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Thursday, March 3, 2011

Stressless Surgery

Gooseberry had a “lumpectomy” today. I noticed a small, pea-sized lump on his leg a few weeks ago but when it didn’t go away I made an appointment with his veterinarian. She examined it and determined that it was nothing to fool with so we scheduled the surgery for today.

Anytime your pet is due for surgery you should keep several points in mind to make it a safer, less stressful time for you both.

1.     Be certain to follow your veterinarian’s instructions closely before the operation. For instance in most cases you will be instructed to fast your pet several hours beforehand. That means no food, usually for 12 hours before the surgery. This way your pet won’t regurgitate or aspirate his food during surgery endangering his life.
2.     The day of surgery be sure to deliver your pet to the veterinarian by the prescribed time. This allows the surgeon and the assistants to have your pet prepared in time for the surgery. In the case of many surgeries your pet may be able to go home by the end of the day but only if the surgery is performed early enough so that she can recover from the anesthesia. Even if she isn’t going home the same day it is best if she is awake by the end of the day so that the staff can be sure she is recovering normally.
3.     When you bring your pet home be sure to get all the instructions you’ll need to properly care for him. Do you need to care for the incision at home? Do you need to administer any medications, if so on what schedule? Be sure to follow the medication instructions exactly, if you don’t they aren’t much good for your pet. What follow-up visits will be required? It is best to schedule these before you leave the hospital if at all possible.
4.     Make sure you know what to look for in case something goes wrong once you get home. For instance, how can you tell if the incision gets infected, what should you do if the stitches come out or what if your pet starts acting lethargic or stops eating.
5.     Follow all instructions as closely as possible and call the veterinarian if you have any questions.

When we came home this afternoon Gooseberry was wearing a collar to keep him from bothering his stitches but within 2 hours the collar was gone. So far he is leaving his stitches alone but now I will have to watch him even more closely. Because the incision is on his knee I’ll also have to keep him from being too active. He is the type of cat who loves to leap after toys and jump up on things so I’ll have to keep him from doing that until the incision is healed. However, he seems to think that everything is fine and is determined to get back to life as usual.

One last caveat, when your pet returns home she smell different to your other pets. They may not accept this “new” smelling pet and fights might pop up. To help diffuse this situation you can try a couple of different things. To even out the smell problem you could put a dab of vanilla on each animal’s nose to disguise the smell. Also the use of a pheromone diffuser (like Comfort ZoneÒ) can help if you start the diffuser a day or two before the surgery.

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