Much like their human best friends, pets like dogs and cats often experience physical breakdowns as they age. This is especially true of their limbs, teeth, hips, stomachs, and spines. In fact, pet orthopedic surgery is said to be one of the most common medical procedures performed on aging dogs in the U.S. and abroad.
But what should you, as the pet’s caretaker keep in mind about pet surgery and the complications it can entail? According to a new report by Long Island Press, the news that your dog or cat needs surgery can fill you with anxiety. However, by posing the right questions you can make certain you pet receives the best surgical care possible.
Defining Diagnosis and Treatment
Says one Massapequa, Long Island veterinarian, you need to begin the process of pet surgery by having a clear understanding of the diagnosis and treatment. You will likely question whether or not the procedure is necessary, much like you would question a proposed surgical procedure on yourself. But keep in mind, many surgical procedures like orthopedic operations are necessary not only for relieving your pet’s chronic pain, but also to prolong his life.
The veterinarian goes on to say that growth removal dentistry, hip evaluation, brachycephalic needs, and more will undoubtedly improve a pet’s quality of life. Therefore, they should be a top priority for the pet’s owner.
Who Should Perform the Surgery?
You should do some research to make a solid determination as to who is the most qualified vet to perform the pet surgery. In terms of U.S. law, any licensed vet can perform surgery on a pet. But you need to ask yourself if they are the best person for the job.
The answer is a simple but important one. The best vet is a boarded surgeon who has been advised and experienced in procedures such as orthopedics, disc disease, and back surgery.
Since you will likely be paying out-of-pocket for potentially expensive surgery, you need to ask your vet directly about how many times they have performed the procedure your pet requires. They, in turn, need to provide you with a verifiable success rate.
If you’re considering a second opinion, you’re likely to have to pay for it. But you can work around this issue by visiting a facility that houses multiple doctors. They can provide second and even third opinions for little or no extra cost.
Before and After Care for Your Pet
Owners of pets requiring surgery will need to gain a clear understanding of the before and after care that will be required of both you and your recovering pet. Veterinarians advise that pet owners be made away of pre-surgery testing plus risks from anesthetics. They need to be aware of diagnosis and prognosis, plus post-surgery follow-up visits. You need to know if the follow-ups are included in the initial fee associated with the surgery.
You even should be made aware of the type of monitoring equipment that will be used during the surgery and if a licensed veterinary tech will be operating it. Make proper plans for overnight care if it’s required and also if the facility has a crash cart available in case of emergency.
Risks Associated with Pet Surgery
Just like with human patients, there will always be certain risks associated with surgical procedures. There’s no getting around them, no matter how knowledgeable the physician or high tech the equipment being utilized. But keep in mind, it’s the disease itself that poses the biggest threat to your pet.
You should also keep in mind that age is a big factor when it comes to pet surgery. However, with modern surgical techniques, and modern anesthetics, taken along with contemporary surgical equipment, the risks are likely to be minimal. If the surgery being proposed won’t cure or prolong the quality of life for your pet, then it should not be performed at all.
Costs Associated with Pet Surgery
Pet surgery is expensive. If the cost is of concern to the owner, they can seek out groups like Care Credit which is similar to using a line of credit in that it offers veterinarian care financing opportunities. But you should consider getting pet insurance from the very beginning of your pet’s life when they are puppies or kittens. This will come in handy in case of emergencies or bad accidents.
Vet procedures and medication are becoming much more sophisticated with each passing year. Therefore, the cost of care has gone up significantly. Pet owners will always want the best care for their four-legged loved ones. But all that love comes with significant cost.