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We recommend a routine spay or neuter be performed on your pet between the ages of 4 and 6 months. We realize that many people may "shop around" for the best price on these surgeries. Without the knowledge of why the cost varies among veterinary practices and low cost spay and neuter facilities, it is impossible to make and informed decision. With your pet's health, safety, and comfort in mind, the following information will explain what sets Whitefish Animal Hospital apart from the other facilities. Let's follow your pet through the entire surgical process.
The night before surgery, your pet should not have any food after 8pm. Water should be available at all times. Allow your pet the opportunity to urinate and defecate prior to bringing them to the hospital between 7am and 8am. Please also allow time to read and sign an authorization form. A surgical technician will admit your pet and answer any questions you may have. Upon request, you will be given an estimate of scheduled services.
Once admitted, your pet will receive a pre-anesthetic exam. The heart will be auscultated (listened to) for rate, rhythm, and sounds. The lungs will be auscultated. The mucus membranes will be examined for color and capillary refill time. The general appearance will be evaluated. If a suitable pre-anesthetic blood sample evaluation has not already been completed, a blood sample will be collected to evaluate organ function and check for anemia and dehydration. This blood test can detect hidden problems that could cause serious complications when your pet is under anesthesia. If all blood work is within normal limits, your pet will receive a pre-anesthetic injection that allows for sedation as well as pre and post surgical pain relief. Next, an IV catheter will be placed in your pet's front leg. The IV catheter is our port for providing emergency drugs if an anesthetic emergency were to arise. Warm IV fluids will be administered to help maintain blood pressure, provide internal organ support and help your pet from becomming dehydrated. Next, the surgeon will induce anesthesia with an injection of medication that quickly anesthetizes your pet, and allows for intubation. Intubation is placing a tube through the mouth, between the laryngeal cartilage folds and into the trachea. This keeps the airway open and allows for maintenance oxygen and isoflurane gas anesthetic to flow into the lungs. The surgery site is clipped and antiseptically prepared for surgery.
Electrocardiogram (EKG) leads are attached to your pet to allow monitoring of the heart rate and heart rhythm, as well as the amount of oxygen in the blood (Sp02). A blood pressure cuff is used to monitor the blood pressure throughout the procedure. A device is connected to the endotracheal tube that monitors the respiratory rate to assist in proper ventilation. Your pet's temperature is monitored throughout the procedure as well as during recovery. Finally, your pet will be moved into our surgical suite onto a heated surgical table. A veterinary surgical technician will monitor your pet's vital signs throughout the entire procedure.
The surgeon and technician prepare themselves to prevent contamination by wearing a surgical cap and mask. The surgeon will scrub their hands three times for 5 to 10 minutes with an antiseptic solution before donning a sterile surgical gown and sterile, single use gloves. The surgery will be performed using a sterile pack of surgical instruments along with a new, sterile scalpel blade and sterile, single use suture material. After surgery, your pet will be moved into a headed recovery area. Your pet will have the endotracheal tube removed after they regain their reflexes and are able to control their airways. Your pet will be monitored by a surgical veterinary technician in recovery until able to move about. At that time, your pet will be returned to it's heat supported kennel.
Once your pet has returned to it's kennel, the surgeon or technician will call to notify you that the surgery has been completed. Your pet will be released later the same day between 4pm and 6pm. Oral pain medications will be sent home with your pet to take for a few days following surgery to help with pain and inflammation. Your pet may appear sedate at discharge. Be prepared to allow them to just rest that night. Your pet will have buried, internal sutures; therefore, you will not need to return for suture removal. The activity level of you pet should be restricted for 10-14 days. Briefly check the surgical site at least once daily. If you notice any discharge, discoloration, or swelling at the surgical site, please call us right away. We are happy to recheck the surgical site at no charge if there is ever any question.
We hope that this has answered any questions about what sets Whitefish Animal Hospital apart from low-cost spay and neuter facilities. These facilities may cut corners, creating greater risks for your pet in order to maintain a low cost service. These risks can create infection, pain, suffering, and in some cases death. We believe that the facilities that cut corners are not adequately informing and educating clients of the risks involved in low cost surgery. At Whitefish Animal Hospital, we believe our patients deserve uncompromising care and will always receive the highest quality and safest care available in veterinary medicine. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask one of the members of our health care team.