The routine not so routine surgery…
Spay and neuter surgery are routine surgeries done daily here at Willow Pet Hospital. Although routine, it is still considered major surgery and taken very seriously. Spay surgery involves ligating or tying off some major blood vessels in the abdomen to remove the ovaries and uterus. This needs to be done carefully and methodically to avoid potentially life-threatening complications. Additionally, it is critical to keep the abdomen sterile or free from bacteria to avoid a potentially life-threatening infection of the abdomen.

Willow Pet Hospital takes every precaution to reduce risks during these surgeries to ensure your pet’s health and safety:
• Every veterinarian is trained and experienced in these surgeries as well as dealing with complications during and after surgery.
• Every veterinary technician involved with surgery has specialized training on procedures to ensure surgical and anesthetic safety.
• Willow Pet Hospital has a dedicated surgery suite separate from our treatment area to reduce contamination and risk of infection.
• Sterile surgical instruments are autoclaved after every use to eliminate all bacteria. This is the only method that ensures no bacteria is present on instruments being used inside the body.
• Doctors wear sterile gowns, gloves, caps and masks, and use sterilized drapes and gauze so everything that touches your pet is bacteria free.
• Patient surgical sites are shaved and prepared with antiseptics to ensure bacteria on your pet’s skin is not introduced into the body causing infection.

Pre-surgical blood work
At Willow Pet Hospital, every patient going under general anesthesia and having major surgery has pre-surgical blood work. Blood work includes a chemistry profile to evaluate kidney and liver values, blood glucose and blood protein values. Healthy kidneys and liver are important in metabolizing anesthetic drugs and maintaining blood pressure. Complications during surgery and after surgery can be avoided by this simple test.

The second test that is performed is called a complete blood cell count (CBC). This test evaluates the number of blood cells in circulation. This includes; white blood cells which are involved with inflammation and infection, red blood cells which carry oxygen throughout the body and platelets that are critical for clotting blood. It is important that we know that the patient has adequate red blood cells and platelets before major surgery. Uncontrolled bleeding can quickly become life threatening.

Clients often ask why a young pet needs bloodwork. There have been numerous circumstances where we have revealed unknown liver or kidney issues, infections, low red blood cells or low platelets that may have been life threatening if the surgery was performed.

Pain management
Every patient receives medication to reduce or control pain and anxiety before, during and after surgery. At Willow Pet Hospital, every patient goes home with medication to help control pain and anxiety. Dogs, especially, are very stoic pets and do not readily show overt symptoms of pain, even when they are extremely painful. Pets going through surgical procedures have the same level and type of pain that we would, and intervening with pain medication helps to reduce or eliminate suffering.

Elizabethan Collar or “E-Collar”
Every patient receives an E-collar after surgery at Willow Pet Hospital. Pets can quickly and easily cause significant self-trauma after surgery by licking or chewing on their incision sites. We want to make sure your pet is protected at home until the incision is healed.

Post-operative Care
Every patient has a 2 weeks post-surgical exam so our trained staff can evaluate incisions and ensure that they have healed appropriately. This post-surgical exam is included in the cost of the procedure, there is no additional exam fee associated with it. Willow Pet Hospital also offers 24-hour emergency doctor contact for our clients, after their pet has undergone a surgical procedure. This is so we can address any post-surgical complications that may arise outside of our normal business hours.