Education How to Shop for Surgery

How To Shop For Surgery



Many people "shop around" for the lowest prices on surgical
proceedures without knowing why the cost varies among
veterinary practices.  We've listed some questions to ask
that may be more important to your pet than cost.  We
feel it is important to find the best fit between available
levels of veterinary medicine and your expectations for the
care of your pet.

Questions to ask and why ask them.

1. Will my pet receive a complete physical examination prior
to surgery?

This is important for a number of reasons.  It is our first
defense against performing surgery on an animal that may
have any infectious disease, a heart murmur, or a debilitating
health condition that could cause serious complications
during or after surgery.

2. Will pre-anesthetic blood work be available for my pet?

Knowing a pet's overall health status can minimize potential
complications both during and after surgery.  On site
laboratory equipment makes it possible to perform important
blood screenings immediately prior to surgery.

3. What safety precautions will be taken with my pet during surgery?

While most surgery is uneventful, emergencies sometimes occur. 
Early detection of impending problems greatly aids our ability
to intervene and correct the problem.  A breathing tube should
be placed on anesthetized animals.  This keeps the airway open
and allows for supplemental oxygen or gas anesthesia as needed.
A heart and oxygen monitor allows the surgeon to keep track of
heart rate and level of oxygen in the blood.  I.v. fluid therapy
should be available to help stabilize blood pressure and allow
immediate access for intravenous drug administration.

4. What safety cautions will be taken with my pet after surgery?

Surgery patients lose body heat through anesthesia and the opening
of body cavities.  If patients get too cold, the heart can be
affected.  Patient temperature should be monitored at regular
intervals after surgery and supplemental heating provided as
needed.  Your pet's gum color, pulse and respiration should be
monitored by qualified, preferably licensed staff members.

5. How will pain be controled for my pet?

This is very important - surgery hurts!  The anesthetic will not
provide pain control once the pet wakes up.  Injections of pain
medication should be given after surgery and oral medication
should be offered for you to administer at home.

6. Will I receive written post-surgical care instructions for my pet?

Aftercare of surgical patients is very important for proper
healing.  The hospital should provide written discharge instructions
for your pet.  A conscientious staff will also call you 24 to 48
hours to check on your pet's recovery.

We hope these questions help you make an informed decision about
surgical care for your pet.  Cost does vary between practices,
but it's important to remember that levels of care also vary!

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