At Westway Animal Clinic, our goal is to provide the safest surgical experience for your pet. For this reason, it is mandatory that any patient undergoing anesthesia has pre-anesthetic blood work performed.

In human medicine, all patients whether healthy or sick, undergo testing prior to surgery to ensure that their body is capable of tolerating the drugs and risks associated with undergoing anesthesia. We proudly have the ability to offer this benefit to our patients and feel that blood work is critical to minimizing the risks associated with surgery in our furry friends. To perform a pre-anesthetic profile on your pet prior to their procedure we collect some blood no more than a few days prior to their surgery date. We evaluate the blood in various ways, looking at the red blood cells (responsible for supplying oxygen to the body), the white blood cells (which tell us if there is an infection present) and the platelets (which are needed for blood to clot). The blood can tell us how the various organs in the body are functioning and whether the pet may have any inherited/genetic diseases that may affect our procedure. All of this information allows us to be better prepared for surgery and gives us some peace-of-mind that the organs are not unexpectedly compromised in any way. Abnormal results do not necessarily rule out the possibility of surgery, they may just alter the drugs we use or protocols we follow.

The Day of Surgery

1. Bring your pet in at 8:00am on the day of their surgery. Please be sure to fast your pet, no food or water, from 9:00pm the night before their surgery.

2. A pre-surgical physical examination, including an ECG (which monitors heart arrhythmias and blood pressure, is performed. Pre-anesthetic blood work is evaluated, and an individual emergency drug protocol is generated. The patient is then placed on IV fluid therapy.

3. We use a multimodal approach to pain control, working to create a pain-free experience from before the surgery begins into the days after the surgery is completed. We give an initial injection of pain medication before surgery which lasts 24 hours. During the start of the anesthesia process we give a second injection which is comprised of an opioid and a sedative. An intravenous anesthesia medication makes them sleepy enough for us to then place a tube down their trachea (windpipe) which is connected to the anesthetic machine. This machine delivers a mixture of oxygen with a gas anesthetic called Isoflurane which is what keeps them asleep during their surgery.

4. Once your pet is asleep we prepare the surgical site to make it as sterile as possible and then move your pet into the surgery room.

5. Constant monitoring of your pet’s vital parameters during surgical procedures (such as oxygenation, blood pressure, respiration rate and heart rate) is performed by a trained RVT (Registered Veterinary Technician). RVTs ensure that the anesthesia is going smoothly and will alert the veterinarian performing the surgery if they note any abnormalities.

6. Intravenous fluids (IV fluids) are given before, during, and after surgery. The fluids will help keep the main vital organs hydrated, maintain blood pressure, and excrete any anesthetic drugs out of the patient’s body. One of the most common side effects of anesthesia is a decrease in blood pressure, so by increasing the amount of the intravenous fluids delivered into the system, the blood pressure will quickly be restored back to normal.

7. Depending on the type of surgery, different intraoperative pain control options are considered. One such example is continuous IV pain control drips. These are additional pain control drugs, used in the multimodal approach to pain, and they create a steady level of pain management, by constant rate infusion. They range from single pain control drugs to a combination of multiple pain control drugs.

8. Once surgery is completed, cold laser therapy is used at the surgical site to assist with pain control and healing. Tumor removals are the only time laser therapy is not used post-surgery.

9. Our Veterinarians will decide on which pain medications to prescribe for your pet after surgery depending on what surgery they had, their level of pain and what medications they received before and during the procedure. We customize our approach understanding that every pet and every situation is different. Remember, we treat pain before it starts and continue treating it until your pet is pain free!