What You Need to Know Before Your Cat's Upcoming Surgery
Many people have questions about various aspects of their cat's surgery, and we hope this information will help. It also explains the decisions you will need to make before your cat's upcoming surgery.
Is the anesthetic safe?
Today's modern anesthetic monitors have made surgery much safer than in the past. Here at Cat Clinic of Fernandina, we do a thorough physical exam on your cat 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 cat.
Preanesthetic blood testing is important in reducing the risk of anesthesia. It is recommended that each cat undergo blood testing before surgery to ensure that the liver and kidneys can handle the anesthetic. If there is a problem, it is much better to find it before it causes anesthetic or surgical complications. If serious problems are detected, surgery can be postponed until the problem is corrected.
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 lift all food at or before midnight on the night prior to your cat's surgery. Water can be given up until the time of your cat's appointment.
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. With either type of suture, you will need to keep an eye on the incision for swelling or discharge. Most cats do not lick excessively or chew at the incision, but this is an occasional problem you will also need to watch for. If there are skin sutures, these will usually be removed 10 to 14 days after surgery. You will also need to limit your cat's activity level for the first several days (up to a week depending on the operation) following surgery.
Will my cat be in pain?
Anything that causes pain in people can be expected to cause pain in animals. Cats 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.
What other decisions do I need to make?
While your cat is under anesthesia, it is the ideal time to perform other 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 cat off for surgery is not the primary decision maker for the cat's care.
When you bring your cat in for surgery, we will need five minutes of time to fill out paperwork. When you pick up your cat after surgery you can also plan to spend about ten minutes to go over your cat's home care needs.
We will call you the night before your scheduled surgery appointment, to confirm the time you will be dropping your cat off and to answer any questions you might have. In the meantime, please don't hesitate to call us with any questions about your cat's health or surgery.