YOUR PET’S SURGERY
At Coppell Veterinary Hospital, we want your pet’s surgery to be as safe as possible for your pet and as stress free as possible for the both of you! Most of us know of a loved one or have personally had to have an elective or non-elective surgical procedure. We’re sure most of you can remember the anxiety felt before the procedure. At least as humans, we have the ability tell our physicians and nurses how we are feeling and are aware of what’s going on. We also have the choice and ability to research the level of medical care we receive. Unfortunately, our four-legged family members cannot make that decision and must rely on their caregivers, veterinarians and nurses, to do the right thing. As with our personal health care, there is a wide disparity in pet health care. We will walk you through our surgical protocol to help answer some of the most important questions you may have.
First and foremost, the surgery procedure should start with a thorough physical exam, a pre-operative assessment (pre-operative blood work-up to detect underlying organ dysfunction, pre-operative electrocardiogram which can help evaluate the health of the heart), and preemptive pain management (preemptive which refers to the application of analgesic techniques before the patient is exposed to noxious stimuli, the surgical procedure, therefore, decreasing the intensity and duration of post-procedure pain and minimizing the likelihood of a chronic pain state being established). In recent years, the need for pain management in pets has been recognized. Pain is, in fact, a stressor, triggering reflexes governed by the nervous system. Ultimately, pain slows recovery and healing, producing a state of metabolic breakdown, exaggerating the inflammatory response, suppressing the immune response, and predisposing the patient to infection. We also send home appropriate post-operative pain medications.
The next consideration we have to make is the type of anesthesia used. This relies heavily upon the above mentioned pre-anesthetic evaluations. Many anesthetic agents are not safe to use in older patients or those with pre-existing diseases (kidney, liver, etc.). One size does not fit all when it comes to anesthesia! We place an IV catheter in all of our patients to deliver fluids during their procedure just like they do in us humans. This is done to help maintain blood pressure and hydration. It is also a safety line if medications need to be administered rapidly. When their procedure is finished, any remaining fluids in the IV bag are disposed of. This practice is not the norm; most facilities will use one bag of fluids on multiple patients to save costs. Each patient will be intubated with a brand new endotracheal tube, which also is not the industry standard. Almost all veterinary facilities, including the universities and specialty practices commonly engage in re-use of these tubes in multiple patients. If you tour almost any veterinary facility, you will see a drying/storage rack on the wall with these tubes. Again, this is a cost saving measure but it also can lead to the spread of infection and disease. The endotracheal tube is placed to maintain the airway, prevent fluids from entering the lungs and to administer anesthetic gases.
While under anesthesia, our patients are monitored by a dedicated anesthetist. That individual is either Dr. William Stearman or Angie Best, RVT. They utilize their extensive education along with sophisticated monitoring equipment to make sure your pet is maintained safely throughout their procedure. Now we need to consider where the procedure will take place. For all invasive procedures (entering the body cavity), at Coppell Veterinary Hospital, the procedure will take place in our operating room. Just as in human medicine, we utilize a separate suite where no other treatments are performed -- surgery only! The instrumentation used in our surgeries are either steam sterilized (autoclaved) packs or ethylene oxide sterilized for non-metal instrumentation. Each pack is used once per patient and then re-sterilized -- no sharing of surgical packs between patients. This may sound obvious, but that is also not always the case. Some facilities may utilize a procedure called cold sterilization (instruments soaking in antiseptic solution) which is actually not a sterilization process -- it does not eliminate all pathogens that can cause infection and should not be used for surgical instruments.
We hope this information about your pet’s procedure at Coppell Veterinary Hospital will put your mind more at ease. We are always happy to discuss any surgical procedure for your pet.
504 S Denton Tap RD
Coppell, TX 75019
Monday - Thursday
8:00 AM - 12:00 PM
2:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Closed Friday, Saturday and Sunday
For after hours Emergency Care Call 817-410-2273
Animal Emergency Hospital of North Texas