I decided to create this series of articles to address the top questions I’ve been asked as a veterinary technician. I’m a CVDT (Certified Veterinary Dental Technician), have been in the field for over ten years and have noticed a trend in the most commonly asked questions by pet owners. The answers found in these articles will reflect how things have been done in my experience only; keep in mind that all veterinarians and veterinary hospitals have varying policies and techniques.
Many times pet owners are concerned about leaving their beloved furry friends in a pet hospital overnight after surgeries. Complex surgeries can often require that pets stay hospitalized for several days. Typically, even many routine surgeries require at least one night stay in the hospital. There are pet hospitals that have staff on duty all hours of the day or night, however even if this isn’t the case pets are safer the night of surgery when they remain in the hospital. We’ll talk about why this is the case in this article.
1. Potential Surgery Complications
When a pet has surgery there are, obviously complications that can occur albeit rare. The majority of surgery or anesthetic related complications happen within the first several hours after surgery. It is important for the pet to remain in the hospital, under the direct supervision of the veterinarian as long as possible for that first day. Even if your pet hospital is not an “emergency clinic” with round the clock staffing, keeping your pet in their care for the entire day does make a huge difference when it comes to your pet’s health and safety.
2. Early Morning Rechecks
When a pet is hospitalized, he or she is examined and medicated the first thing in the morning. In our hospital, we check the pet’s surgical incision to ensure everything appears to be intact with minimal swelling. We check the mucus membranes, or gums, and take note of the color and CRT, or capillary refill time. This gives us clues about any conditions such as shock or any internal bleeding that may be present. We also observe the pet overall to see if he or she seems to be feeling their best. Pain medication and any other medication are administered at this time as well as it is imperative that the pet receives these drugs for proper healing.
You may feel that you are capable of doing all of these things on your own at home but you might want to think about the benefits of having your pet with trained professionals that know about the subtle signs that could be a clue for more serious problems. Think about it; if something does happen or your pet is showing signs of complications, would you rather him already be in the hospital rather than having to take time to get a hold of the veterinarian and transport your pet there?
Many pet owners have an issue with leaving their pets confined. After your pet has surgery, you may be tempted to hold him or her in the efforts to provide comfort. During this recovery period it is actually possible to overdo it. Pets can sense when their owners are stressed and in turn can respond in the same manner. While many owners feel that the pet would be less stressed at home, in most cases it is actually the opposite.
In the hospital the pet is provided with an adequately sized cage or run with plenty of room to be comfortable. They are also given bedding, food, water and anything else they need. Owners are encouraged to bring a blanket, toy or other items if it helps them to feel better about leaving their pet overnight. Regardless, the pet is given everything it needs to remain comfortable and happy.
During the recovery period, pets must be confined. They need this quiet, secluded space as it is the only way they’ll actually get the rest they need to help expedite the healing process. At home, not only can the pet owner, family and other pets be tempted to allow the pet to do more than he should, but the pet may also cause more of a raucous to try to get back to his normal routine more quickly.
No one likes to leave their pets in the hospital overnight. For many, the house is just too quiet, or the bed too empty without them. However, consider all the benefits that come with making the choice that will help ensure the safety and health of your pet.