TO THE PET OWNER,

You may have been referred to this site by your regular veterinarian or you may have stumbled upon it yourself while searching for an animal surgeon. I am happy to have your attention and would like to explain why you should select me to perform surgery on your pet.

For most people the thought of having surgery on your beloved family member is stressful. It is true that surgery has its risks and these should not be ignored. Surgical procedures usually require general anesthesia (your pet must go under) and any person or animal can have complications which could cause them to pass away. Overall it is extremely rare that animals have anesthetic complications so myself and your regular veterinarian will take all the precautions we can to reduce this risk. You may be advised to have pre-operative bloodwork done prior to surgery, as this will help to determine if any underlying bleeding disorders or illnesses such as kidney or liver dysfunction exist, to make complications less likely. I strongly advise you have pre-operative bloodwork done as I want your pet to have the best chance for a successful outcome. Along with bloodwork, a thorough examination is important. I will always perform a thorough examination of your pet and I will collect important history to assist me in understanding your pet's situation. Additional tests such as radiographs (x-rays), urine testing, ultrasounds, etc. may be required on a case-by-case basis. These all help to provide the most information prior to performing a surgical procedure. Being well informed is the best you can do prior to any surgery to reduce complications and provide the best chance for a successful recovery.

In most situations prior to surgery, you will have dropped your pet off with your veterinarian and I will arrive after you have departed. After thoroughly reviewing the records, discussing your pet's situation, and performing a thorough examination, I will contact you to discuss the recommended surgery we are about to perform. If you have waited to speak with me in person, I will be happy to meet you. I will explain to you about the surgical procedure, the expectations, the risks and complications and the recovery process. You are encouraged to ask me questions so that you have a good understanding of your pet’s surgery and recovery, as it is important for their optimal healing. Once the surgery is completed I will contact you to inform you how the procedure went and what the findings were, as well as to answer any other questions you may have. I will provide your veterinarian with discharge instructions which they will review with you at pick-up time. In some instances your pet may be required to have overnight care. This will be determined by your veterinarian who will make arrangements with you accordingly.

The recovery process is a very important part contributing to the success of your pet’s healing. It is critical that you follow the discharge instructions carefully. One important factor following surgery is the use of the Elizabethan collar (the cone of shame). The E-collar is needed to prevent your pet from licking at their incision. Unfortunately it only takes one lick to risk an incision infection or several to open the incision. In my experience the most common post-operative complication I see is incision infections from not using the E-collar for the 2 week healing period. Incision infections can delay healing and can be costly as antibiotics and sometimes additional surgical procedures may be required. Another important factor in the post-operative period is restricting exercise. Within a few days of surgery most pets are feeling much better and forget they had surgery. They want to run and play again not realizing they could injure themselves. It is critical that they are restricted to leash activity only and not playing with other pets, using stairs or exercising on the leash beyond being brought outside to relieve themselves. Being too active too soon can cause incisions to open before they are healed, can cause implants to fail or can injure other parts of the body. Additional surgeries could be required to repair these injuries and in some cases injuries are irreparable. Poor exercise restriction is another common mistake pet owners make leading to a delayed healing period for their pets. When you see your veterinarian they will council you as to when the E-collar and when the exercise restrictions can be discontinued. Overall, it is very important that you follow the discharge instructions and your veterinarian’s guidance for optimal healing of your pet. Should complications occur I encourage you to communicate with your veterinarian. They will contact me and I will work with them to ensure your pet can be treated in a team effort. It is best for me to speak with them regarding any concerns to avoid miscommunications that could arise.

There are a few final thoughts I want you to be aware of. My goal as a Board Certified Small Animal Surgeon is to provide your pet with the best chance to have an optimal outcome from their surgical procedure. I have had extensive training including completing a 4 year surgery program, in addition to a 4 year general veterinary program, and certification by the American College of Veterinary Surgeons (www.acvs.org). I have trained in all aspects of surgery including soft tissue, orthopedic and neurologic procedures which has allowed me to develop an extensive skill set for providing your pet the best outcome. If you were to need surgery for yourself or a family member, wouldn’t you select the most qualified surgeon? I will always strive to provide the best outcome for your pet by keeping my surgery skills sharp through performing procedures often and by partaking in continuing education to offer newer and better techniques for animals. I look forward to meeting you and your pet and to being a part of the team in the treatment of your pet’s health.

image4