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How much will the surgery cost?
Only your veterinarian can provide a total cost estimate. The Acadiana Veterinary Surgery operating cost is charged to your veterinarian. In addition to that, they have costs including anesthesia, pain management, antibiotics, radiographs, bloodwork, hospitalization, etc that need to be added. Every clinic charges differently, preventing us from being able to provide an accurate cost estimate. Please contact your veterinarian for a surgical estimate.
My pet hasn’t had a bowel movement since surgery - should I be worried?
Post-operatively, there are several issues slowing your pet’s return to normal bowel movements. Several of the medications used for anesthesia and pain management have side effects of decreased gastrointestinal(GI) motility, so food isn’t moving through the intestines at a normal rate. Anesthesia also slows GI motility. In addition, most surgical patients have decreased intake - they have been fasted prior to surgery and may have decreased intake after surgery (pain medications sometimes cause nausea). So, your pet has less food moving through their intestines, and it’s moving at a slower rate. Adding canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling) can help with dietary bulk and improve transit time.
Can my pet eat their normal diet?
For most orthopedic surgery cases, yes, your pet can be fed their normal diet after surgery. The night of surgery, a lighter meal is recommended (half the normal amount).
If your pet has had abdominal surgery, small frequent meals of a bland diet may be recommended for 2 weeks while they heal.
Other soft tissue surgeries may require a liquid/slurried diet during healing. Any special dietary recommendations will be made in your custom discharge instructions.
Depending on your pet’s condition, transition to a prescription diet may be recommended. Joint and/or weight-loss diets are the most commonly recommended for patients with cruciate ligament disease, as they benefit significantly from maintaining a lean body weight and joint supplements.
My pet is healing from a fracture surgery - can I give a calcium supplement for faster healing?
The short answer is - No, it is not recommended. Too much calcium in the diet can be just as dangerous as too little calcium. In addition, other elements are required for appropriate absorption and use by the body.
There is no supplement that has been shown to increase bone healing.
If your pet is on a high quality well-balanced dog/cat food, it contains all the nutrients needed for bone healing. If you are unsure about the quality of your pet’s diet, please speak with your veterinarian. The Acadiana Veterinary Surgery team feeds our own pets Hill’s Science Diet, Purina, and Royal Canin, all of which are very high quality foods.
My pet had an epidural when he/she had surgery - what should I watch for?
Epidural analgesia is an excellent way to manage intraoperative and postoperative pain, with minimal risk. It allows anesthesia to be administered at a lower rate, making anesthesia and surgery safer for the patient. In most veterinary cases, the patient is able to walk within hours of the surgery, although they may be less coordinated in the rear limbs and may appear wobbly. Sling assistance may be needed to prevent your pet from falling until this side effect has been resolved. In rare cases, epidural-induced urine retention may occur. Monitor your pet closely for voluntary urination - posturing in a normal location/position and voiding a normal amount of urine. If voluntary urination has not occurred within 24 hours of surgery, please contact your veterinarian, as the urinary bladder should be assessed and possibly expressed.
I should let my pet use their operated leg as much as they want, right? They’ll self-limit and won’t do anything to injure themselves.
FALSE! Our pets are super cute, but they lack the understanding of the requirements for appropriate healing. Veterinary patients have a pack mentality and will do everything in their power to hide pain, for fear they will lose their rank in the pack (your family). In addition to that, they don’t understand the need to protect an operated limb. After a fracture repair or corrective surgery for cruciate injury, they just know their leg feels stable now, so it must be ok to use as much as they want! When in fact, no implants are as strong as your pet’s normal healed bone, and they are not made to withstand normal forces (running, jumping, etc). Add to that the pain-dulling effects of adrenaline when they get excited (like when they see a squirrel or see you grabbing their leash to go for a walk), and you’ve got a recipe for disaster, if they aren’t properly confined and controlled.
How can I tell if my pet is in pain?
Assessment of pain is one of the most challenging things we encounter in the world of veterinary medicine. It is said that even if our pets could talk, they wouldn’t tell us what’s wrong because they don’t want to appear weak. Pets don’t like to show pain - it’s a sign of weakness. So if your pet is limping or holding up a limb, that is a significant sign of pain. If you’ve ever spoken to a person with ACL damage or a fractured bone, they will tell you that it is very painful.
Signs of pain can be as subtle as increased respiration rate or panting, increased heart rate, dilated pupils, being less active or social, eating less, drinking less, hiding, and/or not grooming normally.
Should my pet be on a joint supplement?
Joint supplements benefit any patient with osteoarthritis or predisposed to osteoarthritis by improving joint comfort and function. In general, when we talk about “joint supplements”, they contain 2 substances beneficial to joint health: glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate. However, all joint supplements are not created equal. While the FDA monitors prescription medications to ensure quality, there is no agency that tests and monitors nutraceuticals (joint supplements fall in this category). Research has shown that many joint supplements do not contain what the label claims, and even within a single company, they contain inconsistent amounts of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate from bottle to bottle, meaning that your pet may not even get a therapeutic dose. Human joint supplements should not be given to pets, as they often contain other substances that can be harmful to them. There are several reputable companies that make veterinary-specific joint supplements who put their products through research and testing to ensure they meet label claims and therapeutic amounts. Most veterinarians carry joint supplements from one of these reputable companies, and although it may be a bit more expensive than purchasing an over-the-counter joint supplement from a drugstore or a petstore, we encourage you to purchase a veterinary recommended product. When it comes to joint supplements, you definitely get what you pay for.
What should my pet’s incision look like?
At the time of discharge, your veterinarian should show you the incision (unless it is under a bandage), so that you both know how it appears when you go home. During the first few days after surgery, redness, swelling, crusting, and/or bruising might increase slightly. Significant redness may indicate that your pet is able to get past their E-collar and lick the incision, indicating need for a longer collar or additional methods to prevent incision licking. Increased discharge may occur if your pet is too active. If you notice any significant changes in the appearance of the incision, please contact your veterinarian, as evaluation may be needed.