How do I care for my pet after a general anaesthetic or sedation?

 

”Okay, Butch needs a general anaesthetic for X-Rays Mrs Smith but we will take great care of him and get him back home to you this evening”

***ALARM BELLS RINGING IN YOUR HEAD ***

“How an earth do I look after him when he comes home?!”

FEAR NOT FOLKS!

  • Your animal is likely to be well… a little ‘ruff!’ really (sorry couldn’t resist that pun!) …needing a good kip in a nice warm bed. So get them a nice cosy, quiet spot ready for when they get home.
  • They may still be a little drowsy or not quite themselves from the anaesthetic we have given , it can take some animals , especially our golden oldies, a few days to bounce back to normal after an anaesthetic.

  • Give them a small, bland meal when home as they may feel a little tom – dick ,sick, from the anaesthetic.  There are  veterinary gastrointestinal friendly diets out there such as hills I/D and royal canin gastrointestinal food which your vets may stock. Or you can give them something plain like boiled chicken (not rotisserie style or roasted as much as they will probably love it and hoover it up it is very greasy and  not easy on the tummy) plain white fish , plain white rice (boiled).

clients often ask me… “can I just give their normal food he/she only has biscuits” …

as boring as their biscuits may look to us they are actually quite rich in flavour so ideally go for something really bland like mentioned above but if they literally won’t eat anything other than their biscuits then give them as we don’t want to starve them !

 

  • Your animal may experience a little diarrhoea or looser stools following an anaesthetic too , don’t panic it is a common side effect of an anaesthetic as it upsets their systems. The bland diet will help with this . Call your vet to let them know what’s going on though just to keep them in the loop and seek further advice.
  • Keep your animal safe and sound indoors for atleast 24hours to make sure they are back to normal as they may still be under the influence of anaesthetic drugs we have given . They may not be as street wise and get hurt or lost .
  • Take dogs out on a lead to do their business just in the garden or just around the block keep cats inside.
  • Monitor their habits over the next 24-48 hours make sure they urinate, poop, eat and drink . If they aren’t doing any of the following call your vet straight away.
  • As previously mentioned it can take a few days for your fur baby to get back to their normal cheeky selves but do keep an eye on how alert they are . Despite being a little sleepy and worse for wear will they respond if you whistle or clap or call their name? If they are not able to do this contact your vet immediately otherwise just keep them warm and quiet and let them sleep it off.

Are they walking around the house unaided? wanting to go outside? wobbly and falling all over the place and walking into things? (very unlikely as we keep them with us for a few hours to ensure they aren’t ‘drunk’ when they come home to you  but just giving worst case scenarios for you to be prepared for anything !)  again call your vet if you have any concerns.

  • Follow any other specific instructions given to you by your vet and always call if you are worried at all

wishing your fur baby a speedy recovery and you fur baby parents go get your self a nice G+T down you !

 

 

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Should I insure my pet ?

Simple answer … unless you’ve won the lottery ….yes ! 

Seriously guys it’s a no brainer . Vet bills can soon rack up . The amount of times we have seen a little puss cat come in that has been hit by a car and is not insured is crazy and it’s heartbreaking too . It is distressing for you and us when this happens and no treatment can be given and euthanasia is the only option. 
 Yes you have to pay out monthly and you may never ever need to claim money back from your insurance company but isn’t it comforting to know you have that safety net just incase so fluffy can get the treatment he needs when or if needed ? 
As pets get older ailments crop up , pain relief for arthritis , blood tests , ear problems , eye problems … £££ pound signs add up . 


“But I prefer to save money in an account every month instead” 
Ok I can see this working maybe if you have a substantial sum of money in your money pot initially and put a decent sum in per month but what if your fur baby gets hit by a car and the vet says “I’m sorry mrs Edwards but buddy is going to need to be referred to a specialist for treatment of the multiple fractures he has and this is going to cost roughly £5000 ” is your pot going to be able to cough up that amount ? 

And what about butch with his lifelong skin conditions which is costing £100 a month for medications will your pot cover this ? And what if on top of butches skin problem he eats something toxic and has to be hospitalised for 48 hours and kept on a drip and the bill is £300 ? And then a week later he’s back in because he’s done the same again? Will your pot cover this ? 


Pet insurances which cover your animal for their lifetime are a god send ! Direct claims can even be set up in most cases so that £5000 for fluffy’s referral surgery doesn’t even have to leave your bank account you just pay the excess of your insurance policy which in fluffys’ case is £54 and your insurance company gives a cheque straight to your vets. Every year you could have thousands of claimable pounds if your animal should need it . Will your pot have that amount ? 
Insuring your pet is responsible ownership , it’s not a con , it’s a lifeline , a comfort blanket , a safety net , preparing for both the unexpected and inevitable and providing the best possible care you can give to your fur baby without having to remortgage your house or sell your car. 
Unfortunately there is no NHS for animals , it’s private healthcare all the way and ‘do everything you can ‘ comes with a price tag.
Just please think about it 🙂 

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Should I neuter my dog ?

I have to say us nurses are sometimes guilty of bombarding you with information when you come in with your pup for those first health checks and vaccination appointments. We’re sorry we just want to give you as much advice as possible and get a little over enthused !  We can see the colour drain from your faces when we start reaming off facts and figures regarding neutering so this is a breakdown and refresher on neutering to hopefully help you come to a decision.

What is neutering ? 

Neutering is a routine veterinary procedure we do every day in practice where the reproductive organs of an animal are surgically removed under general anaesthetic so they are therefore unable to produce more fur babies .

In dogs we carry out the surgical procedures known as castrating  in males and spaying in females.

What is the difference between the spay and castrate procedure?

Castrates are performed in male dogs and are described as the surgical removal of both testes . Spays are performed in female dogs and are described as the surgical removal of both ovaries and or the whole uterus too .

Why do we neuter dogs?

We neuter dogs for health reasons , behaviour reasons and stop unwanted breeding .

Male dogs left entire (not castrated) are at risk of developing prostate disease and testicular tumours later on in life .

Female dogs left entire ( not spayed) are at risk of developing mammary tumours and developing a condition called a pyometra which is basically where the uterus fills with pus and can make them very sick if left untreated can prove fatal .

Females also come into season once or twice a year which is pretty much the same as human female menstruation cycles . As you can imagine this can get a bit messy around the house but you can get doggy nappies for this nowadays .

”We hear you are in season?!”

Walks in the park with a bitch in season can be quite frankly terrifying. I’ve experienced this first hand when I was babysitting Lucy , a friends dog who happened to be in season. I took her to the park , kept her on the lead so she couldn’t get up to mischief and I kid you not dogs appeared from know where and were all over her like flies around doggy doo doo . I had to actually put my leg between her and a randy Jack Russel at one point. My hunter wellies are still getting over the traumatic experience !

Entire males and females tend to hump things which can get pretty annoying and embarrassing !

Males left entire can sometimes be very boisterous and overconfident from the testosterone hormone produced in the testes and they will often stray looking for females in season or heat .

And finally …. there are so many unwanted pets in rescue and rehoming centres  we don’t need to increase the number …..

 

What’s involved in the surgery itself ?

So during castration for males both testicles will be removed through one small surgical incision  just a bit further forward from the scrotum .

In females the ovaries and or uterus will be removed through a larger incision made midline on their tummy.

Castrate wound

Spay wound

 

 

 

 

Sometimes male dogs may retain one or both testicles within their abdomen or groin region by the penis . This just happens in some dogs , their testicles fail to descend into the scrotum as pups grow like they are supposed to normally . In these instances it is best to get them removed as if the testicles are left in the abdomen they can become tumorous nasty little suckers. These dogs should also not be bred from as their offspring can inherit this condition from them. The surgery for this will involve a slightly larger wound similar to the girls as the vet will have togo on a slight treasure hunt to locate the testicles in your dogs tummy.  Or they can be removed laprascopically … I’ll discuss this next…

Female spays can now be done laparoscopically which is key hole surgery and it is a much less invasive and traumatic procedure . During this procedure only the ovaries are removed through two small holes and the uterus is left behind .

 

 

There is no risk of a formerly mentioned pyometra developing as it is the ovaries hormones which causes the condition to form .

And as mentioned prior , retained testicles in male dogs can be retrieved via this route too.

Benefits of a laparoscopic spay include ; quicker recovery time, less painful and often no need for a dreaded cone of shame to stop them licking at wounds. But they are a little more expensive to do that the conventional spay. I’ll leave that to you to weigh up though.

 

 

Is there anything else I need to take into consideration before getting my dog neutered?

It’s good to talk to a veterinary nurse or surgeon when making this decision though because sometimes surgically neutering may not be the best choice for your pup . For example surgically castrating a very nervous fearful male can make them more nervous and fearful as we are taking away their testes and therefore testosterone which is a confidence boosting hormone .

Sometimes we place a hormone implant which in effect chemically castrates males reducing testosterone levels for medical purposes (testosterone driven disease such as prostate problems) though they can still technically produce offspring as testes are still present .

We can also place these implants in fearful males as a test to see how their behaviour might be impacted before we surgically castrate them .

 

Another thing to consider is Large breed dogs are prone to joint disease so
neutering may be advised to be delayed in these guys as it has been suggested in research that if done too soon it may impact bone growth . But no one really knows whether this is a definite link or not so again speak to your vet about this .

Are there any risks ?

There are risks involved with performing a general anaesthetic and for the surgery too , the same us us,  but your vet and vet nurse will discuss this with you and we will make the anaesthetic as safe as we possibly can for your fur baby . We know it’s scary , we can completely  sympathise with you ! We turn into emotional wrecks when our pets are ill or undergo a general anaesthetic.  I cried when I had to have my fur baby put under anaesthetic recently !

The thing to remember is  that this is a routine operation which we perform every day . Neutering is an elective procedure carried out when your pet is fit and well and normally young too.

We give your pooch a thorough M.O.T before putting them through an anaesthetic to make sure they are fit enough to go through an anaesthetic and if something is flagged up we will always discuss this with you before going ahead with surgery we would never take any unnecessary risks.  We extensively monitor your pet throughout the anaesthetic and the vet will take great care when carrying out the surgery . We treat your fur babies as if they are our own and always take very good care of them.

When should I neuter my dog?

That depends on your vets advice but the normal timings for neutering is around 6 months for males and females . This differs depending on breed, size and circumstance of your dog .

If you are getting your female spayed then ideally it should be done before the first season which is around 6 months of age (smaller toy breeds can be a little sooner). We try to do it before the first season to reduce risk of developing mammary tumours later on in life. The more seasons they have the increased risk. There are myths about you should let females have a litter of pups first or have a season first but this is old school advice.

What happens if my female dog comes into season before her surgery is scheduled?

If your angel comes into season before her spay appointment (sods law!) then you will have to wait 3 months before attempting surgery again to make sure she is fully out of season. If surgery is carried out when she is in season there is an increased risk of blood loss as the blood supply to the uterus during this time is greater. The uterus will also be enlarged which can make surgery more difficult. Also the hormones rushing around their bodies at this time can cause them to think they are pregnant permanently  which is not very nice for them this is called .’Phantom pregnancy’ can cause them to display odd behaviour such as nesting , being more overprotective of toys -they can even become a little snappy. They can also experience physical effects like lactating permanently which can then go on to cause mastitis which is inflammation of the mammary tissue and is a very painful  condition – ouch!

 How do I look after my dog post operatively?

Your pup is going to have to be kept quiet and calm for atleast 10 days. Strict lead exercise unfortunately guys but stay strong you’ve got to be cruel to be kind !

Your pup will have stitches which may be dissolvable or need to be removed by your vet/nurse .

Bland food over the initial 24hours post anaesthetic as your pet may be feeling a little Tom -Dick (Sick!) . Boiled chicken and rice normally does the trick !

 

 

The cone of shame needs to be kept on until the stitches are removed to prevent licking which can ultimately cause an infection. As lovely as your mutt is please don’t forget they can be a bit gross they lick their bums and other dogs bums, some even eat poo so licking their lovely clean surgical wound is a big no no!

You would not believe how many times we have heard Mrs Potts say…

” I’m with my dog 24/7 so I don’t need to put that contraption on my dog to stop them licking their wound ”

…. I just don’t know how this is possible….. do you not sleep until the final post op check ? or what about when you go for a pee ? or make a cup of tea ? or when you blink? can you 100% watch your dog for 24 hours until those stitches are removed? I always imagine people walking around with one of those baby carriers strapped to their front with their 40kg german shepherd fastened in so they are always with them !

But seriously if an infection sets in this slows up the healing process and your pooch will end up having to wear the lampshade for longer . So please just keep it on your gonad free monkey until you’ve had your final post op check for everyones sanity.

Medications may be prescribed for you to administer at home – your nurse or vet will explain how to give them.

Finally …. if your worried at all just call your vet …. we really don’t mind 🙂

 

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