Deciding to proceed with pet emergency surgery

This is when your pet needs emergency surgery. When it is from illness or trauma. How do you know if your beloved pet really needs surgery? Emergency surgery can be expensive and scary, so be sure to visit your emergency vet!

The moment your pet doesn’t behave normally, you should go to the vet. The problem can range from minor to more complex scenarios. According to the American College of Veterinary Surgeons, emergency surgery for pets is one way to determine or correct a sudden health problem.

Deciding to Proceed With Dog Surgery

Deciding to Proceed With Dog
Deciding to Proceed With Dog

The decision to have surgery involves a discussion with the pet parent about potential complications and all factors to be considered when deciding what is best for your dog. Factors to consider when considering pet dog surgery include:

  • Physiotherapy / Rehabilitation
  • Dog’s age and general health
  • Possible complications from surgery
  • Possible consequences if surgery is not performed
  • Recovery time and post-operation care required by the owner

Although the decision to have surgery for your pet is ultimately up to you, the emergency veterinary team will present you with all the facts and possible outcomes to help you make an informed, ethical and compassionate decision that is best for both you and your pet.

Dog preoperative instructions

Dog pre-surgical instructions vary depending on the type of procedure pet dog surgery is emergency or planned. However, we have created a set of pre-surgical instructions for your dog which can be used as a general guideline for preoperative preparation:

  • Follow your vet’s recommendations for drinking and feeding the day before and/or in the morning
  • Most surgeries are performed on a fasted dog.
  • In general, you will be asked not to feed your dog after midnight the night before surgery.
  • Most dogs are allowed to drink water until the morning of surgery
  • Arrive on time for your pet’s surgery.
  • Delays potentially threaten the well-being of the lethargic dog, as well as other dogs.

Listen carefully to post-surgical instructions from your nearest veterinary care team and call the emergency hospital if you have questions about post-op care for your dog.

Pet Emergency Surgery Required

If you want to know when your pet might need emergency surgery, as a general guide, we put together a list of the most common emergency surgeries and some of the special signs associated with them.

General surgery of special signs
General surgery of special signs

1) Urinary obstruction – being unable to urinate is painful for a pet and can be fatal very quickly
Symptoms: The animal stops eating, starts vomiting and becomes very lethargic. You should diagnose it early and take your pet dog for an emergency un-blocking procedure.

2) Trauma – Breaking a pet’s bone, being a victim of a dog attack, getting hit by a car, or watching your pet pass by would be the hardest thing to do. Your emergency vet will check for additional internal injuries that can be serious.

3) Foreign body – If your pet refuses to eat despite being normal, or is painful (panting, lethargy, humping), you may notice an intestinal blockage. These cases can be very serious, and usually require a vet to diagnose and treat surgically.

4) Pyometra – Pyometra is a pet’s uterine infection and can be one of the most difficult emergencies for owners. If the pyometra is flowing, you will see a foul-smelling, pus-like discharge coming from the pet’s urethra. With X-rays and bloodwork, your vet should be able to determine whether an emergency spray is needed to get rid of the infection.

Since pet illnesses and injuries are not limited to these symptoms of ours, it is important to recognize irregularities in pet behavior. If you have found that surgery is required for your pet, call the nearest vet for further guidance on surgery.

Pet emergency surgery procedures

Pet surgical procedures fall into two categories where your pet dog is concerned, elective procedures and those that are urgently needed.

The most common elective canine surgery procedures include:

  • Castrate
  • Neuter sex
  • Dental extraction
  • Benign growth of skin

Urgent care surgical procedures include:

  • Skin rash or abscess
  • Bowel obstruction from a foreign body
  • Internal bleeding
  • Torn cruciate or ACL rupture
  • Fracture repair
  • Malignant skin tumour
  • Bladder stone / urethral blockage
  • Cancer of the spleen

How to take care of your pet after emergency surgery

Surgery can be a stressful time for pet parents and pet dogs, but knowing how to care for your dog after surgery is vital to helping your animal return to its active, normal, lifestyle.

care of your pet after surgery
care of your pet after surgery

Knowing how to properly care for your animal after pet surgery can help you get your dog back to normal as quickly as possible without complications. Let’s share some useful tips on how to care.

Follow your vet’s instructions

Your specialist, a veterinary surgeon will be sure to provide you with clear and specific instructions on how to care for your pet after surgery. Be sure to follow your vet’s instructions carefully, there may be very specific and important instructions regarding the type of surgery your pet may have.

Feeding your dog after surgery

Try giving your pet lighter food (1/2 or 1/4 of a regular meal) such as rice and chicken after surgery, which may be easier to digest than regularly purchased pet dog food. Your pet dog will likely regain their appetite within about 24 hours after surgery, at which time it should gradually return to eating its regular diet.

Managing Your Pet’s Pain After emergency surgery

After your pet’s operation, a vet will explain the dosage required, how often to give your pet the medications, and how to administer the medications.
Home remedies are not recommended by a veterinarian, never give human medications to your pet dog without first consulting your vet. Many drugs that can help humans feel better can be toxic to dogs.

keeping your dog comfortable when you come home

After your dog has surgery, it is important to provide him with a comfortable and quiet place to rest away from other pets and children. You can help your dog feel better after surgery and even help the wound heal faster.

Caring for your pet’s incision site

It can be challenging to keep your dog from biting, scratching, or chewing on their incision sites and bandages. A plastic cone-shaped Elizabethan collar (available in hard and soft versions) is an effective way to prevent your pet from reaching the wound.

If the dog is often struggling to get used to wearing the cone collar within a few hours, there are other options available. Talk to your nearest vet about effective and less cumbersome options, such as a doughnut-style collar, or a medical pet shirt.

Your pet’s bandages

Keeping wound bandages dry at all times is another important option to help your pet dog’s incision heal quickly. Whenever your dog goes outside, make sure the necessary bandages are covered with a plastic bag to protect it from the mulch. Remove the plastic cover as soon as your pet dog is back inside the house.

Typical Recovery Times for Pets After emergency surgery

Soft tissue operations such as neutering, spaying or abdominal surgery heal more quickly than procedures involving bones, joints, and ligaments. Many soft tissue surgeries usually give about 75% recovery after 2-4 weeks and can be completely cured in about 5-6 weeks.

On the other hand, surgery involving a pet’s bones and ligaments is likely to take longer. And usually about 85% recover after about 7-12 weeks. However, it may take up to 6-7 months for your pet to fully recover after surgery.

When can a dog resume normal activities after emergency surgery?

This will depend on the type of operation your pet dog is having. Some restrictions on exercise must be maintained for a few days after the skin sutures are removed through a small surgical incision. However, if the dog has had a major operation or a large incision is present, a longer period of recovery will be required, which may involve keeping your dog indoors for several weeks.

FAQ Pet Emergency Surgery

When do stitches need to be removed?

They are usually removed 10-15 days after the operation; Real-time performance depends on the type of surgery the pet has. Your veterinarian performing the surgery will tell you when to return to the clinic to have stitches or staples removed from your dog.dog-surgery-stitches

When Should You Be Worried After Dog Surgery?

If you notice any of the following at a pet surgery site you should be concerned and contact the nearest hospital immediately:
Persistent dripping or leaking of blood or other fluid from the surgical incision
Intermittent bleeding that continues for more than 24 hours.
Excessive redness of the skin, any swelling, unpleasant odour or discharge.

What to do if a dog is licking its wound?

In the first few days after surgery, your dog may instinctively try to clean the operating surgical site by licking it. The surgical incision may itch as the wound heals and the fur grows back inside. Your pet dog may respond to this itch by licking or chewing on the rag. It is a common misconception that dog saliva is somehow antibacterial or promotes wound healing.
If your dog chews or licks the incision, there is a risk of surgical stitches being pulled or wound infection. If your dog is successful in removing any of its surgical sutures, please call your nearest veterinary clinic as soon as possible.

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