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Small Animal Surgery Questions

Questions to Ask Your Veterinarian Before Your Pet Has Surgery

Your pet depends on you to find a veterinarian with the experience and training required if surgery is necessary. If a surgery is not “routine,” some important questions to ask your veterinarian include:

  • How often have you performed this surgery?
  • Does the surgery require special equipment? Is the equipment available at your clinic?
  • Would advanced imaging, such as a CT scan or MRI, help surgical planning?
  • Will my pet require anesthesia?
  • Do you determine how much medication to administer based on the animal’s weight or do you tailor an anesthetic protocol (e.g. breed-related anesthetic differences) to each animal?
  • Will my pet have an IV catheter for hydration and, if there is an emergency, for quick access to the cardiovascular system?
  • How often do you sterilize surgical instruments? What if my pet gets an infection?
  • What should I expect the outcome of the surgery to be?
  • Are there alternative procedures available?
  • What are the risks and possible complications of anesthesia and surgery?
  • What follow-up care is necessary?
  • Should my pet stay in the hospital after surgery? Will there be a doctor or a nurse on the premises?
  • Can you be reached by phone during the evening and night of the procedure if I have any questions or concerns about my pet?
  • Are you available for questions regarding post-operative care?
  • Would it be better if a board-certified veterinary surgeon performed this procedure?

Many surgeries that pets undergo would benefit from the attention of a veterinary surgery specialist. To help you and your pet, there is a network of veterinary specialists ready to provide the special surgical care your pet needs. These specialists are the veterinary surgeons that have been board-certified by the American College of Veterinary Surgeons (ACVS).

Read Small Animal Health Topics for more information on your pet's condition.