Pre-Anesthetic: Things you should know
Client Information for our Anesthetic, Surgical, and Dental Procedures
Fasting (water is ok!)
Patients are required to be fasted for surgery from 10 pm the night before, because (though it is rare) regurgitation of food can occur while under anesthesia and this can lead to serious illness. Therefore it is best to have an empty stomach before going under anesthesia. If your pet is on chronic medication, you may give a small amount of food in order to give the medication in the morning. Water is always ok and does not need to be withheld.
Check in Time (and yes, we do work all day!)
All patients undergoing surgical procedures of any kind need to be dropped off between the hours of 7am-8:30am. This is so that the technician can check everyone in, and make sure that we have the correct treatment plan, and can do any necessary preparations prior to surgery. Any surgical procedure requires an extensive amount of prepping and we have many patients on a daily basis that are undergoing a procedure. We cannot allow for later check in times, because once surgeries begin, we need to focus all of our attention on each anesthetized patient.
Note: that your pet may not go into surgery first thing in the morning, as we have many other patients that will be getting procedures done through the day as well. Our surgeries start normally around 9:30am and run until 5 pm or even later. It is at the veterinarian's discretion as to whom he/she feels necessary to get into surgery first versus last. Please also keep in mind that we occasionally have life-threatening emergencies which can unfortunately interfere with the timing of our scheduled surgeries and cause us to fall behind the intended schedule. Please be prepared that your patient may be somewhat groggy at the time of pickup, and will likely want to sleep when they get home.
There are occasional situations where it is necessary for a patient to stay overnight after a procedure, due to either our schedule or yours. They are monitored continuously until they are deemed to be fully recovered from anesthesia and safe to be left alone. We do not have anyone in the building from 10pm to 6am. If your patient is thought to be unstable or high risk, there is always the option of transferring to one of the local ERs for overnight monitoring.
Tooth Extractions (It's like pulling teeth!)
If your pet is getting a dental cleaning today, there is always a possibility they may have teeth that need to be extracted. Reasons for this include mobility (i.e., loose teeth, in which case, the periodontal disease is already severe), deep periodontal pockets of 3 mm or more, pus around the crown, broken crowns, root abscesses, etc. The majority of these problems cannot be seen on an awake exam! Each tooth takes between 2 and 30 minutes to extract and surgically close the extraction site. We do NOT pull any healthy teeth (pulling teeth is hard work!). We DO pull any teeth that the veterinarian deems unhealthy, and we will not necessarily call you before doing so, as it would distract us from caring for your patient and would prolong anesthesia time.
We will contact you when your pet's procedure is completed and they are in recovery (not before). You are welcome to contact us to check on your pet during the day if you like. Please MAKE SURE you are available to be reached in case the doctor needs to discuss anything with you. Please keep in mind that our HIGHEST priority is giving each patient our undivided attention and making the best decisions for them medically. We are all here because we love animals and we want them to be as healthy as possible!
Please feel free to discuss any of the above at patient check-in on the morning of the surgery.
Thank You, Animal Health Care Denver