Animal Anesthesia and Surgery Information

Animal Anesthesia and Surgery Information 2017-07-03T16:00:29-07:00

Scheduling and General Information

Typically we schedule surgeries on Wednesday and Thursday mornings. If the owner wants an estimate (not a quote) of costs we can provide that prior to the appointment. Should the owner have any questions after the procedure, hopefully we can address this before the weekend and before it turns into an emergency visit. We have found that most owners are available these days to bring their pets here. The following are the major guidelines we require:

  • We ask that animals (notable exceptions are very young animals, exotic, and/or if we have given specific instructions) are not fed after 10pm the night prior.
  • Do not withhold water.
  • Dogs need to be walked before you arrive to relieve themselves so that they don’t soil themselves during the anesthetic.
  • Your appointment will be confirmed the day before. If you choose to cancel please give us a minimum of 24 hours notice.
  • All animals need to arrive either on a leash or in a carrier for their safety and ours.
  • Animals need to arrive between 8 and 8:15am for us to have the entire day to accomplish what has been discussed and to do it safely. Arriving late jeopardizes our ability to get the work done safely and hence we may opt to reschedule.
  • At check in there will be paperwork to fill out. It is essential that you allow enough time to fill out the paperwork thoughtfully and correctly as we cannot proceed without it. The staff is trained to go over this with you should you have any questions. The paperwork will likely include the pre-anesthetic form and estimate. Our estimates include both a low and high price as we are working with living animals and some things cannot be predicted. This is our best and most educated guess for the final cost. Remember we give estimates, NOT quotes.
  • At check-in it is important that if there are extra things you want done under this anesthetic (nail trim, anal glands, x-rays, ears plucked etc.) you need to instruct us on the pre-anesthetic form. Verbal authorization is not adequate in most situations.
  • We call owners sometimes during procedures for instructions, permission, clarity, or questions, so when filling out paperwork please give us a contact number where we can reach you during the day.
  • We often are requested to call after the anesthetic or procedure takes place. We call after the animal wakes up sufficiently. We are not able to predict the exact time.
  • Spays are hospitalized one night as we have noticed their full recovery is smoother and healing is started by the time of discharge the next day. Please know there is no one here at night.
  • Neuters, dentals, most mass removals, ear plucks and other brief procedures often go home the same day. If needed we will schedule a discharge appointment with you to go over the day’s events or results.
  • Check-out generally proceeds as follows: discuss home care and provide results, bill payment, and then animal discharge. Please allow time at discharge for us to discuss everything with you thoroughly. It is important that you understand what to do at home.
  • Should you need to make payments, please know our clinic takes Care Credit. Please ask for a brochure or search for them online, however, please have this done before your animal arrives.

Anesthetic Information

Veterinary medicine is a science, and part of science is the knowledge that the future is not able to be forecast with 100-percent accuracy. By doing the work up prior and doing it thoroughly, however, we have the best chance of not running into problems and having a positive outcome. It is important to know that not everything works out how we would like, and to that point sometimes procedures do not go the way we anticipate.

An anesthetic means we are using medication to make the animal sleepy/unconscious, relax the muscles, and provide multimodal pain relief. There are many levels of anesthetic, the lighter being sedation and the deepest being death. Thankfully, the vast majority of the time we are able to control the anesthetic depth, however, the health of your animal plays a vital role in anesthetic safety. The medications used today are safer and better studied than medications used years ago, but no medication is perfect or perfectly safe. Therefore we use clinical techniques to determine the health of your pet prior to anesthetic and/or surgery.

  • First, we need you to watch what your animal does the day before admitting, and if anything is out of the ordinary, report it to us. Specifically, monitoring eating, drinking, pooping, and peeing to make sure all seems normal. If anything indicating sickness is occurring (vomiting, diarrhea, coughing, sneezing, lethargy, etc.) please report it to us.
  • Second, we conduct a multi-layer clinical exam: one in which several people contribute, including the doctor and assistants. This way there are more eyes on your animal to determine health prior to the procedure.
  • Third, blood work with or without x-rays. At Astoria Animal Hospital we use the term “age related” blood work and what that means is different ages of animals may have different requirements to determine anesthetic safety. For example, for young dogs, often the “minimum database” serves as a good health survey. The minimum database is defined as a CBC, biochemistry, and urinalysis. For older animals, however, we may recommend testing for thyroid levels, checking for the presence of heart worms, and/or (in cats) viral testing. It all depends on the animal, its lifestyle, its travel history, and our overall knowledge of its general health.

After the exams and lab work are completed (which can take up to several hours) we then we give premeds which include two forms of pain relief, antibiotics, and initial sedation. It takes approximately 30 minutes for this medication to take effect. After this time, we use an intramuscular or intravascular injection to quickly induce anesthesia. This is generally a very short-acting medication which gives us just enough time to place an endotracheal tube into the trachea (wind pipe). This tube delivers both oxygen and anesthetic gas to maintain the animal during the procedure.

After the anesthetic or surgery, we wake them up slowly. They are placed in a pre-warmed bed and positioned so they can wake up in comfort. During this post anesthetic period they are being monitored and their vitals are being taken to make sure they are ok.

Generally we don’t call owners until they are able to hold their head up and clear signs of regaining consciousness are present. Once they are awake enough to eat, they are offered food and water. This clinic does not feed a lot right away, but if they are hungry they are allowed and encouraged to eat. Generally a staff member will call you once all of this has occurred to let you know the status of your animal. During this call we will often be able to let you know when your animal will likely be ready to go home.

At check-out a member of staff will be going over your take-home instructions in addition to checking you out financially. Please note our clinic does not have a billing department and therefore we don’t do any billing. Should you need to make payments, know our clinic takes Care Credit—please ask for a brochure or search for them online, however, please have this done before you bring your animal to us.

If you have questions please feel free to call us at 503-325-1581 or email us at