Be­hind the scenes at the vet

Wangaratta Chronicle - North East Regional Extra - - NEWS - with Dr A Kelle­her, VET­ERI­NAR­IAN

DUR­ING their life most pets have to un­dergo some sort of surgery at the vets. For young an­i­mals this can be when they are de­sexed and at other times surgery can be re­quired for many other pos­si­ble rea­sons such as tumour re­moval, den­tal work, ex­ploratory surgery, or­thopaedic pro­ce­dures - the list of pos­si­bil­i­ties is ex­ten­sive. When an an­i­mal un­der­goes surgery it needs to be fasted usu­ally overnight so that there is no risk of vom­it­ing when they are un­der the anaes­thetic or wak­ing up, oth­er­wise they could choke. Small pets such as guinea pigs and rab­bits have dif­fer­ent re­quire­ments for fast­ing but the clinic will give spe­cific in­struc­tions which should be fol­lowed. With day pro­ce­dures the an­i­mal is ad­mit­ted in the morn­ing and un­der­goes a health check by the Vet or Vet Nurse. At this stage a seda­tive is usu­ally ad­min­is­tered this may con­tain pain re­lief and it re­laxes the pa­tient be­fore surgery. Of­ten be­fore surgery blood tests may be per­formed to en­sure the pet has no ma­jor un­der­ly­ing health prob­lems that can’t be de­tected on a rou­tine phys­i­cal exam. If a full anaes­thetic is re­quired this is usu­ally given through an in­tra­venous catheter which can also be used to ad­min­is­ter flu­ids to the an­i­mal dur­ing the surgery. Once the an­i­mal is asleep a breath­ing tube is placed into their air­way and gaseous in­hala­tion anaes­the­sia is com­menced. Dur­ing this time the an­i­mal is con­stantly mon­i­tored by a vet nurse and specialised mon­i­tor­ing equip­ment to en­sure its heart rate, blood pres­sure and oxy­gen lev­els are main­tained, at this stage ev­ery ef­fort is made to keep the an­i­mal warm as anaes­thetised an­i­mals can quickly get cold. Af­ter the surgery is com­plete the an­i­mal is still mon­i­tored closely, kept warm and given pain re­lief, the an­i­mal usu­ally stays in hos­pi­tal un­til it is fully awake and as­sessed to be able to move around com­fort­ably, the surgery site is checked to if the an­i­mal may need an El­iz­a­bethan col­lar or ban­dages to stop it lick­ing or chew­ing the surgery site. We take the pet for a walk and try to get them to eat be­fore they go home.

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