Surgical FAQ's

Carlisle Veterinary Clinic

2810 Front Line Rd.
Carlisle, IA 50047



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What You Need to Know Before Your Pet's Upcoming Surgery


Many people have questions about various aspects of their pet's surgery, and we hope this information will help. Please don't hesitate to call us with any questions about your pet's health or surgery.

Is the anesthetic safe?

Today's modern anesthetic agents and monitors have made surgery much safer than in the past.  Here at Carlisle Veterinary Clinic, we do a thorough physical exam on your pet before administering anesthetics, to ensure that a fever or other illness won't be a problem.  We also adjust the amount and type of anesthetic used depending on the health of your pet. 

Preanesthetic blood testing is important in reducing the risk of anesthesia.  Every pet needs blood testing before surgery to ensure that the liver and kidneys can handle the anesthetic.  Even apparently healthy animals can have serious organ system problems that cannot be detected without blood testing.  If problems are detected in the bloodwork, the veterinarian can determine the best anesthetic protocol and will be prepared for surgical and anesthetic complications.

For our geriatric patients, we require an intravenous catheter and intravenous fluid therapy during the surgical procedure. This helps keep their organs healthy during and after anesthesia.

It is important that surgery be done on an empty stomach to reduce the risk of vomiting during and after anesthesia.  You will need to withhold food for at least 8 to 10 hours before surgery.  Water can be left down for the pet until the morning of surgery.

Will my pet have stitches?

For many surgeries, we use absorbable sutures underneath the skin.  These will dissolve on their own, and do not need to be removed later.  Some surgeries, especially tumor removals, do require skin stitches.  With either type of suture, you will need to keep an eye on the incision for swelling or discharge.  Occasionally, dogs and cats will lick excessively or chew at the incision. If this occurs, we will supply you with an E-collar. If there are skin sutures, these will usually be removed 10 to 14 days after surgery.  You will also need to limit your pet's activity level for a time and no baths are allowed for the first 10 days after surgery.

Will my pet be in pain?

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 do; they usually don't whine or cry, but you can be sure they feel. We perform therapeutic laser on most patients after surgery. The laser treatment decreases post-operative pain and increases the ability to heal. Pain medications needed will depend on the surgery performed. We may recommend an oral pain control medication for several days after the surgery to lessen the risk of discomfort and swelling. The cost of the medication ranges from $15 to $45, depending on the size of your animal. 

What other decisions do I need to make?

While your pet is under anesthesia, it is the ideal time to perform other minor procedures, such as dentistry, ear cleaning, or implanting an identification microchip.  If you would like an estimate for these extra services, please call ahead of time.  This is especially important if the person dropping the pet off for surgery is not the primary decision maker for the pet's care.

When you bring your pet in for surgery, please allow 5 to 10 minutes to fill out paperwork and to make decisions on other options available.  When you pick up your pet after surgery you can also plan to spend about 10 minutes to go over your pet's home care needs.