PRE-OPERATIVE INSTRUCTIONS Information about what you are to expect if your pet has to come in for an operation or investigations

The night before…

For dogs and cats, please don’t give them any food after 11:00 pm the night before they come in. It’s best to give them a little bit of food around 10:00 pm. Make sure they have water until 7:30 am on the day they come in.

Horses should be kept light on Hay or Haylage only.   More Information can be found here 

For small pets like rabbits and guinea pigs, they can have food and water as usual.  More information can be found here.

On the day your pet comes in…

  • Before you bring your pet to the vet, let them go to the bathroom. Also, try to make sure they’re CLEAN and DRY.
  • Horses should be CLEAN and DRY from mane to tail and shoes should be removed in the case of a general anaesthetic.
  • Please transport your animals in a cool car during the hotter months and in a safe manner. Make sure they cannot get out of their carrier bag, cage, collars and lead ropes. If your dog tends to be over excitable it would be helpful to put on a muzzle before you enter the clinic. Let us know beforehand if your pet is more sensitive than usual to a new environment, other pets or people.
  • You’ll meet the nurse at drop-off, between 8:30 am and 9:30 am (unless otherwise instructed). During this time, you’ll need to sign a paper giving permission for certain procedures, like x-rays, spaying, or blood tests. Take a good look at this paper and ask the nurse if you have any questions. If there are other things you want done, like clipping nails or microchipping, tell the nurse so they can add it to the paper.
  • This paper (consent form) talks about the risks of anesthesia, which is when your pet is put to sleep for surgery. The risks are small, but it’s important to understand them. All animals are given a clinical examination before the anaesthesia and surgery to make sure they’re healthy enough. and that there are no obvious underlying problems that would increase that risk. Before you sign the paper, make sure you read and understand it. If you’re not sure about something, don’t hesitate to ask for more information. You can also receive this form by email and you can read it before and sign it at home.

Blood Tests and Intravenous Fluids

  • For older pets, typically over 8 years old, or those with previous health issues, the vet might suggest a general blood test before anesthesia. This helps catch any hidden problems like kidney issues, diabetes, liver problems, or anemia. Some owners of younger pets also choose to do these tests for peace of mind. This may be done a few days before the surgery, or on the day itself if there are time constraints. The extra cost for the screening is around €85.00 (including VAT). If you’re interested, please talk to the nurse. Keep in mind, though, that these tests don’t guarantee there won’t be any problems. However, the more we know about your pet’s health, the better prepared we can be.
  • For certain animals that are older, sick, or need a lengthy procedure, the vet might recommend putting them on an intravenous drip. This would have been discussed with you beforehand whenever possible, but feel free to talk about it more with the nurse when you bring your pet in.

Anaesthetics, Sedation and Recovery

  • We choose induction protocols based on the species, individual patient, and procedure. Typically, we use injectable drugs to start anesthesia and maintain it with a gas called Isoflurane. These modern drugs help your pet recover from anesthesia faster and with fewer side effects.
  • After your pet has anesthesia or sedation, we prefer to keep them at the clinic until they’ve fully recovered from the drugs. This time can vary for each animal. We also want to make sure they’re comfortable and pain-free before sending them home.
  • For certain procedures, we may need to shave some hair. This could be just a small area, like a leg for an intravenous cannula, on the chest and neck for an ecg electrode patch, on the thigh or back when we use an electrocautery device, or a larger area needed for surgery. Procedures like chest or abdominal ultrasound may require more extensive hair clipping.
  • Recovery times after anesthesia can vary, but most pets are ready to go home in the afternoon or evening. If you haven’t been informed earlier, please give us a call after 3:00 pm to check on your pet’s progress and expected discharge time.

Brachycephalic Dogs.

  • Certain dog breeds have a higher risk of anesthesia complications due to their body shape. This can lead to issues like breathing problems and increased chances of vomiting during or after surgery.
  • Dogs that vomit during or after anesthesia are at a higher risk of conditions like pneumonia, inflammation of the esophagus, and narrowing of the esophagus.
  • These breeds need extra monitoring during procedures and may require additional medications to lower the risk of complications. Breeds commonly affected include English Bulldogs, French Bulldogs, Pugs, and Boston Terriers. Some Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Boxers, Pekingese, Brussels Griffons, Shih-Tzus, and Lhasa Apsos may also be at higher risk.
  • For these at-risk dogs, we recommend additional medication, such as:
    • Intravenous Omeprazole: This reduces stomach acid and lowers the risk of acid reflux during the procedure.
    • Oral Omeprazole for 5 days after discharge: This further reduces the chances of vomiting after surgery.
    • Injectable Medication: This strong anti-nausea medication lowers the risk of vomiting.
    • Nasal Medication: This helps widen the airways and reduces nasal congestion to aid breathing.

    Your vet may recommend these medications for at-risk breeds. There’s a surcharge to cover the cost of these medications if your pet is considered a higher-risk candidate for anesthesia.

Contacting you on the day…

  • We kindly request that you provide us with a DAYTIME PHONE NO where we can reach you. This is crucial in case we need to provide updates on your pet’s progress or discuss any urgent matters or additional treatments with you. Please note that voicemail alone is not considered a valid contact number.

The evening after your pet’s procedure…

  • You’ll receive a tin of convalescent diet food to give to your pet in the evening. This food is tasty and easy for them to digest. You can go back to their regular diet in 2 to 3 days unless we tell you otherwise.
  • If your pet needs medication, the nurse will explain how to give it to you when you pick up your pet. If they need more medication later, start it the next morning unless we tell you differently. Make sure you understand all the medication instructions before you leave with your pet. If you’re unsure, don’t hesitate to ask for more information.
  • Most pets don’t bother their sutures, but it’s important to prevent them from licking or chewing the wound. We recommend using a Buster Collar, a cone collar or a full medical shirt (that fits like a swim suit) to keep them from interfering. Just let us know if you’d like to purchase one.For pets that have had surgery…
  • They are to be kept calm and not allowed to jump up and down on furniture for about 2 weeks – unless you are otherwise instructed.
  • 2-3 Days After Surgery: We’ll most likely need to see your pet for a follow-up appointment to make sure they’re fully recovered from the anesthesia and that the wound is healing well. This visit doesn’t cost extra.
  • 10 Days After Surgery: At this point, we can remove the sutures (unless they are intradermal). It’s a quick and painless procedure done by a nurse or vet during a regular appointment. Until then, it’s best to keep your pet on leash walks only to prevent any strain on the sutures.

Histology/Pathology/Lab Reports

 
  • If your pet’s tissue samples have been sent for analysis, it usually takes about 14 days to receive the results, though they may arrive sooner. We’ll get in touch with you as soon as we have the results to discuss them with you and any next steps.
  • For blood, swab, urine tests, etc., the turnaround time varies depending on the type of test. Typically, most results are obtained within 15 minutes. Some take up to 3 days. If we anticipate any delay beyond this timeframe, we’ll make sure to inform you promptly.

Current Medications

  • If your pet is currently taking medication, please continue administering it as usual before the procedure, UNLESS advised otherwise by a vet or nurse.
  • If your pet is scheduled to take medication with food on the morning of the procedure, please reach out to us for guidance. The appropriate action may vary depending on the medication or condition being treated.
  • For diabetic pets receiving insulin injections:
    • Unless instructed otherwise, refrain from feeding your pet on the morning of the procedure.
    • Administer 1/3rd of the regular insulin dose by injection at the usual time. For instance, if your pet typically receives 12 units, we recommend giving approximately 4 units.
    • When scheduling your pet’s appointment, please inform our staff about your pet’s diabetic condition so we can try to accommodate them earlier in the day.

Overnight Hospitalisation or Emergency Out-of-Hours Care.

  • We regret to inform you that we are unable to have staff present at the clinic throughout the night in addition to our regular daytime hours.
  • If your pet requires overnight hospitalization or care during our closed weekend hours, we offer the following options:For severely ill or high-dependency animals needing constant supervision, they can be transferred to the 24-hour Veterinary Hospital. These hospitals have dedicated night staff capable of providing continuous care for your pet.If your pet has undergone a procedure with us during the day and you have concerns after he/she has been discharged home again, talk to us immediately. Should our vet on duty be occupied with other patients outside the clinic (such as horses – whom we give priority to) we will refer you to the 24-hour Veterinary Hospital.
  • Please don’t hesitate to discuss any aspect of this with the vet or nurse when your pet is admitted.

Informed Consent

When you bring your pet to us, we’ll need you to sign a consent form. By signing this form, you’re allowing us to carry out the described procedure, and you’re confirming that you understand the terms and conditions outlined. It’s very important that you only sign this form when you’ve fully grasped everything written on it. If you’re unsure about anything, please don’t hesitate to ask us for further clarification.

Rabbits and Caged Pets 

If you’re bringing in smaller animals like rabbits, guinea pigs, or hamsters, here’s what you need to know:

  • You don’t need to stop giving them food and water before bringing them in.
  • Please inform us how they drink water – whether from a bottle, sipper, or bowl.
  • It’s helpful if you can bring along a small amount of their regular food too. This way, we can encourage them to eat as soon as possible after their procedure.

HORSES

Horses must be brushed, cleaned and dried well before coming to the clinic. Shoes need to be taken off before arriving at the clinic should the procedure be under general anaesthetic.

In the case of a general anaesthetic and also in case of a lengthy procedure under standing sedation, it is advisable to only feed the usual hay, haylage and some alfa alfa (only if its part of the horse’s normal diet) in the day leading up to the surgery. Keep him/her light – no concentrate foods or pellets.

If the horse is going to undergo a castration it is advisable to remove all bedding and leave the horse in a paddock. Horses will need to be worked lightly at least twice a day for the first 3 weeks following the procedure.

If the horse is coming in for an endoscopy he should be wearing a muzzle to avoid any nibbling of food or stable shavings for 8 hours. Water should be taken away for at least 4 hours prior to the procedure.