At Animal Hospital at Auburn Hills, every patient anesthetized will have an IV (intravenous) catheter in place before, during & until your pet is well awake & recovered from the anesthesia. Intravenous catheters allow us to administer medications to your pet while keeping them more comfortable & give us instant access to a vein should an emergency arise during anesthesia – when every second counts. Fluids are also administered through the catheter to your pet during anesthesia (see below).
For many surgeries, we use absorbable sutures underneath the skin. These will dissolve & do not need to be removed later. Some surgeries do require skin sutures. With either type of suture, you will need to watch the incision site closely for swelling or discharge. Some dogs & cats will lick excessively or chew at the incision site, which is also something you will also need to monitor. If there are skin sutures, these will usually be removed at the post-operative visit 14 days after surgery. A few other things to keep in mind is that you will also need to limit your pet’s activity level as well as no bathing during the 14 days after surgery. The doctor will send at-home care instructions with you at the time of dismissal.
Pets may not show the same symptoms of pain as people do – they usually do not cry or whine – but you can be sure they feel it. Anything that causes pain in people can be expected to cause pain in animals. The pain medication your pet will need will depend on the surgery performed. Major procedures such as tumor removals require more pain relief than smaller procedures such as a minor laceration repair. We tailor pain medication protocols on a case-by-case basis.
While your pet is under anesthesia, it is often an ideal time to perform other procedures such as dentistry, ear cleaning, or implanting an identification microchip. If you would like a treatment plan for these extra services, please call ahead of time. This is especially important if the person dropping the pet off for surgery is not the primary decision maker for the pet’s care.
Your veterinarian will give your pet a thorough physical examination the morning of the procedure to make sure your pet is healthy enough for the surgery & anesthesia. Remember, pets cannot tell us if they do not feel well. A physical examination is our first defense against performing surgery on an animal that could be ill, have an infectious disease, a heart murmur or could be debilitated from parasites.
All patients anesthetized will have bloodwork beforehand. All pets – not just the old or sick – should have a basic pre-anesthetic blood test to reduce risk and increase safety. A healthy-appearing pet may be hiding symptoms of a disease or ailment, & bloodwork can detect abnormalities that could affect anesthesia – even in pets younger than one year of age. We check a complete blood count (CBC), electrolytes, blood sugar, and liver and kidney values. If the bloodwork is normal, we can proceed with confidence knowing the anesthetic risk is minimized. These tests also provide a baseline for your pet if it becomes sick in the future.
No single anesthetic agent is best for all patients – there is no “one size fits all.” Factors such as the patient’s age, breed, & health determine which anesthetic protocol is most ideal. We also use the pre-anesthetic examination, blood work, & the type of procedure to select the best anesthetic for each patient. All patients receiving a general anesthetic will have a breathing (endotracheal) tube placed in order to keep the airway open & allow for supplemental oxygen or gas anesthesia as needed.
Believe it or not, there are practices that use the same surgical pack on more than one patient. Some practices soak their instruments in a disinfectant solution rather than sterilize them in an autoclave. At Animal Hospital at Auburn Hills, each surgical patient has an autoclave-steam-sterilized surgical pack.
Although most assume that all surgeons wear a sterile gown & gloves & wear a cap & mask for surgery, that is not the case. At Animal Hospital at Auburn Hills the answer is yes. It does increase our surgical costs to use complete surgical attire, but not doing so increases the risks of infection to the patient.
We use only the safest available anesthetics to provide an extra margin of safety, especially important for our older or high-risk patients. Our anesthetic protocols are geared toward patient safety and patient comfort. All anesthetized patients are monitored by a veterinary technician from the moment of induction until they are fully awake and recovered. Using the most modern equipment, we monitor each surgery patient’s heart and respiratory rates, blood pressure, EKG, body temperature and arterial oxygen levels (using pulse oximeters).
Every form of anesthesia tends to lower blood pressure & that can be harmful to the body & organ function. IV fluids help to maintain blood pressure. At Animal Hospital at Auburn Hills, your pet will receive IV fluids using a specialized fluid pump that allows us to deliver precise amounts & change the rate as needed.
At Animal Hospital at Auburn Hills, your pet’s vital signs will be monitored by a trained veterinary technician & an electronic patient monitor throughout the entire procedure. The patient monitor will be attached to your pet and will continuously measure heart rate, ECG, respiratory rate, body temperature, the amount of oxygen in the blood (pulse oximetry), & blood pressure. The most important monitoring tool we have is a trained veterinary technician dedicated exclusively to your pet while anesthetized. This individual is very “hands on” & will be assessing your pet’s heart rate, respiratory rate, gum color, & depth of anesthesia with her hands, ears, & eyes – not just relying on the monitor. Vitals are charted on paper every few minutes.
All pets, especially cats & smaller dogs, lose a lot of body heat while anesthetized. The resulting hypothermia can cause a life-threatening slowing of the heart & can also slow the anesthetic recovery. For this reason warmth should be provided & body temperature should be monitored regularly during & after anesthesia.
At Animal Hospital at Auburn Hills, in addition to monitoring your pet’s body temperature, we use a heated surgical table, a Bair Hugger warming unit (which forces warmed air into a channeled blanket that is placed around the patient), & thick towels in order to keep your pet warm & cozy during the procedure. This keeps the temperature up during & after surgery & provides a smoother, safer and more comfortable recovery.
At Animal Hospital at Auburn Hills, a trained technician is dedicated exclusively to carefully monitoring your pet from the moment anesthesia is induced until your pet is recovered and awake.
There are significant differences in anesthesia & pain control techniques among veterinarians. Studies show that pain control is much more effective if begun ahead of the procedure. At Animal Hospital at Auburn Hills, a specific combination of pre-medications selected for your pet will be administered in order to alleviate discomfort or stress & will also reduce the amount of anesthesia necessary for your pet – a huge safety benefit. Since anesthesia doesn’t control pain once the pet wakes up, we administer a variety of additional medications to relieve post-operative pain.
At Animal Hospital at Auburn Hills, a doctor or technician will go through detailed instructions with you at dismissal. Most surgical patients are seen 10-14 days after their surgery (at no cost to you) to examine the surgical site & to address any concerns you may have.
If you are finding an extreme price difference between two veterinarians there is usually a reason for the difference. You need to be aware of what services are included in the cost of a procedure. Many veterinarians don’t include services such as pain medication, pre-anesthetic blood work, balanced pre-surgery medications, intravenous catheters, fluids during anesthesia, & monitoring during & after the procedure into the general cost of the surgery.
While cost is obviously a concern for the majority of pet owners, price shopping is not always the safest thing for your pet when it comes to surgical procedures.
We currently offer medical boarding to our established clients whose pet has medical conditions such as the following: seizures, heart conditions, and diabetes. We do ask that you book your reservation 30 days in advance in order for us to schedule our pet care staff accordingly. To learn more about this service, please visit our medical boarding page.
Yes. Patients are seen by appointment. It almost eliminates any waiting, reduces conflicts between patients, & allows your pet the time to get the care they need.
Business Hours at Animal Hospital at Auburn Hills are:
8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday – Friday
8 to 11 a.m. Saturdays
On the days we’re open until 5:30 pm, we stay open over the lunch hour too. (We understand those lunch-hour errands!)
We recommend that you call the Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Hospital of Wichita at 316-262-5321. Their hospital is open 24/7 & their doctors will communicate with us as soon as we open again.
Usually, no. We are a computerized, paperless practice on a network in our hospital. We are happy to input your pet’s medical information from you through our online appointment request form, over the phone or in person without the need to fill out papers. Paperwork is only necessary for authorizations that require a signature, such as an anesthesia authorization.
It is very important to keep a detailed record of any medical procedures, vaccines, reactions or radiographs your pet has received. We will scan in any files provided to us either by your family or your pet’s previous veterinary care facility. History can be emailed to us at [email protected]
We accept cash, Visa, Mastercard, Discover, American Express & CareCredit. Sorry, but we do not accept checks.
Our dog kennels are climate-controlled indoor runs, protecting them from the elements. Dogs are walked outside three times daily while boarding. Cats are housed in cages away from the dog runs.
We recommend spaying or neutering cats and dogs when they are about 6 months old. Prior to surgery, we examine your pet to make sure they are healthy enough to undergo the surgical procedure. Vaccines must be current and a pre-anesthetic blood screen needs to be performed at least 24 hours before the procedure.
This is a blood test that assesses organ functions, blood counts and clotting function of your pet. The pre-anesthetic blood screen is performed to minimize risks associated with anesthesia & surgery. For more information about safety & what is involved in our anesthetic procedures, see What You Need to Know Before Your Pet is Anesthetized.
No. There is no advantage for your pet to have a litter but there are advantages to spaying or neutering.
For females: decreased risk for breast tumors, cystic ovaries and uterine infections later in life.
For males: decreased desire to roam the neighborhood, decreased incidence of prostate disease & helps prevent spraying or marking behaviors.
If the sutures are non-absorbable, they are usually removed two weeks after surgery.
1) Pre-anesthetic blood testing
Even apparently healthy animals can have serious organ-system problems that cannot be detected without blood testing. Blood testing needs to be performed prior to the day of the procedure to ensure that the liver & kidneys can handle the anesthetic & to look for other serious problems such as anemia. It is better to find a problem before it causes anesthetic or surgical complications. If serious problems are detected, surgery will be postponed until the problem is corrected.
For geriatric or ill pets, additional blood tests, electrocardiograms, or x-rays may be required before surgery as well.
2) Confirm surgery
We will email & call you the afternoon before your scheduled surgery appointment, to confirm the time you will be bringing your pet & to answer any questions you might have.
3) Withhold food after 7 p.m. the night before.
It is important that your pet arrives on an empty stomach to reduce the risk of vomiting during & after anesthesia. Water can be left down for the pet until the morning of surgery.
1) Patient check-in
Surgery check-in is between 7:30 and 7:45 a.m. on Tuesdays & Fridays. When you bring your pet in for surgery, we will spend 5 to 10 minutes to address any concerns, answer your questions, walk-through the procedures & treatment plans & get necessary signatures.
2) Phone call(s)
Dr. Gary Stamps, Dr. Sarah Dugan, or a veterinary technician will call when your pet’s procedure is finished & your pet is fully awake. Sometimes Dr. Stamps or Dr. Dugan will call during a procedure when additional permissions are needed, such as after a dental x-ray reveals cavities that need to be extracted.
When you pick up your pet after surgery, plan to spend 10 to 15 minutes to go over your pet’s home care needs.