Before and after surgery

Pre-surgery

In most cases, a clinical and surgical assessment by way of a consultation is required before we can schedule your pet for surgery. This is because not all surgery is performed in exactly the same way.

Emergencies

In cases of emergencies or potentially life-threatening situations such as trauma wounds, fractures, intestinal foreign bodies, uterine infections (pyometra) or caesareans, your pet may be admitted for surgery immediately following the consultation.

Elective surgery

All non-urgent elective surgery such as long-standing lumps, dentals, corrective surgery, and some orthopaedic surgery including luxating patellas or cruciate ligament tears, will need to be scheduled. We perform elective surgery from Monday to Friday only.

Costs

An estimated cost for the surgical procedure will be discussed with you at the time of the consultation. While we make every effort to provide an accurate estimate, please keep in mind that no procedure is the same and many factors can result in a variation of costs. These factors may include the size of your pet, duration of surgery, unforeseen complications, medication requirements, and duration of post-operative stay.

In most cases a deposit of 50 per cent of the estimated costs will be required before we can proceed with any surgical procedure. If you anticipate that there may be difficulties meeting this requirement, please speak to our customer service staff either before or immediately after the initial consultation.

Fasting

It’s essential that your pet fasts if it is undergoing any procedure that may require sedation or an anaesthetic. For elective procedures that are booked for a morning admission, fasting is required from midnight the night before. If you are admitting your pet the previous afternoon or evening for an elective procedure the following day, fasting is not necessary as we will ensure it is fasted overnight. Water should be made available at all times.

If you are bringing your pet in for a consultation due to a particular injury or condition and suspect that sedation or an anaesthetic may be required, you should not feed your pet. This includes not giving treats or titbits, because a pet that has been fed has a much higher anaesthetic risk, and may result in the procedure being delayed.

Surgical Priority

If your pet has a booking for elective surgery we will do our best to ensure your pet has surgery on time. However, as with any busy hospital, we are unable to anticipate what emergency cases are admitted. There may be patients that require more urgent or critical surgical intervention than that for which your pet has been booked. These patients must take priority which may result in some procedures being postponed. We seek your understanding if this happens.

Vaccination status

A current vaccination status is essential if your pet is being admitted into hospital for any procedure. It protects both your pet and the other patients if your pet is carrying an infectious disease. If you are unsure about the vaccination status of your pet please speak to our veterinary staff at the time of the consultation.

Cancellations or reschedules

We have four operating theatres working each weekday to keep up with the demand for our surgical services. If you have decided not to proceed with a booked elective procedure or would like to have it rescheduled, please call us on 03 9328 3021 to make the necessary arrangements. This way we are able to free up the booking for another patient that requires surgery.

Post-operative care

Discharge time

Depending on the nature of your pet’s operation and what time of day it is performed, it may need to stay overnight or longer for recovery and post-operative monitoring. Once your pet is ready for discharge, you will receive a call from the veterinary team to arrange a discharge time.

Visiting

Like a human hospital we have certain visiting hours for pets that are hospitalised for a period of time. If you would like to visit your pet you will need to make a nurse appointment by calling the Animal Hospital on 03 9328 3021. Weekday visit times are between 11am and 5pm. Weekends are a busy time at Lort Smith – we will endeavour to accommodate your visit however this may not always be possible.

Skin stitches

Most surgical patients will go home with skin stitches or sutures at their surgical site. These sutures generally stay in for two weeks before they are required to be removed. Variations of this may include skin staples which also require removal, dissolving sutures which will fall off after 2­–3 weeks, or intradermal sutures where there are no visible sutures at all on the surface of the skin.

You should not need to maintain the surgical site once your pet goes home but it is important that you monitor for any signs of discharge, bleeding, redness, swelling or breakdown and if you are concerned, please contact the hospital on 03 9328 3021.

Your pet should most certainly not be tending to the sutures at all, and you must avoid letting it lick, bite or chew at the stitches as this can potentially infect and damage the surgery site. An Elizabethan collar, commonly known as a cone or a buster collar, should be worn to ensure your pet is not able to access the surgical wound.

Medication

If your pet has been sent home with medication it is important that you medicate it according to the instructions. Do not give more doses than instructed on the label and ensure that the full course is given. This is especially important with antibiotics because stopping medication too early may result in a flare-up or infection leading to complications with the surgery.

Post-operative rest

For most surgeries, a post-operative rest of two weeks is recommended for your pet. The exception is if your pet has undergone orthopaedic surgery in which case it may require several weeks of rest and confinement. It takes approximately two weeks for any surgical wound to heal successfully. Until then, the skin is undergoing a delicate healing process. Excess activity and movement including jumping, running and even walking, can unnecessarily delay the healing process and may even cause complications such as wound breakdown or fluid build-up.

Revisit

We would like to see your pet again two weeks after the surgery to check on its progress and make sure there have been no complications. Where applicable, we will remove the staples or sutures. If any biopsies have been sent to the lab, we can discuss the results with you at that time.

Call the Animal Hospital on 03 9328 3021 if you have any concerns about the progress of your pet’s recovery.