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Specialty Surgery FAQs

What preparations do I need to make prior to a surgery consultation?

Have your primary veterinarian fax your pet’s medical record to Pieper before the visit. If there are any X-rays or imaging they can be sent ahead of time, or you can bring them with you to the consultation. Do not feed your pet breakfast the morning of your appointment in case X-rays are taken, because sedation and anesthesia is usually necessary for the best quality X-rays. Your pet can have access to water prior to the consult. 

How long are consultations?

Consultations are typically one hour long. This gives the surgeon ample time to evaluate your pet and discuss all aspects of the condition and surgery, if indicated. If X-rays are needed, this will require more time, as sedation is typically necessary. Owners should plan for 1-2 additional hours if X-rays are needed. Accommodations can be made to leave your pet with us for the day, if desired.

Can elective surgery be done the same day for my pet?

Surgery can be done the same day in some circumstances, but this depends on staff availability and the type of procedure performed. In most instances, surgery is scheduled in advance. For example: preoperative planning may be needed for some orthopedic procedures, which is done in advance of the surgery.

How much fur will be shaved on my pet?

Prior to surgery, your pet will have the fur around the surgical site shaved to obtain a sterile field. The extent of the area shaved will depend upon the procedure being performed. For typical surgery of the knee, the entire leg is shaved from just above the hip to below the ankle (hock). Most patients also will have small areas shaved for placement of IV catheters and placement of pain medication patches.

What kind of monitoring is done during anesthesia?

The surgery service is staffed by experienced licensed veterinary technicians, veterinary assistants, and veterinary technicians specializing in anesthesia. Monitoring consists of supervising a number of parameters including ECG, blood pressure measurement, oxygen and carbon dioxide saturation of blood, respiration rate, and level of consciousness. In addition, patient-specific protocols allow for safe and low-risk anesthesia.

When will I receive a call after surgery?

The surgeon typically will give you a call after surgery as soon as your pet has recovered from general anesthesia. If emergencies prevent the surgeon from contacting you immediately after recovery, a hospital liaison will contact you with a follow-up call from the surgeon when available.

How long will my pet be in the hospital after surgery?

Hospitalization after surgery will depend on the type of surgery and how healthy your pet was prior to the procedure. Most surgical patients will go home the day after their surgery.

Can I visit my pet after surgery?

In general, you can visit your pet while they are in the hospital. Whether it is in the best interest of the patient will be determined by a number of factors, including the pet’s personality and whether or not they get stressed or rambunctious when owners visit. Visitation the day of the surgery is discouraged because patients recovering from anesthesia are disoriented and get overly excited and agitated when owners visit.

What is arthroscopy?

Arthroscopy is the use of a small scope inserted into a joint, which utilizes a light source and magnification to allow inspection of structures within the joint.

What are the advantages of arthroscopy over conventional techniques?

Arthroscopy allows the surgeon to diagnose and treat orthopedic conditions without fully opening the joint. The incisions made for entrance into the joint are small and can decrease post-operative discomfort, which can help give your pet a faster recovery.

How will my primary veterinarian know what is going on with my pet?

Your veterinarian will receive a call the day of the appointment to discuss the results of the consultation. In addition, a complete referral letter is sent to your primary veterinarian. The surgeon will keep in contact with your pet’s veterinarian regarding long-term management of the case. 

For Pet Owners

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For Referring Vets

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