Surgery

A view of Dr. Peter Lugten performing a routine surgery on a pet in the operating room at Basic Pet Care.
As part of our commitment to excellence, Basic Pet Care Animal Hospital is inspected by and accredited by the New York State Veterinary Medical Society. Dr. Lugten has over 30 years experience performing general surgeries, and we work with a Board certified veterinary surgeon who will visit the hospital for specialized operations.

What to expect with your pet’s surgery

Pre-operative tests
Before undergoing general anesthesia, we recommend performing blood chemistry analysis and an electrocardiogram (EKG). If these are normal, we can be confident that there will not be complications from the anesthesia. If abnormal, we can change our plans to accommodate the problem. These tests can be waived by the owner in the case of young dogs or cats undergoing routine procedures, as long as the physical exam is normal. The tests are mandatory for pets over the age of five. They are performed “in-house”, and can be done at the time of admitting for surgery, or they can be done earlier. Certain breeds of dog should have a test for a hereditary bleeding tendency before preparation for surgery.

Surgical admission
In most cases, pets will be admitted for surgery between 8:30 and 9:00 am, although we may also admit for surgery the night before. Cats & dogs should have no food from 9:00pm the night before surgery, though they should continue to have access to water. At time of admission, the receptionist will explain about the recommendation for pre-surgical testing, and extended post-operative pain-killers. We will explain the estimate and answer any questions about the procedure. If, at this time, we detect fleas, we will need to treat for them and add that to the invoice. Young dogs being admitted for neutering will be checked for retained “baby” canine teeth. These should be carefully extracted while still under anesthetic, to prevent periodontal disease from forming around the adult canine teeth later. If we determine that females to be spayed are in estrus, or “heat”, we may proceed, but there may be a supplemental charge.

Stray cats may be admitted for neutering in the morning, or the night before if necessary. They must be brought here in a humane trap, so that we can access them with an injection of tranquilizer, from outside the trap. Stray cats do not get a pre-surgical exam, so we do not recommend this for tame “strays” that are intended to be brought in as house pets afterwards. Please bring a regular cat carrier and an old towel with you when you bring in trapped strays to be neutered. Post operation, we towel-wrap and place them in a cat carrier for recovery. Neutered strays usually go home that evening, but should be kept in a warm, safe place such as a garage until the next morning. Stray cats get a Rabies vaccine with their surgery (included) and flea treatment if fleas are found (not included). They also may be tested for leukemia and immunodeficiency virus if desired.

Anesthesia Administration & Monitoring
Once admitted, surgical patient are under the care and supervision of a licensed veterinary Technician (LVT), with years of experience giving & monitoring anesthesia, together with post-operative recovery. For most surgeries, the patient is given an intravenous catheter and placed on i/v fluids for the duration of surgery and post-operative recovery. For most surgeries, the patient is “induced” with an injection, then intubated and given Isoflurane with oxygen inhalation anesthesia. The anesthetic machine is inspected & serviced every year. The surgery table is electrically warmed to minimize excessive lowering of temperature. The LVT watches respirations and auscultates the heart. She also monitors the beeping of a Pulse Oximeter, which measures oxygen in the bloodstream, and frequently checks the blood pressure. She will carefully adjust the anesthetic level so that the patient wakes up as soon as possible after the operation. Post-operatively, the patient’s temperature may have fallen a few degrees, so the LVT is responsible for keeping the patient wrapped up and gradually warmed until the temperature returns to normal and the i/v fluids can be discontinued.

Pain-killers (Analgesics) and Extended Pain Relief
Our surgery patients are given injectible short-acting pain-killer at the time the anesthesia is administered. They also receive an injectible Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) drug to help with healing. We recommend for dogs to continue receiving a prescription of the NSAID for the next 5-10 days at home, sometimes with other analgesics, depending on the nature of the surgery. We also use our Therapeutic Laser unit on selected surgeries to promote pain relief and speed post-surgical wound healing. (See Therapeutic Laser)

Bandages and “Elizabethan” Collars
Some surgical wounds will need bandaging to prevent stress on the sutures or contamination of portions of the wound that could not be sutured. “E” collars may be needed for some dogs or cats to make sure they keep their bandages on or leave their sutures alone. In such cases, your pet will be discharged with detailed instructions on bandage care and use of the “E” collar. If you notice your pet is licking its sutures and we did NOT supply an “E” collar, please be sure to notify us as soon as possible so that one may be provided.

Patient Discharge
Depending on your pet’s operation, he or she may be ready to go home that evening, or we may recommend an overnight stay so that we can check them the next morning, and continue their medication or Laser treatment. If desired, owners may take their pet home the same evening but return first thing the next morning for the patient recheck. Medications, drains, bandages and collars are all explained at this time. With the exception of male cat neuters, most of our surgical patients will need to return for suture removal 10 days after surgery. Patients with bandages, drains or Laser treatments may need to return in 5 days or even sooner. These appointments should be scheduled at time of patient discharge.

Emergency surgery
Certain surgical situations are too urgent to wait until our next available surgery day. Some emergencies need to be stabilized and the go into surgery within hours. Usually, we will want to refer such patients to one of the local animal emergency centers, especially if specialized diagnostic imaging or surgical techniques are likely to be required. Dr. Lugten will sometimes perform emergency surgeries here at night, after appointments finish, if an LVT is on call to assist.

The closest emergency facilities that we usually refer to are:

  • New York Veterinary Specialty Center
    2233 Rte 110, Farmingdale, NY 11735 (631) 694-3400
    www.nyvsc.com
  • Veterinary Medical Center of L.I.
    75 Sunrise Hwy, West Islip, NY 11795 (631) 587-0800
    www.vmcli.com
  • Long Island Veterinary Specialists
    163 S. Service Rd., Plainview, NY 11803 (516) 501-1700
    www.livs.org
  • BrightHeart Veterinary Referral & Emergency Center
    609-5 Cantiague Rock Rd. Westbury NY 11590 (516) 420-0000
    www.VRECWestbury.com