patients of all life stages, but specifically the special needs of our geriatric patients.


5. Will my pet be in pain and how can I control this at home?

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 to, they usually don't whine or cry, but they do feel pain. Signs of pain in animals may include reluctance to eat or take treats, not moving around or getting up or greet you or not playing as usual. In the day or two following surgery it is not uncommon for your pet to experience these symptoms. Your pet will receive pain medication while in the hospital and the doctor will choose an appropriate pain medication for your pet to use at home based on their needs and type of surgery. Major procedures require more pain relief than minor procedures. You know your pet best, if you feel your pet is experiencing pain, call our office to discuss your concerns. It is important to follow the directions for the medication as prescribed, too much can cause adverse reactions that may have harmful long term effects. Do Not Give your pet over the counter medication such as Tylenol, Advil or Aspirin.


6. Do I need to withhold food prior to surgery?

Yes, it is important that you withhold food at least 8 - 10 hours prior to surgery. Generally we will have you feed your pet dinner and then remove all food and treats after 8 pm the night before. This will prevent vomiting during and after anesthesia. Water can be left down until the morning of surgery. We will call you the day before your pets scheduled surgery to remind you of pre-operative instructions.

The Day of Surgery

Remember to withhold Food and Water the morning of surgery!

1. What time does my pet need to arrive at the hospital and what should I expect?

You may arrive between 8 and 9 am. Please allow 10 - 15 minutes to admit your pet for surgery. We will review your medical care plan and answer any additional questions you may have regarding your pets procedure. Please be prepared to provide the admitting technician with a list of medications your pet is currently taking.

2. Should my pet receive current medications the day of surgery?

If your pet is on daily medication, it is usually advised to give the medication as directed. If the medication requires your pet to take with food, such as pain medication, you should withhold that medication until your pet can eat again.
Diabetic animals should receive half of the dose of insulin normally given and should not be fed.
If it is expected that your pet will stay in the hospital overnight or for an extended stay, it is important to bring any medications your pet is receiving for use while in the hospital.  Specific recommendations for your pet can be discussed prior to surgery.

3. Will you call to let me know how my pet is doing?

Yes, once your pet is recovering from surgery, our technicians will call or text you to provide an update on your pets recovery and to schedule a time for your pets discharge. We can also send a photograph of your pet with a text message. It is important to provide a number where you can be reached in case we need to contact you prior to your pets discharge.

Your Pet's Discharge

Please allow 10 - 15 minutes to review your pets home care instructions. A technician will review the instructions, medication directions and what to expect at home. The doctor will then review your pets surgery and answer any additional questions you may have.

1. Does my pet need to return following surgery?

Depending on the type of procedure your pet had, we may need to see your pet again for a follow-up. Some procedures require sutures to be removed while others will have dissolvable sutures. If your pet has had oral surgery we will ask you to return in 2 weeks to assess how well your pet is healing. If at any time you have concerns about your pet's recent surgery and his/her recovery, you can always all our office and/or schedule a time to bring your pet in to be seen.

We hope this information provided answers to your questions regarding surgery and anesthesia, if you have additional questions or concerns, please contact our office to discuss your pets procedure. We want to ensure your understanding of your pets upcoming surgery and address any questions or concerns prior to the day of surgery.