Kingsbury Animal Hospital

420 North Skinker Blvd.
Saint Louis, MO 63130


What You Need to Know Before Your Pet's Upcoming Surgery

Many people have questions about various aspects of their pet's surgery. This section explains some of the decisions you will need to make before your pet's upcoming surgery.

Is the anesthetic safe?

It is extremely important that surgery be done on an empty stomach to reduce the risk of vomiting during and after anesthesia. You need to withhold food and treats beginning 8 pm the evening before the procedure. Your pet can have water until the morning of the procedure.

We do a thorough physical exam on your pet before administering anesthetics to ensure there are no underlying issues that could create a risk. One step of the exam we highly recommend is a preanesthetic blood testing. This lets us know that your pet's liver and kidney functions can handle the anesthetic. Even apparently healthy animals can have organ issues that can be detected only through blood testing. 

Animals that have minor health issues will handle the anesthetic better if they receive IV fluids during surgery.  Fluids also help maintain a healthy blood pressure during surgery and of course proper hydration. This is a standard protocol at Kingsbury.  We can also adjust the amount and type of anesthetic used depending on the health of your pet.

Will my pet have stitches?

For many surgeries, we use absorbable sutures under the skin.  These will dissolve on their own and do not need to be removed.  Some surgeries do require skin stitches. These will need to be removed 10-14 days after the procedure.  With either type of suture, you will need to keep an eye on the incision for swelling or discharge and ensure your pet does not lick or chew at the sutures.  You will also need to limit your pet's activity level for a time and no baths are allowed for the first 10 days after surgery.

 Will my pet be in pain?

Anything that causes pain in people can be expected to cause pain in animals.  Pets may not show the same symptoms of pain as people do, but you can be sure they feel it.  Pain medications needed will depend on the surgery performed and the health of your pet. Our vets are required to continue education in medications and will recommend according to the most recent science.

For dogs, we may recommend an oral anti-inflammatory the day of and several days after surgery to lessen the risk of discomfort and swelling. These medications are also less likely to cause stomach upset and can be given even the morning of surgery. Injectable pain medications may also be administered after surgery on both dogs and cats. 

For cats, we are limited as to what we can recommend for pain and swelling. However, recent advances in pain medications allow us to administer a sedative that contains pain killing properties prior to surgery.  After surgery, pain medication is recommended on a case by case basis. 

 What other decisions do I need to make?

While your pet 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.

You will receive an email prior to surgery that will go over the process and will include necessary forms for you to review and fill out. Please make sure to check your email and respond.

The evening before your pet's procedure, you should begin withholding food and treats at 8 pm.  Do not withhold water!  Also, don't forget to continue withholding food the morning of surgery. 

Plan on checking in between 8 and 8:30 am the day of the procedure with the veterinary technicians.  

Please make sure you have a phone number where you can be reached during the day.

When you pick up your pet after surgery, plan on spending about 15 minutes to go over your pet's home care needs.

We will call you the day before surgery to confirm the preoperative instructions and to answer any questions you might have.  We will also call the day after surgery to follow up on your pet's recovery. In the meantime, please don't hesitate to call us with any questions about your pet's health or surgery.