Animal hospital pet health FAQs

Collinsville Pet Surgery

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

Many people have questions about various aspects of their pet's surgery, and we hope this information will help. Get in touch to learn more about your pet’s surgery.

Is the anesthetic safe for my pet?

Today's modern anesthetic monitors have made surgery much safer than in the past. At our hospital, we do a thorough physical exam on your pet before administering anesthetics, to ensure that a fever or other illness won't be a problem.

Pre-anesthetic blood testing is important in reducing the risk of anesthesia. Blood testing before surgery is recommended to ensure that the liver and kidneys can handle the anesthetic. Even apparently healthy animals can have serious organ system problems that cannot be detected without blood testing. If there is a problem, it is much better to find it before it causes anesthetic or surgical complications. We administer IV fluids to patients during most of our anesthetic procedures. This is a critical part to keep patients well hydrated throughout the procedure and provides us with an emergency access port if the need should arise.

If serious problems are detected, surgery can be postponed until the problem is corrected. For geriatric or ill pets, additional blood tests, electrocardiograms, or x-rays may be required before surgery as well. It is important that surgery be done on an empty stomach to reduce the risk of vomiting during and after anesthesia. You will need to withhold food for at least 8 to 12 hours before surgery.

Anesthetic Safety

Pre-Surgical Bloodwork

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; they usually don't whine or cry, but you can be sure they feel it. Pain medications needed will depend on the surgery performed. We include pain management with every surgical procedure for both the comfort of the patient, and to speed the recovery process. This may involve a postoperative injection which will ensure the patient is comfortable upon waking as well as a restful night's sleep at home.

When deemed necessary by the doctor, medication for the next few days is also included. Major procedures require more pain relief than things like minor lacerations. For dogs, we may recommend an oral anti-inflammatory the day after surgery and several days after to lessen the risk of discomfort and swelling. We use newer medications, which are less likely to cause stomach upset and can be given even the morning of surgery.

The cost of the medication will range depending on the size of your dog. Because cats do not tolerate standard pain medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or Tylenol, we are limited in what we can give them. Recent advances in pain medications have allowed for better pain control in cats than ever before. After surgery, pain medication is given on a case by case basis. Any animal that appears painful will receive additional pain medication.

At no time should you give your pet human medication unless directed by a veterinarian.

Will my pet have stitches?

For some surgeries, we use absorbable sutures underneath the skin. These will dissolve on their own and do not need to be removed later. Some surgeries, especially tumor removals, do require skin stitches. With either type of suture, you will need to keep an eye on the incision for swelling or discharge. Most dogs and cats do not lick excessively or chew at the incision, but this is an occasional problem you will also need to watch for. If there are skin sutures, these will usually be removed 10 to 14 days after surgery. 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.

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 ear cleaning or implanting an identification microchip. If you would like an estimate for these extra services, please call ahead of time. This is especially important if the person dropping the pet off for surgery is not the primary decision maker for the pet's care.

Frequently Asked Questions at Collinsville Animal Hospital

Common Questions

How should I prepare for my pet's annual appointment?

An annual exam is a standard procedure that we conduct but it is up to you to keep watch and make notes about your pet’s health and behavior. Our comprehensive full body examination of your pet will help ensure optimal health. Please come to us with anything that you notice or any questions that you may have. For pets over 7 years of age, bi-annual physical exams are recommended. Bring a fresh stool specimen to have evaluated for internal parasites. If indicated, a fresh urine specimen may be required to evaluate your pets urinary system.

What is the process for having my pet spayed or neutered?

Spaying or neutering can be done at approximately four months of age. Your pet is given an exam prior to surgery to help determine if they are healthy enough to undergo the surgical procedure. Current vaccinations are required at the time of surgery. The night before surgery, withold food (and treats) after 9pm. When you get up in the morning withhold water intake after 7am. Also a pre-anesthetic blood screen is recommended prior to undergoing anesthesia and surgery and will be preformed the morning of surgery. We work with you and your pet to help manage any pain after surgery. Your veterinarian may alter these recommendations for individual patient needs.

How long do the sutures stay in after my pet's surgery?

Procedures involving sutures require them to be removed about 10-14 days following the surgery.

How often does my pet need to have their teeth cleaned? Is there anything I should be doing at home?

We will examine your pet's teeth during their annual or bi-annual exam to determine the best schedule for your pet. Just like people, individual pets develop tartar and oral disease at different rates. Many large dogs can go for one to three years without a cleaning at your animal clinic. However, most smaller breeds need a professional cleaning every six to twelve months. However, by brushing your pet’s teeth at home, you can minimize how often your pet will need its teeth professionally cleaned.

Can my pet catch a cold or flu?

Although your pet can catch strep throat, it is very unlikely for your pet to catch a cold or the flu from you. That does not mean your pet can’t have an upper respiratory infection or intestinal disruptions. Coughing, sneezing, vomiting and/or diarrhea can all be debilitating for your pet and we recommend setting up an appointment with our veterinary clinic if your pet is suffering from these symptoms.

How often do you recommend performing laboratory tests on my pets?

In addition to having an annual physical exam for your pet, we also recommend performing yearly blood work and urine testing. This yearly exam checks your pet's kidneys, liver, blood sugar and blood protein levels. It is very easy to administer these tests at the same time we perform the yearly or bi-annual exam. For our senior pets (over 7years of age) we may recommend some additional laboratory tests.

How can I make payments?

Payment is required at the time of service and we gladly accept cash, checks, care credit, and all major credit cards. You can be pre-approved for credit by going to www.carecredit.com.

What is your cancellation policy?

We require a 24 hours notice to cancel all appointments. Please be sure to contact us if you will not be able to make your scheduled appointment in order to avoid being charged for the visit.

Do you allow urgent or same day appointments?

We set aside certain times during the day for emergency vet visits. Please call our office and speak with one of our staff to set up a same day appointment.

How do I choose a Veterinarian?

When you are looking for a veterinarian, make sure you choose a animal doctor that makes you and your pet feel comfortable and safe, and is someone that you can trust. It is important that you also find a supportive, calm and caring environment that both you and your pet are comfortable with. Also, choosing a animal clinic that has additional in-house services can make your pet health care more convenient for you over time. As you look around for the best veterinariay service, we want to exceed your expectations regarding high quality service to you and your pet. We are committed to consistently, offering you quality pet health care combined with compassion and respect for animals. You can be confident knowing your pet is in good hands as we work closely with you to provide the best professional medical attention available.

Laser Therapy

Reduces Pain and Speeds Healing

Northgate Small Animal Hospital is excited to offer our clients Laser Therapy Services. Laser therapy provides a non-invasive, pain-free, surgery-free, drug-free treatment which is used to treat a variety of conditions and can be performed in conjunction with existing treatment protocols. Relief and/or improvement is often noticed within hours depending on the condition and your pet’s unique health status. Whether your pet is rehabilitating from trauma or injury, healing from wounds, or simply aging, your companion can benefit from this innovative approach to treating pain.

Applications for laser therapy include:

  • Laser therapy in CollinsvilleTreatment of arthritis, degenerative joint disease, or hip dysplasia
  • General pain management (sprains, strains, and stiffness)
  • Post-surgery pain (spays, neuters, declaws, and other surgeries)
  • Skin problems (hot spots, lick granulomas, infections)
  • Dental procedures
  • Fractures and wounds (bites, abrasions, burns, and lesions)
  • Ear infections
How does it work?

Find out about laser therapy at Northgate Small Animal HospitalLaser therapy stimulates the body to heal from within. Non-thermal photons of light are administered to the body for about 3 to 8 minutes and absorbed by the injured cells. The cells are then stimulated and respond with a higher rate of metabolism. This results in relief from pain, increased circulation, reduced inflammation, and an acceleration of the healing process.

What can my pet expect during a laser therapy treatment session?

Simply put, it provides relief. As the laser is administered, your pet will relax and enjoy the treatment. The almost immediate relief of pain will allow your pet to be comfortable and any anxiety that your pet initially experiences will dissipate.

Occasionally, angry cats will start to purr and dogs will actually fall asleep during their therapy session. Frequently, after therapy, we hear: “He’s acting like a puppy again” or “She can actually jump onto the chair again”. Pain relief is provided in just a few minutes of therapy and that alone improves the quality of life for your pet.

What are the signs that my pet can benefit from Companion Laser Therapy?

Many of our laser therapy patients are older animals with musculoskeletal ailments. Some signs that your senior companion is experiencing pain or discomfort are:

  • Abnormal sitting or lying posture
  • Circling multiple times before lying down
  • Restlessness
  • Whining, groaning or other vocalizations
  • Limping, unable to get up or lie down
  • Difficulty getting into car or down stairs
  • Lack of grooming
  • Won’t wag tail
  • Licking or biting area
  • Lack of appetite
  • Trembling

Contact our hospital today to schedule an appointment or obtain additional information.