Advantages of Laser Surgery

The CO2 Laser can replace the scalpel for most surgeries ranging from simple mass removals, spays and neuters, to amputations, abdominal surgery and large mass removals. The laser is especially advantageous in highly vascular parts of the animal such as around the face, the ears, and the genital area.

  1. LESS PAIN
  2. Little/No Bleeding
  3. Little/No Swelling
  4. Less Infection (sterilizing effects of laser)
  5. MUCH FASTER RECOVERY

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Because of these advantages, animals who have had laser surgery wake up more comfortable. They do not lick, scratch, or scoot on their incisions.

Therefore, the patient has a much faster, much more comfortable recovery from surgery!

Frequently Asked Questions AFTER Surgery

How long before my pet acts normal after surgery?

  • The average, young, healthy pet will take about 30 minutes to 1 hour to try to walk. When they begin walking, they will not have good control of their legs, so they will stumble a little for another 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  • During this time, keep your pet from getting injured by keeping them on a soft blanket on the floor or in a crate. Sit with them and reassure them that everything is ok.
  • Do NOT leave them alone on a bed, on a couch or near stairs from which they might fall.
  • Older pets or pets with metabolic issues will take longer to metabolize the anesthesia and may take several hours to get moving in a coordinated fashion.
  • All pets should be back to normal mobility by the next morning.

Why is my dog panting, whimpering, or restless?

Your pet received a narcotic just before, during or just after surgery. Some side effects of narcotics and anesthesia medications can last for several hours after surgery.

  • Drugs like morphine can cause animals to pant.
  • Anesthetics can cause pets to be “drunk”. Some pets get anxious that the “room is spinning with pink elephants”. Anxious pets tend to whimper and be restless.
  • Sit with them and reassure them that everything is ok.
  • Hugging them or wrapping them in blankets or towels can help them feel more secure.
  • This usually only lasts an hour or two after the procedure is complete.

Is it okay for my pet to lick the incision?

  • NO. No amount of licking is okay.
  • If a dog licks the incision, the healing process may be delayed.
  • Licking can remove stitches and cause the incision to open
  • Licking can become a severe habit that is difficult to break
  • Licking can cause infection as the mouth has many bacteria
  • Pets frequently lick the incision when the owner is not watching such as at night time; if the skin looks red or excoriated your pet is licking.

To stop your pet from licking try the following:

  • Elizabethan collar can be placed on the neck
  • Cervical collars or inflatable collars are a less awkward because they lay flat around the neck and prevent the pet from bending their neck around towards the incision.
  • A tee shirt can be used to cover an incision on the chest or front part of the abdomen; gather the waist of the shirt up over the dog’s back with a knot or rubber band.
  • A bandage or sock can be used to cover an incision on a limb; fasten the top of the sock to the dog’s limb with tape. Make sure the tape is not tight around the animal’s leg (We do not want to cut off blood supply.)
  • Bitter liquids can be applied around the incision; do NOT get the liquid on the incision itself.

What can I do to control my dog’s pain?

  • Call or email us to help you with this.
  • Narcotic medications that control pain: tramadol, butorphanol, gabapentin, etc
  • Anti-inflammatories used to control pain: Deramaxx, Rimadyl, Previcox, or Etogesic
  • Please do NOT give human medications (OTC Ibuprofen, Tylenol or human prescription medications) because many of these are TOXIC to animals.
  • If there is any swelling around the surgery site, cold packing may be helpful
    • A cold pack may be a pack of frozen peas, crushed ice in a Ziploc bag, or a cold gel pack; place a thin barrier between the skin and the cold pack. Cooling the surgical site helps to numb the area.

What can be done for pain at home for my cat?

  • Call or email us to help you with this.
  • Pain medications such as tramadol, buprenorphine or gabapentin
  • Please do NOT give human medications (OTC Ibuprofen, Tylenol or human prescription medications) because many of these are TOXIC to animals.
  • One Tylenol can kill a cat as they lack abundant glutathione enzyme in the liver
  • Anti-inflammatories can be used, but the dose is much less than dogs

My pet had surgery and will not eat. What can be done?

  • Please wait until your pet can walk a straight line before offering them food, so that any anesthesia dizziness won’t cause vomiting.
  • Dogs
    • Some pets will not eat their regular dog food after surgery, especially if it is kibble.
    • Offer a cooked diet having a 1:1 ratio of a protein source and carbohydrate source. The protein source can be any meat (example: chicken breast, turkey breast, lean hamburger) that is low in fat and should be boiled (drain off all fat after the meat has been cooked). The carbohydrate can be pasta or white rice.
    • Try low fat cottage cheese.
    • Try canned dog food; to enhance the flavor sprinkle a very small amount of garlic powder or chicken or beef broth (Chicken-in-a- MugTM or Beef-in-a-MugTM products)
    • Try Gerber strained meats for babies such as the chicken, beef, turkey, or veal
    • Try Hill’s A/D diet available at most veterinary hospitals
    • Hand feeding: place a small amount of food in the mouth so that your dog gets the flavor
    • Warm the food slightly in a microwave, as the food will be more aromatic; stir the food before feeding and test the temperature on the bottom side of your wrist; it should only be luke warm.
    • Remember that many pets may not eat the first day or two after they get home from surgery
  • Cats
    • Offer smelly foods that contain fish such as tuna or smelly cat foods
    • Try Gerber strained meats for babies such as the chicken, beef, turkey or veal
    • Hand feeding: with your finger place a small amount of food on the roof of your cat’s mouth; use a syringe to get soft food into the mouth
    • Warm the food slightly in a microwave as the food will be more aromatic; remember to stir the food before feeding and test the temperature; it should be only luke-warm
    • Some cats will only eat dry food, try kibble if your cat normally has been fed that food
    • Petting and stroking your cat frequently will help to stimulate appetite
    • Remember that many pets may not eat the first day after they get home from surgery
    • Appetite stimulants such as Mirtazapine may be helpful
    • If your cat refuses to eat anything for 36-48 hours, we need to perform bloodwork and give some fluids under the skin.
    • If your cat refuses to eat anything for 7 days, a stomach tube or nasogastric tube should be placed to provide nutrition so that a serious liver problem (hepatic lipidosis) does not develop

My pet is vomiting. What can be done?

  • The first thing for you to discern is whether your pet is vomiting or regurgitating. Both will result in fluid or food being brought up. Vomiting always will have heaving or retching of the abdomen prior to expulsion of the vomitus. Regurgitation is not associated with heaving and the pet usually just opens the mouth and fluid or food will fall out. Usually the regurgitated material will be clear or brown colored fluid.
  • Next is to identify the cause of the vomiting or regurgitation.
  • Causes and treatment of vomiting after surgery
    • When some pets recovery from a surgical procedure they may drink excessive amounts of water at one time and then vomit; if this appears to be the case, the water should be limited to frequent smaller amounts.
    • Medications such as antibiotics, narcotics or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications commonly cause vomiting after surgery. In order to see which medication is causing the problem, the administration of each drug should be separated 2 hours apart. Usually the pet will vomit or appear nauseated (drooling and sick look) within 1 hour of administration of the offending medication. The antibiotic in some cases may be changed to a different one, or may be discontinued.
    • Stomach upset from anesthesia is a potential cause of vomiting and will pass within a couple of days.
    • An uncommon cause of vomiting after surgery is internal organ failure. Blood testing will confirm this problem. For this reason vomiting should not be ignored if it persists for more than 24 hours.
    • If your pet had surgery of the bowels or stomach, vomiting is always a concern, as it may indicate that infection of the abdominal cavity, called peritonitis, is present. Do not ignore this sign.
    • Symptomatic treatment of vomiting involves withholding food for 12 to 24 hours, then introducing small amounts of bland food such as rice and lean boiled chicken, if your pet does not vomit after that, then gradually wean him/her back onto the regular diet after 3 days. In order to decrease the acidity of the stomach, generic Famotidine (Pepcid AC 10mg tablets) can be given by mouth at 2.5mg (1/4 tablet) for every 10 pounds twice daily for 5 days. Metoclopramide and Cerenia are good anti-vomiting medications for dogs and cats. You should always consult a veterinary healthcare professional before administering medication.
  • Causes and treatment of regurgitation after surgery
    • The most common cause of regurgitation is reflux of acid from the stomach into the esophagus while your pet is under anesthesia. Acidic fluid from the stomach can cause a chemical burn of the esophagus and result in a bad case of heart burn, called esophagitis. This results in poor motility of the esophagus, therefore water and food do not make it all the way to the stomach. In most cases, esophagitis is self-limiting and will resolve within two or three days.
    • Symptomatic treatment of regurgitation caused by esophagitis includes feeding bland food, and administering a coating agent (sucralfate) and an acid blocker (Famotidine, Omeprazole or other). Consult a veterinary health care professional if the regurgitation continues for more than a couple of days.

When should my dog have the first bowel movement after surgery?

  • Many dogs will not have a bowel movement for the first 4 to 5 days after surgery
  • Reasons that a dog will not have regular bowel movements after surgery include:
    • The dog has been fasted prior to surgery
    • They frequently do not eat well when they first wake up from anesthesia
    • They are fed highly digestible food that produces little stool
    • Pain medication that contain narcotics (such as morphine, fentanyl patches, and tramadol) can be constipating
  • If a pet does not have a bowel movement on the 5th day after surgery, a stool softener such as metamucil can be fed
    • Dose of metamucil is 1 tsp per 10 pounds mixed in with each meal (canned dog food); feed immediately after mixing, as the metamucil will gel the food and may make it less palatable.