FAQs and what to expect

What to expect before surgery

Booking an appointment.

This is a very important procedure in the life of a pet. This helps them to:

We can be reached by phone at +1905-842-8808 or email at Oakvillevet@hotmail.com to book an appointment at any time (please note; if you require an immediate response, a phone call is best). A member of our staff will work with you to choose a day that fits your busy schedule and works well for you and your family. We always welcome new patients!

Why do I need to fast my pet?

Fasting is important because it helps prevent the regurgitation and aspiration of stomach contents. When an animal is anesthetized they lose their ability to swallow. This means if they were to vomit while under sedation they run the risk of aspirating food and other stomach contents into their lungs, which can be a life-threatening complication. We generally recommend that animals receive no food for 12 hours prior to surgery and no water 4-6 hours before surgery. This will vary based on the patient and their history.

Why does my pet receive a pre-surgical assessment if I think they are healthy?

All animals being admitted for surgery will receive an assessment by a veterinarian. A veterinarian is a trained professional that will be able to identify underlying physiological challenges to anesthesia. This can include things like heart murmurs or arrhythmias. We also consider the patient’s history such as any current medications they are receiving. This allows us to make an individualized anesthetic protocol for our pet’s needs.

Should I bring anything?

In case of emergency and for safety reasons, we prefer owners bring a leash or carrier for their pets. Owners are always welcome to bring a favorite blanket or toy to make your pet feel more at home. You will be required to bring food for your pet if they are staying overnight and will be informed of this when booking the appointment.

Who monitors my pet during surgery?

All patients are monitored during their entire surgery by at least one of our veterinary technicians on staff with state of art equipment. Some of the things we monitor include but are not limited to; heart rate, respiratory rate, peripheral oxygen saturation, capillary refill time, mucous membrane color, and blood pressure.

Why are vaccines needed for my pet to be admitted?

Vaccines are important not just for your own pet but for the other animals and staff at the clinic. It is important to control infectious diseases and preventative vaccines are a large part of this. Some diseases, such as Rabies, are considered zoonotic which means there is a risk of transmission to humans. The Rabies vaccine is also mandated by law for all cats and dogs in Ontario. Remember; it is always better to prevent disease rather than treat disease.

Do you have to shave my pet?

Whether or not your pet will be shaved will depend on the type of surgery they are undergoing. We only shave the coat when it is necessary and only the area that is required to be shaved for a safe, sterile, clean procedure. Don’t worry, it will grow back!

What happens during a spay/neuter?

The technical term for a spay is ovariohysterectomy which means a removal of the uterus and ovaries of a female. The word neuter refers to the removal of the testicles of a male animal.

Why do I need to spay/neuter my pet?

Spaying and neutering are important not only for population control but for various health reasons. Every year millions of animals are euthanized in shelters because they are unable to find homes. Spaying female animals will prevent the occurrence of unwanted pregnancies, prevent unwanted attention from other dogs, aid in preventing uterine infections, and reduce the risks of mammary, ovarian, and uterine cancer. If a female dog is spayed before her first heat she has a 0.5% chance of developing breast cancer. If she is spayed after her first heat it rises to 8% and after her second heat, her chances increase to 26%. In dogs 50% of mammary tumors are malignant and 85% of mammary tumors in felines are malignant (cancerous). Neutering male pets will reduce the occurrence of unwanted behaviors such as marking and some types of aggression. It will also remove the desire to mate thus lowering the chances of dogs wandering off and getting hit by cars, fighting with other dogs, etc. Neutering lowers the risk of certain hormone-related diseases, reduces the risks of perianal and anal cancers, eliminates the danger of testicular cancer, and significantly hinders the problems related to the prostate gland.

What to expect on the day of surgery
What happens during my pet’s surgery?

Patients are admitted to the hospital between 8:00-10:00am (though exceptions can be made) where they first receive a pre-surgical assessment. This allows the veterinarian to identify any health issues and also determine if there are any underlying health conditions that should be taken into consideration. The patient will then be taken to one of our kennels or cages at the back of the facility; owners are welcome to take a tour of the hospital so that they feel comfortable leaving their family members with us. The first step in the surgery is a pre-anesthetic injection that may include a combination of drugs and pain management. The patient will then be inducted into unconsciousness and intubated before the surgery begins. For the duration of the procedure, your pet will receive a mixture of oxygen and isoflurane (an inhaled anesthetic). During the operation, patients are placed on heated water- circulating mat that will help maintain the appropriate body temperature. Before surgery can begin your pet will be shaved and the surgical area will be thoroughly cleaned and draped. The patient will be monitored closely throughout the entire surgery and once the surgery is complete he/she will receive an antibiotic injection and a pain management injection. The patient will then be returned to their cage/ kennel and be supplied with bedding for a recovery period. They will be monitored until they awaken and then a member of our staff will place a phone call to let you know your pet is awake and to schedule a pick-up time.

When can my pet come home?

Pick-up time varies depending on the type of surgery. Feline declaw patients will need to stay overnight and be picked up the following day after 10:00 am. Most spay/neuter patients will be available for pick-up the same day between 3:00-7:00 pm on weekdays and 3:00-4:00 pm on Saturdays. For all other procedures, you will be advised on an individual basis.

What is the purpose of pre-surgical blood work?

Pre-surgical blood work is done to assess the health of the patient before surgery. This may check for a variety of values that include glucose level, liver and kidney functions, and hydration status. Even an animal that may appear outwardly healthy can be having underlying issues that could be dangerous if unknown prior to surgery. At Bishop Gate Animal Hospital we offer this as an OPTION to all of our clients and their pets, however it is a REQUIREMENT for any animal that is five years of age or older.

What is the purpose of fluids during surgery?

Fluids during surgery are beneficial in numerous ways. Animals can become dehydrated and have low blood pressure before, during, and after surgery due to the anesthesia, blood loss, and the required fasting prior to surgery; fluids will help counteract these effects. Fluid also helps to flush out some of the drugs used during surgery and allows your pet to recover quicker and feel a little bit better when they wake up. IV fluids allow our staff to quickly administer any emergency medications should your pet need them, which can be particularly helpful in smaller animals that have very small blood vessels. Alternatively, larger animals that have larger blood vessels under the skin are more prone to blood loss when those vessels are cut, and therefore fluid to counteract blood loss is beneficial to these animals as stated above.

What does a cone collar do?

The benefits of wearing a cone collar greatly outweigh the drawbacks. The incision site can become itchy and irritating in the days after surgery and since it usually is not possible for owners to supervise their pets 24/7 the best way to prevent your pet from licking, biting, or chewing at the incision is to use a cone collar. Animals’ mouths are filled with bacteria and licking will allow this bacteria to enter the incision and cause redness, inflammation, and of course infection. Although you may feel bad for your pet because they have to wear a cone, just think of how you will feel should they develop an infection and have to be put through another procedure to clean and disinfect the area… not to mention how awful your bank account will feel if you have to spend upwards of $50-$60 on a strong antibiotic to clear the infection when a cone collar would have cost you $10-$15!

What to expect after surgery
Our post-operative instructions

All patients receive a FREE recheck 7-10 days after surgery to ensure proper healing. If you have any concerns BEFORE the 7 day period is up, you are more than welcome to come to see us at any time. All medications that are to be sent home will be fully explained to you upon pick-up and will be clearly labeled with instructions. We can even show you how to administer the medication if you are unsure. You will also receive a pamphlet that outlines our “Post-Operative Care Instructions” and a spay/neuter certificate (where applicable). We encourage owners to give us a call any time after surgery with any questions or concerns. Healing time will vary depending on the type of surgery, usually 1 to 2 weeks for complete healing of most procedures.