Ed Jorden, DMV PET VET
Dear Dr. Jorden: I want to have my dog spayed, but I am worried about the surgery and particularly that my dog will have to spend the night away from me. Why can't I bring my dog home after surgery? Is the overnight stay really necessary?
There is always some worry when surgery is done. Spaying an animal is a very routine thing for every veterinarian but, though we do it every day, it is still major surgery and a very difficult one at that. We get good at it because we do it every day.
The anesthesia is as much of a worry as the surgery. In these modern times, veterinarians have the best anesthetics available. Twenty-five years ago, the anesthetics used caused the animals to sleep a long time, and the length of recovery varied greatly from animal to animal. Today, anesthetics are much safer, and many animals wake up in just minutes after the anesthetic is removed.
Blood tests can be done before surgery to make sure the major organs of the body are working properly before the anesthetic is given and the surgery is done. An animal can look healthy and still have a liver that is not functioning correctly or kidneys that are not quite right. The blood tests help us evaluate these parts of the body and surgery can be postponed if there is a problem
Veterinarians successfully anesthetize animals every day with very little problem. Your veterinarian will take every precaution to make sure that your pet is completely safe. The last thing your veterinarian wants to have to tell you is that there was a problem. We know how important your pet is to you.
The reason we like to keep your pet overnight after surgery is to keep your animal quiet and safe for the initial hours after surgery. When a pet goes home immediately after such a major surgery, she will be much more active than sleeping in a cage. There is nothing to do at the hospital, no neighborhood dogs to bark at nor any doorbell to frantically respond to. In the hospital, the animal is quiet and sleeps soundly after the surgery. At home, your pet tries to do everything she normally would do,
Remember, that when you leave your animal with your veterinarian, the last thing you see is a pet trying to go with you. They tug at the leash and want to leave with you. What you don't see is that as soon as you are out of sight, they willingly and happily go with us. The tugging stops and you might even be a little disappointed to see how happy and excited they are to sniff out and explore their new territory. It is truly an adventure to them.
For your pet's sake, give her up for the night. It is in her best interest. Have questions about pets? Write to: PetVet; c/o The Billings Gazette; P.O. Box 36300; Billings, Mont. 59107-6300. Questions of general interest may become topics of future columns.