5138 MacArthur Blvd, Washington, DC 20016
| Mon – Thurs: 7:30am – 7:00pm
| Fri: 7:30am – 6:00pm | Sat: 9:00am – 3:00pm
| Sun: Closed | 202-363-1316
Frequently Asked Questions
Is the anesthetic safe?
Today’s modern pre-screening tests, anesthetic monitors, and medications have made surgery much safer than in the past. Here at Palisades Veterinary Clinic, we do a thorough physical exam on your pet before administering anesthetics, to ensure that a fever or other illness won’t be a problem. We also adjust the amount and type of anesthetic used depending on the health of your pet.
Will my pet need labwork before surgery?
Preanesthetic blood testing is important in reducing the risk of anesthesia. Every pet needs blood testing before surgery to ensure that the liver and kidneys can handle the anesthetic. Even apparently healthy animals can have serious organ system problems that cannot be detected without blood testing. If there is a problem, it is much better to find it before it causes anesthetic or surgical complications.
Animals that have kidney dysfunction will handle the anesthetic better if they receive intravenous (IV) fluids prior to and during surgery. Intravenous fluids during surgery are the standard procedure here. IV fluids maintain blood pressure and help support major organs during anesthesia.
If serious problems are detected, surgery can be postponed until the problem is corrected.
For geriatric or ill pets, additional blood tests, electrocardiograms, or x-rays may be required before surgery as well.
Should I feed my pet the day of surgery?
It is important that surgery be done on an empty stomach to reduce the risk of vomiting during and after anesthesia. You will need to withhold food for at least 8 to 10 hours before surgery. Water can be left down for the pet until the morning of surgery.
Will my pet have stitches/sutures?
For many surgeries, we use absorbable sutures underneath the skin. These will dissolve on their own, and do not need to be removed later. Some surgeries, especially tumor removals, do require skin stitches or staples.
Regardless of the method of skin closure, you will need to keep an eye on the incision for swelling or discharge. Dogs and cats may lick excessively or chew at the incision, but this occasional problem is easily prevented by close supervision and using an “elizibethan collar” when not supervised.
If there are visible skin sutures or staples, these should be removed 10 to 14 days after surgery.
Can my pet do all the same things after surgery?
Probably most importantly, you will need to limit your pet’s activity level for 2 weeks, meaning no running/jumping/stairs. No baths are allowed for the first 10 days after surgery.
Will my pet be in pain?
Anything that causes pain in people can be expected to cause pain in animals. After surgery, pain medication is given on a case by case basis. Any animal that appears painful will receive additional pain medication. We take care to administer pain relievers pre-surgically also, and we utilize local anesthetic blocks, or nerve blocks, to prevent pain entirely.
Pets may not show the same symptoms of pain as people do; they usually don’t whine or cry, but you can be sure they feel it. Pain medications needed will depend on the surgery performed. Major procedures require more pain relief than things like minor lacerations.
For dogs, we may recommend an oral anti-inflamatory the day after surgery and several days after to lessen the risk of discomfort and swelling. We use newer medications, which are less likely to cause stomach upset. The cost of the medication varies, depending on the size of your dog.
Because cats do not tolerate standard pain medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or Tylenol, we are limited in what we can give them. Recent advances in pain medications have allowed for better pain control in cats than ever before.
We use narcotic patches for some surgeries in dogs as well. The cost will depend on the size of the dog.
Providing whatever pain relief is appropriate is a humane and caring thing to do for your pet.
What other decisions do I need to make?
While your pet is under anesthesia, it is the ideal time to perform certain minor procedures, such as dentistry, ear cleaning, or implanting an identification microchip. If you would like an estimate for these extra services, please call ahead of time. This is especially important if the person dropping the pet off for surgery is not the primary decision maker for the pet’s care.
When you bring your pet in for surgery, we will need to 5 to 10 minutes of time to fill out paperwork, look over the estimate, and provide contact information. When you pick up your pet after surgery you can also plan to spend about 10 minutes to go over your pet’s home care needs.
We will call you the day before your scheduled surgery appointment to confirm the time you will be dropping your pet off and to answer any questions you might have. In the meantime, please don’t hesitate to call us with any questions about your pet’s health or surgery.
ABOUT PALISADES VETERINARY CLINIC
Palisades Vet Clinic is a full-service small animal veterinary hospital. The facility includes a fully-stocked pharmacy, surgery suite, in-house x-ray, a closely monitored hospitalization area, and boarding for cats, with an outdoor yard for walking hospitalized dogs. We provide a broad spectrum of diagnostic procedures through in-house testing and the use of external laboratories.
PALISADES VETERINARY CLINIC
5138 MacArthur Blvd, Washington, DC 20016