Within Animal Trust, we have skilled Veterinary Surgeons able to carry out a range of surgeries.
All of our surgeons can perform routine procedures such as neuters and mass removals, with some more advanced or specialist surgeons performing complex procedures such as BOAS airway surgery, ophthalmic (pet eye care) surgery, fracture repairs and pet orthopaedic surgery. Some of these surgeries may only be available at specific branches of Animal Trust.
All our surgery is carried out in our designated operating theatres, with strict surgical hygiene procedures in place. Animals under general anaesthetic are closely monitored by our Registered Veterinary Nurses and multi-parameter monitors. These monitor the oxygen saturation of the blood, heart rate, ECG and blood pressure.
We have anaesthetic protocols in place to suit a range of patients, from fit, healthy patients, and very young animals, through to elderly or unwell animals. Every case is assessed to provide the most appropriate protocol for the individual animal.
What is pet surgery?
Pet surgery is any operation or surgical intervention performed on animals by a veterinary surgeon to improve your pet’s health.
Broadly speaking, veterinary medicine and veterinary surgery falls into three main categories: soft tissue procedures (skin, body cavities and organs), orthopaedics (bones, joints and muscles) and neurosurgery (nervous system – e.g. brain and spinal cord).
Within Animal Trust, we have skilled Veterinary Surgeons able to carry out a range of surgeries. All of our surgical team can perform routine surgeries such as neuters and mass removals, with some more specialised surgeons performing complex surgical procedures such as BOAS airway surgery, ophthalmic (pet eye care) surgery, fracture repairs and pet orthopaedic surgery. Some of these surgeries may only be available at specific Animal Trust veterinary practices.
All of our surgery is carried out in our designated operating theatres, with strict surgical hygiene procedures in place. Animals under anaesthetic are closely monitored by our Registered Veterinary Nurses and multi-parameter monitors. We have anaesthetic protocols in place to suit a range of patients – from fit, healthy patients and very young animals, through to elderly or unwell patients. Every case is assessed to provide the most appropriate protocol for the individual animal.
Types of pet surgery
Types of pet surgery including routine procedures and complex procedures:
- Elective Procedures – such as spaying or castration of cats, dogs and rabbits
- Dental Surgery– extraction of abnormal, damaged or diseased teeth, or removal of oral masses
- Ophthalmic Surgery – such as correction of eyelid defects, treatment of eye ulcers
- Orthopaedic Surgery – including cruciate ligament rupture repair, fracture repairs
- Wound Care – following injury, abscesses or extensive mass removal
- Soft Tissue Procedures – including ENT surgery such as ear canal ablation, BOAS surgery; abdominal surgery such as removal of mineral stones from the bladder, or intestinal obstructions
- Tumour and Growth Removal Procedures – from the skin or internal organs
Emergency vet procedures
Emergency procedures commonly carried out at Animal Trust include:
- Caesarian sections
- Removal of bleeding abdominal tumours
- Gastrointestinal surgery – for intestinal blockages, foreign objects, twisted stomach (GDV)
- Cystotomy/ urethrostomy for animals that cannot pass urine
- Exploratory laparotomy – for animals with signs of infection of the abdominal cavity or possible tumours.
- Surgery for traumatic injuries – wounds, penetrating objects such as sticks.
- Fracture repairs
An emergency procedure can be performed at the local veterinary surgery in many circumstances. Depending on the surgery required, surgeon availability, time of day and facilities in your local clinic, transfer to one of our specialist surgeons or 24-hour hospitals may be required, either for the surgery or for the recovery following surgery and inpatient vet care. This may be via our pet ambulance, if available, or owners may be asked to transport their own pet if they are well enough.
Some procedures may be carried out overnight by our night teams, depending on the urgency of the surgery required or in a vet emergency. For more information, read our blog on when to visit an emergency vet.
What to expect on the day of your pet’s surgery
The day before surgery, pets will need to have food withheld from around 10 pm and overnight so that they are not sick under anaesthetic. If your pet has a specific health reason not to be starved (young animals, rabbits, diabetic patients), then you will be advised accordingly.
On the day of the pet’s surgery, they will be admitted in the morning so that they can have a health check and any pre-anaesthetic blood tests prior to their operation. This is to ensure that they are well enough to be given certain medications and undergo a general anaesthetic.
If your pet seems unwell leading up to the day of their surgery, it is important that we are made aware of this in case it alters the safety of an anaesthetic or surgical procedure.
If your pet has had reactions to food or medication in the past, it is important to let us know.
During the surgical procedure
Our nurses (routine procedures) and vets (more complex or non-routine procedures) will usually admit all-day patients between 8am and 9am (this can differ from surgery to surgery), We will need to go through the procedure details, answer any questions, make sure we have accurate, up-to-date contact information and ensure that the client has read, understood, and signed the consent forms for surgery.
It is difficult for us to give you a precise time for the pet’s surgery. This will depend on the type of surgery the pet is having and what other procedures or emergencies are in that day. Some procedures are classed as contaminated, such as dental procedures or infected wounds. These need to be carried out after the cleaner procedures to avoid the risk of contamination.
In some clinics, we have surgeons operating throughout the day. It may be that if your pet has late or complex surgery, we will keep them in overnight or until late evening, to ensure they are fully recovered before they go home. This will not incur any additional costs.
We will contact owners once the patient is in recovery, or if we have any concerns. Pets will be offered food on recovery and dogs are taken out to toilet, if appropriate.
In most cases, we will arrange a discharge appointment later the same day for the pet to go home. At this point, we will go through the post-operation details, including medication, exercise, feeding and post-operative checkups. It is important to attend these follow up checks, even if the pet seems fine, to ensure that the recovery goes smoothly.
Post operative care at Animal Trust
Post-operative care for pet owners
Your pet will be given discharge instructions detailing the aftercare relating to their specific procedure. Following these instructions is really important to make sure that your pet doesn’t:
- injure itself
- have too much or too little medication
- have avoidable complications
- damage its wound or sutures
Animals with bandages need to have them carefully monitored to avoid them rubbing, becoming wet or dirty and leading to complications. Your vet team will give advice on how best to manage post-operative care for your pet’s bandages at discharge.
Owners should monitor any surgical wounds for pain, heat, swelling, redness or discharge that may indicate a problem. You should contact your local Animal Trust clinic if you have any concerns.
In general, pets will be sent home with pain relief and a buster collar to prevent licking their wound. Licking stitches can cause infection at the wound site and in some cases, opening up of the wound.
In the first 24 hours post-surgery, pets may be tired and a little subdued following the anaesthetic, we recommend keeping them warm and offering small, tempting meals during this time. Pets will need to be kept quiet for the first 10 days following surgery to reduce the chances of tearing their stitches.
Post-operative vet checkups
Post op care procedures will differ depending on the pet and the care carried out. Soft tissue surgery cases (neuters, abdominal surgery, mass removals) require a post-surgical check around 3 and 10 days following surgery. For routine procedures, this may be carried out as a phone consultation with one of our registered veterinary nurses. More complex procedures may have an in-person consultation with a nurse or vet. Many of our surgeries use absorbable stitches in the skin which do not require removal. Some operations require non-absorbable stitches in the skin, which will need to be removed after 10-14 days (depending on the procedure).
Orthopaedic surgery cases often need strict rest for the first 8 weeks, sometimes in a crate. Pets will usually be seen by a nurse or vet for a checkup at 2-3 days, 2 and 8 weeks post-surgery. Follow-up X-rays may be advised at the 8-week stage to confirm healing before pets can start to increase their exercise. The details of post-operation checks, exercise and physiotherapy will depend on the procedure carried out and will be explained in the post-operation instructions you’re given.
Potential pet surgery complications
Any major surgery and all surgical procedures unfortunately have the potential for complications. These complications are dependent on the specific procedure but can potentially include (not limited to):
- Swelling of the surgical site
- Suture reaction
- Wound breakdown
- Anaesthetic risks (including allergic reaction and death)
The possible complications relating to a pet’s particular procedure will be discussed at the admission appointment and/or during the initial veterinary consultation.
Complications can be serious and the financial and time cost of treating them can be high. At Animal Trust, it is our philosophy to help clients with the veterinary costs of treating a surgical complication over £100 when:
- The complication is directly related to the initial surgery
- Or the complication happens shortly after surgery
- Or when our advice has been followed and the initial treatment was paid in full at the time of treatment
This help with complications is entirely at our discretion. the decision of the vet surgeon and surgical team is final and only applies to treatment at Animal Trust. Further information on our help with complications policy is available in the practice.
Pet surgery prices and aftercare
As a not for profit vet company, we believe good veterinary medicine and pet healthcare should be accessible to all. That’s why our vet surgery prices are transparent and as affordable as possible. If you’re unsure about affordability or want more information on a specific general surgery service, please get in touch with your local Animal Trust surgery.
Because we know the period after surgical treatment can be stressful for you and your pet, we offer guidance and advice on how to look after your pet after general surgery. Our Pet Care Advice section offers vet-approved information and recommendations on a range of veterinary care topics and is a great resource for pet owners.