Veterinary Eye Center, PLLC

3908A Far West Blvd
Austin, TX 78731


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.  It also explains the decisions you will need to make before your pet's upcoming surgery.

Are the anesthetics safe?

Today's modern anesthetic monitors have made surgery much safer than in the past.  Here at Veterinary Eye Center, 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.  We also adjust the amount and type of anesthetic used depending on the health of your pet.  We utilize the safest available anesthetics to provide an extra margin of safety, especially for our older or high-risk patients. 

Pre-anesthetic blood testing is important in reducing the risk of anesthesia.  Every pet needs blood testing before surgery 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.  Animals that have minor dysfunctions will handle the anesthetic better if they receive IV fluids during surgery.  If serious problems are detected, surgery can be postponed until the problem is corrected.  In these cases, we may recommend additional tests or referral to another specialist.  We can also bring in a veterinary anesthesiology specialist for the highest risk patients.

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 after 10 pm on the night before surgery.  Water can be left available for the pet until the morning of surgery.

During anesthesia, we use the most modern equipment available to monitor the patient's vital signs (blood pressure, exhaled carbon diode, oxygenation, ECG, heart rate, respiration rate, etc).  A dedicated veterinary anesthetist watches over each patient throughout all anesthetic procedures.  The technical staff at Veterinary Eye Center have veterinary anesthesia training and experience.  We spare no expense to provide the highest quality anesthesia available in private referral practice.

Will my pet have stitches?

For many surgeries, we use absorbable sutures on the eyes.  These will dissolve on their own, and do not need to be removed later.  Some surgeries may require skin stitches.  With either type of suture, you will need to keep an eye on the skin incision for redness, swelling or discharge.  If there are skin sutures, these will usually be removed 14 days after surgery.  You may also need to limit your pet's activity level for a time and no baths are allowed for the first 14 days after surgery.

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.  Major procedures like enucleation (eye removal) surgery require more pain relief than things like minor eyelid procedures.

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.

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.  We administer a pain injection 20 minutes prior to surgery.  After surgery, pain medication is given on a case by case basis.  Any animal that appears painful will receive additional pain medication.

We use injectable and oral pain medications to keep animals comfortable after all surgical procedures.  Providing whatever pain relief is appropriate is a humane and caring thing to do for your pet.

What other decisions do I need to make?

Some animals have conditions where the surgery can be scheduled for convenience while others may need surgery on an emergency basis.

When you bring your pet in for surgery, we will need to 5 to 10 minutes of time to fill out paperwork.  When you pick up your pet after surgery you can also plan to spend about 20 minutes to go over your pet's home care needs.

In animals undergoing cataract surgery, we will discuss the placement of intraocular lenses with you.

Please don't hesitate to call us with any questions about your pet's health or surgery!