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Surgery in Dogs: Everything You Need to Know

Surgery in Dogs: Everything You Need to Know

If your dog has been scheduled for surgery, you may have some questions and concerns, especially if it's their first time. In this post, our Lincoln vets share everything you need to know about surgery in dogs.

Canine surgical procedures are divided into two categories: elective and obligatory. Our experts at Critter Creek Veterinary Hospital believe it is critical for dog owners to understand why their vet is recommending a surgery, and what to expect during and after that process.

Common Dog Surgeries

Some of the most common elective surgeries in dogs include:

  • Spay
  • Neuter
  • Dental extractions
  • Benign growths of the skin

Some of the more urgent care surgeries for dogs include:

  • Skin lacerations or abscesses
  • Intestinal obstruction from a foreign body
  • Internal bleeding
  • Torn cruciate or ACL ruptures
  • Fracture repair
  • Malignant skin tumors
  • Bladder stones/urethral blockages
  • Spleen cancer

In most of these situations, a dog would need emergency surgery to save its life.

Surgery often raises a slew of anxieties, from potential complications to the outlook for recovery. However, it should be noted that, because veterinary care has advanced to include all modern considerations, the likelihood of your dog experiencing serious consequences from most surgery are extremely low.

Preparing Your Dog for Surgery

Your vet will first examine your dog before deciding if surgery is an appropriate choice. If your pet is overweight, the vet may suggest a weight-loss regimen prior to the procedure. Carrying additional weight raises the risks of administering anesthesia to your dog and may make it difficult for your pet to move about after surgery.

You may want to bathe and clean your dog in the week leading up to surgery as this will help the vet's preparation process. Additionally, you need to keep the incision dry while it heals, so your dog won't be able to be groomed for a period after surgery.

Plan transportation ahead of time, based on the type of surgery your pet will undergo and their expected level of mobility after the procedure. If you are unsure about the best way to transport your pet home after surgery, consult with your veterinarian. If your pet will need crate rest, have an appropriately sized crate ready for when he or she returns home after surgery.

In most cases, you will be asked not to let your dog eat or drink anything for a few hours up to a day prior to surgery. If your dog is on medication, consult with your veterinarian about whether you should pause the medication until after the operation. Some veterinarians may also request that you bring your pet to the veterinary hospital overnight.

Your Dog's Recovery From Surgery

Post-op care is just as important for your dog as the surgery itself. This healing process allows your pup to return to their normal routine sooner rather than later. You should follow post-op vet instructions very closely. If you do not understand any of the steps suggested, don't hesitate to contact your vet to clarify.

Following surgery, your dog may experience a temporary loss of appetite. Instead, you could serve a half-size portion of a light meal like chicken or rice. Your dog's appetite should return within 24 hours of its operation. If your dog hasn't eaten in more than 48 hours after surgery, contact your veterinarian.

Your veterinarian may prescribe pain relievers or medications for your dog following surgery to help with post-surgery discomfort or pain. Follow these instructions carefully to avoid unnecessary pain while your dog recovers. Never give human medications to your dog without first consulting your veterinarian. While medications help us feel better, they are harmful to our dogs and other pets.

Most vets will recommend limiting your dog's movements as excessive stretching or jumping can interfere with recovery and cause incisions to reopen. Most dogs will be able to stay inside for a few days, only going outside for bathroom breaks.

It may be difficult to completely prevent your dog from jumping or running if you cannot provide round-the-clock supervision. You may consult your vet on how to confine your dog to a laundry-sized or smaller pen with gradually increasing amounts of exercise as the recovery process progresses.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. Please make an appointment with your vet for an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition.

If your dog is having surgery or recovering from surgery and you have any concerns, contact our Critter Creek Veterinary Hospital vets today.

New Patients Welcome

Critter Creek Veterinary Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of pets in Lincoln and the Greater Sacramento Area. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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Contact (916) 408-0201