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What To Know About Your Cat's Pre and Post-Op Surgical Care


Understanding Why A Cat Surgery Has Been Recommended

At Animal Hospital of Springfield, our primary concern is for the health and well being of your cat. There may arise a circumstance when a surgical procedure is in the best interest of your feline friend, and in these times you will need to make that decision. We understand what that feels like, and our veterinarians and staff are here for you too.

If a cat surgery is being recommended, our veterinarian will have sound medical reasoning and it is important that you understand what surgical procedure is being recommended and why, how the procedure will be performed and when it should take place.

There are two categories of cat surgeries, elective and urgent/emergency.

Elective cat surgeries include:

Urgent cat surgeries include:

  • Skin laceration or abscess
  • Stomach or intestinal blockage
  • Urinary blockage
  • C-section
  • Splenic masses
  • Skin cancers

Most Modern Cat Surgeries Are Fairly Low Risk

Elective surgeries are performed when your cat is generally considered healthy, thereby greatly reducing possible complications. Today even urgent cat surgeries carry significantly lower risks due to improvements in modern medicine and vast improvements in the standards of veterinary care. Thanks to an extensive list of pre-surgical procedures such as exams, in house pre-surgical bloodwork, premedication, IV fluids, pain control and monitoring of vital sign trends (i.e. body temperature, heart rate, blood pressure, O2 levels, CO2 levels) by a knowledgeable anesthesiologist throughout the anesthetic procedure, all serve to reduce the risk associated with cat surgeries.

We Follow The Highest Standards Of Veterinary Care

At Animal Hospital of Springfield, we are committed to the highest standards of excellence in veterinary medicine. Surgical protocols include:

  • Pre-surgical assessments. Prior to surgery, the veterinary team verifies the specifics of the procedure; completes a physical exam of the patient; and ensures blood tests have been completed, documented, and reviewed by the veterinarian. Among other things, these precautions help determine if your pet is at risk for complications while under general anesthesia.
  • Dedicated surgical suites. To prevent post-surgical infections and cross-contamination, surgeries are performed in a room used only for sterile surgical procedures.
  • Surgical attire. Staff must wear disposable caps and masks when entering the surgical suite. Anyone involved in the procedure itself must also wear sterile gowns and single-use gloves.
  • Sterile packs and equipment. Surgical instruments are carefully cleaned, wrapped and autoclave sterilized prior to each procedure to help prevent infections.

Making The Decision To Proceed With Cat Surgery

The decision to do surgery involves a discussion with you about possible complications and all factors to be considered when deciding what is best for your cat. Factors to think about when considering cat surgery include:

  • Age and general health of the cat
  • Potential complications from the surgery
  • Potential outcome if surgery is not done
  • Recovery time and post op care required by the owner

While the decision to have your cat undergo surgery is completely in your hands, our veterinarians will do their best to make sure you feel supported with information to make the best decision. We are here to help you make an informed and compassionate decision that is in the best interest of your cat.

Cat Pre-Surgical Instructions

Cat pre-surgical instructions vary depending on the type of procedure being performed, and whether or not the cat surgery is emergency or planned. However, we will provide you with a set of cat pre-surgical instructions that can be used as a general guideline for preoperative preparations:

  • We recommend picking up the food bowl by 10pm the night before surgery and no snacks or treats but allow them to drink water throughout the night.
  • Bring your cat to the hospital in a clean carrier with clean bedding in case they urinate/defecate in transit to the hospital, and include something that smells of home such as a shirt or towel to decrease anxiety. A light spritz of Feliway pheromone spray on the bedding or towel in the carrier may lessen anxiety too.
  • Listen carefully to post surgical instruction from your veterinary care team and call the hospital if you have any questions regarding the post op care for your cat.

Cat Anesthesia

Cat anesthesia is extremely safe when the patients are stabilized before the procedure and all effort is made to have a good understanding of the cat's medical condition before surgery. There is always some risk to anesthesia, however, the risk is low when being performed by a highly qualified veterinarian and surgical team.

Recovery from surgery depends upon the length of the surgery, the age of the cat and the amount of pain medication required to keep your cat free from any post operative pain. Some things to be aware of post anesthesia include:

  • It is normal for your cat to be groggy or disoriented for a few hours after receiving a general anesthetic
  • Your cat might sleep deeper or longer for 24 hours after receiving cat anesthesia
  • Your cat might be a duller version of itself for 24 hours after anesthesia due to the sedating effects of anesthesia
  • Review with your veterinarian any feeding and/or comfort tips they can provide depending on what kind of anesthetic was used, and what surgical procedure was performed.

Always remember to call us if you have any questions about your cat's recovery.

Post Surgical Care For Cats

We will tailor all post surgical instructions for your cat depending upon the procedure and your cat's needs. However, we will provide you with a set of cat surgery recovery instructions that can be used as a general guideline for postoperative care:

  • Arrange Pick up appointment time to review the procedure and post surgical care needs
    • For routine procedures, most cats can go home a few hours after waking up from anesthesia
    • For advanced or emergency procedures, extended stays of 24 hours or longer may be necessary in order to monitor vital signs and deliver critical care
  • Make sure you have a good understanding of post surgical instructions. Remember, all questions are good. Some things to review at pick up time include:
    • When and how much to administer of medication, food and water
    • The care of incisions, wounds or bandages
    • Assisted care tips
    • Follow up appointment scheduling
  • At home, allow your cat to recover in a warm, quiet space of its choosing (if possible) to increase comfort and reduce stress
  • For the first 24 hours, monitor your cat closely as it recovers. Always call if you have any concerns
  • Keep your cat indoors to monitor for any post-surgical complications and to keep the healing wound clean, dry and free of infection.
  • Incision care: Most surgeries will have absorbable sutures under the skin but for those with external sutures, you will need to keep your cat from licking or chewing out the sutures or opening the incision. Your veterinary staff will review after-care recommendations which may include an Elizabethan Collar
  • Monitor the incision for possible signs of infection which will include redness or swelling
  • Continue to follow your cat's recovery program until told to alter or discontinue it by your veterinarian

Scheduling Surgery For Your Cat

If you need to discuss surgical options, or schedule surgery for your cat, please contact us today. Our veterinary staff is highly experienced and are caring cat people who are happy to help ease the stress and fear associated with cat surgery for you and your feline friend.

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