Surgical FAQ

dog with surgical vestNot all clinics are the same…

Many pet owners don’t understand that there can be great differences in the quality of care when it comes to surgical procedures and dental procedures between different veterinary clinics. Those differences are often reflected in price. Some veterinary clinics will take shortcuts in order to reduce price, but these shortcuts also greatly reduce the level of care and comfort that your pet is receiving. Some clinics also separate out their costs and others bundle their services in the price, which can affect the price you are given.

What does this mean? This means that routine spay and neuter surgeries, including dental procedures, and their prices, can vary greatly from hospital to hospital. If you are shopping around trying to find the right price on a procedure, please make sure you are comparing apples to apples. Many times, if the price of a procedure is substantially lower than another, the level of care your pet will receive may also be lower. There are many reasons to choose Heritage Pet Hospital over a less expensive clinic. The following is a list of supplies, techniques, and procedures which Heritage Pet Hospital utilizes for all patients to provide safe and comfortable surgeries and procedures for all of our patients.


Anxiety-Reducing Meds before Anesthesia is an Option

If your pet is prone to being anxious and fearful at the hospital, we have the option of sending home a Comfort Kit prior to their visit with us. This kit includes a calming pheromone spray (Adaptil for dogs and Feliway for cats), catnip for cats, and a combination of medications that help reduce anxiety. These medications may cause a slight sedative effect, which helps to decrease the anesthetic dose. A lower anesthetic dose often decreases anesthetic risk. Pheromones sprayed in the cage for recovery, and on the surfaces the pet will be laying on, help provide calm as well. These steps will help your pet wake up smoothly, eat and drink earlier and heal with fewer complications than when not used. Let us know if this is something you are interested in for your pet. We may recommend it for them as well.


Pre-Anesthetic Blood Testing

We have an extensive in-house lab that will test your pet’s blood prior to being anesthetized on the morning of surgery. These tests check for liver and kidney function and for any other abnormalities telling us whether or not there could be a potential problem with surgery or anesthesia. In order to offer you the peace of mind you deserve, we REQUIRE that every pet have pre-anesthetic blood work done before their anesthetic procedure.


Pre-Anesthetic Exam

Many things can change up to the day of surgery. Each patient will receive an exam on the day of the procedure including temperature, pulse and respiration. This ensures that your pet’s body is ready for anesthesia on the day of the event.


IV Catheter

An intravenous catheter allows us to give injections and IV fluids into a vein. It is a vital lifeline if any complications might occur. Precious minutes can be lost trying to place an IV catheter AFTER a problem occurs.


IV Fluids

IV fluids support circulation and blood pressure during anesthetic procedures.


Pre-Anesthetic Pain Medications

Pain medications used early on in a procedure allows us to use lower doses of anesthetics. This also helps with a smoother induction and recovery and relaxes the patient prior to anesthesia. This also treats pain BEFORE it occurs, which is vital to the patient’s comfort and stress level.


Intraoperative Pain Medications and Anti-Nausea Medications

Pain can impact many things from induction, to recovery, as well as healing time. We believe that proper pain management during surgery through abdominal splash blocks in spays, testicular blocks in neuters and nerve blocks in dentals is essential for several reasons. We also administer an anti-nausea medication prior to anesthesia to help decrease the chances for this common side effect of anesthesia. This also ensures the most efficient recovery by promoting a smoother recovery and returning to a normal appetite after surgery.


Multi-Modal Anesthesia

Heritage Pet Hospital uses the best method for inducing anesthesia in your pet. We first sedate with an injectable anesthetic, and then we intubate your pet to then provide human grade gas anesthetic to reach a surgical plane of anesthesia.


Oxygen Supplied by Intubation

Intubation is placing a tube in the airway to prevent closure of the airway during surgery. Oxygen and gas anesthesia are given this way. Intubation protects the airway and prevents aspiration of fluids, especially during dentistry.

Blood-Pressure Monitoring

Blood pressure measurement provides important information about the cardiovascular status of a patient to ensure proper blood flow to vital organs during anesthesia.

Completely Sterile Technique for Each Case

Heritage Pet Hospital NEVER reuses gloves, instruments or any other material associated with your pet’s surgery or procedure. We use aseptic technique in each and every case; keeping your pet’s instruments and environment as sanitary as possible.


Heated Surgery Table

Maintaining body temperature helps a patient feel more comfortable and supports normal metabolism during anesthesia. Your pet’s body temperature is also continually monitored during the procedure.


Continual Patient Monitoring

We monitor your pet’s temperature, heart rate, respiration, ECG and oxygen levels during surgery. Monitoring these vital signs lets us know if a problem is occurring early on and we can respond to it appropriately.


Trained Veterinary Technician Providing Monitoring of Each Patient

Machines cannot replace having a trained person available to monitor the well-being of each patient. Your pet is continually monitored throughout the procedure by their own technician.


Post-Operative Heating Pad and Blankets

Providing heat postoperatively is important for patient comfort and recovery, but it must be done safely. A normal heating pad is dangerous. We have invested in specialized heating blankets and warming units made specifically for animals for the safety and comfort of our patients.


Postoperative Hands-on monitoring during recovery

Each patient has an assigned veterinary technician to monitor their postoperative care to make sure our patients recover well and to provide for their comfort.


Postoperative Pain Medication

Omitting pain medication is not an option at Heritage Pet Hospital. We have seen over the years how much better pets recover and heal with pain medication and we will not deny any patient this important part of their recovery. We will dispense pain medication to go home as well in many cases to help your pet heal as quickly as possible. Experience and experimental evidence on people and pets overwhelmingly point to how important this is.


Note: There is always risk with every anesthetic procedure. However, the staff at Heritage Pet Hospital takes every precaution possible to ensure that your pet is safe and comfortable throughout the whole procedure. Because unforeseen events can occur, we want to detect problems early on to take appropriate action.

We encourage clients and potential clients to not just compare price, but to also ask questions about what kind of care will be offered for their pets. We understand the level of medicine that is standard for us, may not be what everyone is looking for. But please know that we offer the gold standard based on AHAA guidelines which means we go above and beyond to make sure your pets are safe and well cared for while in our care.


Image credit: Sam Lion/Pexels

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