At our clinic we perform over 700 small animal surgeries annually. Surgical interventions take place daily. Various wounds and damage, accidents, Caesarean sections and on the other hand castrations and hysterectomies, and benign or malignant tumours are the most common causes which lead to surgical intervention. Different types of loose/free bodies resulting from growth problems and ligament injuries are operated on every week..
Fracture patients always come in during the autumn, the darkest time of the year, as a result of accidents. In the summer when family activities increase, dogs and cats are exposed to situations such as being underfoot, getting caught between the boat and the quay, etc. More demanding and rare are for instance hip surgeries for dogs. So-called TPO (triple pelvic osteotomy) surgeries have been done at our clinic since 1992.
Before administering premedication, the general health and physical condition of the patient are evaluated, and the heart and lung sounds are listened to and the weight checked. All surgeries are carried out whilst the patient is under narcosis with a mixture of oxygen and isoflurane. The surgery is preceded by putting a cannula in a vein, administering painkillers and antibiotics intravenously, and fluid therapy also begins. Fluid therapy is continued in the post-op room until the pet can go home. Every surgery patient receives written instructions for continuing care at home, and usually a control visit to the clinic is already agreed upon – not only to remove stitches, but also to ascertain and monitor the rehabilitation of the convalescent. When setting the date and time of the operation instructions are given concerning pre-op fasting and other matters to be attended to prior to arriving for the surgery. Usually the patients are kept on a 12-hour fast (with the exception of small puppies and exotic pets), though water can be available. A bath on the day preceding the surgery will contribute to the disinfection of the skin done at the beginning of the surgery, and sometimes we ask for a trim before the operation if the patient has a very long coat.
Washing the surgery site
During the operation itself, the depth of the narcosis and its general well-being are monitored very closely, exactly in the same way as in a human operating room: the patients pulse, breathing and blood oxygen level are constantly monitored using an oxygen saturation measuring device (see sedating and anesthetizing the animal patient).
After the operation the patient is moved to the post-op room, where care staff can supervise the coming out of narcosis before leaving for home. The operation day is usually spent on recovering from narcosis, and your pet cannot eat or drink until it is completely awake – often only the following morning. The surgery patient should not be left alone at home on the surgery day/evening – give it a calm, safe, familiar and warm place beside yourself to awaken from the narcosis, and through a normal night’s sleep into the next day. The surgical cut should be protected from your pet’s own attempts at care, such as licking and biting the stitches, using a so-called “Elizabethan collar.” This collar will prevent it from messing around with the cut, but your pet is able to drink, eat, smell and after a little getting used to it and also move around normally. Collars of different sizes are for sale at the clinic.
Collars are also sold at pet shops. The other care supplies, such as bandaging, which you may need, can be bought at the clinic, as well as the medication the patient will need to take at home.
Do we also operate on lions?