There comes a time in just about every pet’s life when a surgical procedure is necessary, whether it’s part of wellness or preventative care or the result of a more serious medical condition. At Maritime Animal Hospital, we understand that surgery can be a stressful time, for both you and your pet. We want you to know that when you bring your pet to us for surgery, whether it’s routine or complex, we will do everything we can to make the experience as comfortable and stress-free as possible.

Through innovative techniques and state-of-the-art equipment, we are able to deliver the highest quality veterinary surgical care available. We use only the best available anesthetic, which is carefully monitored by our highly skilled veterinarians and care team, before, during and after surgery. Our surgical facility provides a clean, safe and comfortable environment for the following procedures:

Anesthesia Safety
With any anesthesia, we recommend having presurgical blood work, intravenous fluids and additional pain medication performed because:

  • Bloodwork checks kidney and liver function as these are the organs that break down an anesthetic; protein and blood glucose; the cells of the blood to ensure there is no anemia or signs of infection and that the number of platelets is adequate to prevent excessive bleeding
    • If there are abnormalities, we may delay the surgical procedure or may simply be a matter of changing the anesthetic protocol that may better suit your pet
  • With anesthetics a patient’s blood pressure drops; when this happens, there is less blood flow to certain parts of the body, especially the kidneys. This can be harmful to the kidneys especially if there was an initial problem that could not be detected during the presurgical exam. With intravenous fluids (IV fluids) help to keep the blood pressure normal so all parts of the body receive adequate blood flow throughout the surgical procedure. If the blood pressure drops, most times it is easily corrected with adjustments to the IV fluids. The fluids also help regulate the body’s electrolytes and remove anesthetic from the body faster allowing for a quicker and easier recovery
  • When your pet is here for surgery they will receive pain medication before and after the procedure lasting 24 hours. Pain medication to go home will allow your pet to recover faster as this decreases pain and inflammation. With the decrease in pain/inflammation, they usually heal faster and are less likely to scratch and lick at their incisions.

We have put together safety packages to try and make these options more economical. Options may be done together in a package or individually if preferred.

Commonly Asked Questions or Comments Made About the Safety Options

  • Why do blood work if my pet seems healthy?
    • Your pet may appear healthy, but also may be hiding symptoms of disease. A good example of this is: your pet could lose 2/3 of their kidney function before showing any symptoms of being sick. This is why testing is so important. If the disease is subclinical or has not advanced to the stage that it affects your pet day to day, and they are put under an anesthetic, there is an increased risk of complications.
  • If the blood work comes back fine, then I’ve just wasted my money!
    • If your pet’s blood work comes back normal, that’s great news! Your pet is in great shape for the upcoming anesthesia and procedure. We now have normal values to compare to if you pet ever gets sick. This gives us an additional aid in your pet’s health care.
  • My animal will tell me if she is in pain, I can always come back and pick up more…
    • Yes, you can always pick up additional pain medication if you do not take it home with you the day of surgery. However, you cannot always expect your pet to tell you when they are in pain. Animals don’t cry like we do. They may just not act like themselves. They may be slower or less active, or may not want to eat and even though this may just seem normal after an anesthesia, they may be experiencing pain in silence. It is easier to prevent pain or manage it from the start than try to take it away after it’s present. Consider if you had a similar surgery, would you want to take some pain medication for your discomfort?
Dog and Cat Spays (Ovariohysterectomy)

We recommend your dog or cat being spayed between 5 and 6 months of age. We recommend spaying because:

  • Prevention of mammary tumors
  • Unwanted kitten (there are too many kittens without homes)
  • Irregular (often frequent) heat cycles, which makes your cat very noisy!
  • Possible urine marking
  • Prevention of a pyometra
    • This is where the uterus swells with bacteria, toxins, pus and dying tissue
    • Without treatment, death is expected
    • Treatment is an emergency spay, with an animal that is ill, this becomes a higher anesthetic risk and is usually more costly

 What we do:

Once she is here at the clinic, she will have a preoperative exam done by the veterinarian. At this time, if decided by you, preoperative bloodwork will be completed*.

After this, she is given an injection with a sedative and pain medication. This allows her to relax and helps to alleviate a lot of the pain during the surgery so less gas anesthetic will hopefully be needed. We then wait 10-20 minutes for this to take effect.

Next, she is placed on intravenous fluids (recommended with any anesthesia)*, if IV fluids are not chosen, we will still place an IV catheter (without the fluids) to have direct access to the vein.

Anesthesia is induced with an intravenous injection, followed by placement of an endotracheal tube into the airway (intubation), to deliver gas anesthetic and oxygen directly to their lungs.

Prepping for surgery now begins. We shave and vacuum their abdomen, larger than the surgery site to prevent hair and debris from getting in the incision. They are brought to the surgery suite and are then hooked to blood pressure & oxygen monitors. A surgical scrub is used to sterilize the incision site.

The veterinarian then comes dressed in a cap, mask, sterile gown & gloves. The ovaries & uterus (shaped like a “Y”) are tied off and cut out. The abdomen is sutured closed. During this whole procedure, a technician is closely monitoring their vitals, heart rate, blood pressure & oxygen levels. After her surgery and before she wakes up, we will do laser therapy to help encourage faster healing.  She will receive a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory for postoperative pain and inflammation.

We like to keep our surgery patients until they are alert & able to walk well so they usually spend the day here with us!

A common concern for owners is: will she get fat and lazy? The estrogens in their body have a natural appetite suppressing effect and the loss of said estrogens may increase her appetite. It may be a good idea to switch to a “lite” diet!

*Anesthesia Safety* 

Cat Neuters (Castration)
Our doctors and staff will recommend for your male kitten to be neutered between the ages of 5 and 6 months old.

We recommend them being neutered because:

  • The reduction of roaming
    • They roam looking for a mate. This can be reduced in 90% of the cats with neutering & 60% will stop right away
  • Less fighting
  • Less tendency to urine mark
  • Decrease the amount of unwanted kittens

What we do:

Once he is admitted to the clinic, he will have a preoperative exam done by our veterinarian. At this time, preoperative bloodwork is completed, if you chose this option (this is recommended with any anesthetic)*.

If bloodwork results are within normal limits, your cat will be given an injection with a sedative and pain medication. This helps them to relax and alleviates a lot of the pain during the surgery so less gas anesthetic will be needed. After a 10-20 minutes wait for sedation to be effective, intravenous fluids would be started (which are recommended with any anesthesia)*. If IV fluids are not chosen, we will still place an IV catheter (without the fluids) to have direct access to the vein.

Anesthesia is induced by an injection, followed by placement of a tube into the trachea (intubation) for the delivery of gas anesthesia and oxygen into the lungs, to maintain anesthesia as long as necessary. The testicles are prepped- hair is removed from the testicles, a testicular block is performed and the skin is disinfected, to make a small incision into the scrotum.

The testicles are exposed, the spermatic cord and artery are tied off and the testicle is cut free. Since the skin incision is so small, no sutures are needed and the incision heals on its own. He receives a non steroidal anti-inflammatory injection to alleviate postoperative pain and inflammation and an antibiotic to prevent infection. We monitor our surgery patients until they are alert and able to walk well, so they usually spend the day with us!

Some people think that neutering your male cat will increase the chance that he has a urinary blockage. Neutering does not seem to be a significant factor in urinary blockages.

*see “Safety First” 

Dog Neuters (Castration)

We recommend having your dog neutered between 5 and 6 months old. We recommend neutering because:

  • Less chance of developing prostate cancer
  • Cannot get testicular cancer
  • Neutered dogs live 40% longer that unneutered males according to the Pet Health Network
  • Less likely to go roaming for a mate, aggression towards other male dogs is decreased, urine marking is significantly decreased as well as mounting behaviors
  • Preputial discharge is minimized
  • To decrease the number of unwanted dogs

What we do:
After being admitted to the hospital, he will have a preoperative exam done by the veterinarian. At this time, if you chose to, preoperative blood work (recommended with any anesthetic)* would be done.

If blood work results were within normal limits, he would be given an injection with a sedative and pain medication. This allows him to relax and helps to alleviate a lot of the pain during the surgery so less gas anesthesia will be needed. After allowing 10-20 minutes for this to take effect, he would be placed on intravenous fluids. If IV fluids are not chosen, we will still place an IV catheter (without the fluids) to have direct access to a vein.

Next, a medication is given intravenously to induce anesthesia, followed by placement of an endotracheal tube into the airway (intubation), to deliver gas anesthetic and oxygen directly to their lungs. Prepping for surgery begins with shaving and vacuuming the hair from a large area directly in front of the testicles to prevent hair and debris from getting into the incision, then a testicular block will be performed. Your dog will be moved into the surgery suite where he will be connected to blood pressure, heart & oxygen monitors. A surgical scrub is done to sterilize the incision site and then the veterinarian comes in wearing a cap, mask & sterile gloves, to begin the surgery. The incision is made in front of the testicles and the testicles are removed. The blood vessel and spermatic cord are tied off and cut. The incision is then sutured closed. During this whole procedure, a technician is closely monitoring their vitals, heart rate, blood pressure & oxygen levels. After his surgery and before he wakes up, we will do laser therapy to help encourage faster healing. A non-steroidal anti-inflammatory is given to help alleviate post-operative pain and inflammation. A technician stays with your dog until he is recovered from anesthesia. We like to keep our surgery patients until they are alert & able to walk well, so, they usually spend the day with us!

A common concern for owners is: will he get fat and lazy? With a male dog, their appetite and energy should not change with neutering! However, maintaining a healthy weight requires a balance in food intake and daily exercise.

*see “Safety First” 

Feline Declaw (Onychectomy)

Declawing a cat is one of the most controversial procedures in veterinary medicine. People, veterinarians and staff all have different views. Let us start by explaining what we are actually doing.

What:
A declaw can be done a couple of different ways. Our doctors use the disarticulation method, when the bone (amputating similar to where your first knuckle is), ligament and tendon are dissected using a scalpel. In short, we are doing a bone amputation on 10 (or more) claws.  We also offer this procedure using a surgical laser which cauterizes the incision to promote less bleeding, causes less pain and usually better healing. This method, however, adds to the cost.

Why:
People choose to declaw for many different reasons.

  • Scratching/destroying furniture or the home
  • Fighting with other cats in the home
  • Scratching people or for medical reasons when owners are immunosuppressed

When:
Younger cats have softer, looser joints and will recover quicker than older patients. Declawing at the same time as their spay or neuter is performed (approximately 5-6 months of age) is ideal.

Side Effects:

  • Pain: at the time of surgery, for a short post-operative time, or can become more chronic
  • Nerve damage, while rare, is a possibility
  • Climbing trees and hunting can still be done, although with more difficulty
  • Less ability to defend themselves from confrontations with other cats or animals

Our Protocol:
Once your kitty is admitted to the hospital, a full physical exam is performed by the veterinarian doing the surgery. Then, if chosen, presurgical blood work is completed*.

If blood work results are within normal limits and the physical exam shows no abnormalities, a sedative & pain medication are given After allowing 10-20 minutes for this to take effect, the patient would be placed on IV fluids. If IV fluids are not chosen, we still place an IV catheter (without the fluids) to have direct access to a vein. Anesthesia is administered and an endotracheal tube is placed into the airway for gas anesthetic & oxygen to be delivered to the lungs. The surgery will be performed by the veterinarian, while a technician monitors and records heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen levels, respiration and other vital signs. Bandages are applied, and the patient is given anti-inflammatory and pain medications to minimize pain and swelling; an antibiotic injection is also given to decrease chances of infection. After their surgery and before they wake up, we will do laser therapy to help encourage faster healing. A technician stays with your cat until he/she recovers from the anesthetic.

As part of our protocol, your cat will stay for one to two nights where they are kept quiet, and in a small area so they are not moving around a lot. They will be monitored throughout the day for bleeding, swelling and pain. When your kitten is discharged, pain medication is included to give at home for a few days. Also a bag of Yesterday’s News paper litter is included to prevent getting clay litter into the declaw incisions in the toes.

*** We do understand that the decision to have your kitty declawed can be difficult. If you are struggling with this, try trimming the nails regularly or applying Soft Paws may help your decision. However, not all cats and owners are able to do this. Please do not hesitate to contact us and ask more questions!

*see “Safety First” 

General Surgery Home Care Instructions

Food – We recommend by starting to feed a small amount of food initially. Sometimes the anesthesia will make them nauseous, if they vomit after their small meal, it is best to wait until the following morning and feed their regular meal then. If there is no vomiting, you may offer more food later on in the evening.

Exercise – Your pet has just had surgery, even if it was “just” a spay/neuter, it is a large surgery. Strict exercise is recommended. Leash walks only… no running/jumping/dog parks/laser pointers or mouse throwing for 10-14 days.

No baths/swimming for 10-14 days.

Keep a close watch on their incision. Any redness/swelling/discharge, please contact us . No licking, this cannot be stressed enough; licking their incision irritates it causing problems with healing. If they are licking, an Elizabethan collar is recommended.

If external sutures are present, removal of the sutures is at 10-14 days after surgery.

Pain medication – please check with our veterinary care team for when and how much of pain medication to give.

We want them up, eating, drinking, walking around the following day. Any questions/concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Dental Surgery

Dental disease affects roughly 70-85% of pets over the age of 1 year. With a dental surgery we are hoping to prevent/extend the health of your pet and their overall health. Clinical signs that will prompt a veterinarian to recommend dental surgery:

• Halitosis (bad breath)

• Swollen gums

• Painful

• Drooling

• Difficulty chewing

• anorexia

What we do:

After being admitted to the hospital, he will have a preoperative exam done by the veterinarian. At this time, if you chose to, preoperative blood work (recommended with any anesthetic)* would be done.

If blood work results were within normal limits, he would be given an injection with a sedative and pain medication. This allows them to relax and helps to alleviate a lot of the pain during the surgery so less gas anesthesia will be needed. After allowing 10-20 minutes for this to take effect, he would be placed on intravenous fluids (which are also recommended with any anesthesia, if IV fluids are not chosen, we will still place an IV catheter , without the fluids, to have direct access to the vein.

Next, a medication is given intravenously to induce anesthesia, followed by placement of an endotracheal tube into the airway (intubation), to deliver gas anesthetic and oxygen directly to their lungs. The endotracheal tube will also help to prevent aspiration (breathing in liquid into the lungs) as there will be water & dental paste in the mouth.

The dentistry now begins. A technician starts by removing the hard calculus and plaque from the teeth with an ultrasonic scaler. Once this is completed hand scaling is done to remove any leftover plaque/tartar that the ultrasonic scaler did not get. Polishing is next. The veterinarian comes to inspect the teeth checking for root exposure, cavities, abnormalities, gingivitis, mobility, etc. If extractions are needed, they would be done by a veterinarian at this time. During this entire procedure, a technician is closely monitoring their vitals, heart rate, blood pressure & oxygen levels and recording it. An antibiotic injection and/or a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory are given if there were extractions or gingivitis. A technician monitors your pet until he/she is recovered from anesthesia.

A common thought amongst people is that my pet does not seem bothered by their teeth. Although they may not show discomfort, having problems with their mouth can be quite painful. The bacteria (this makes up the plaque/tartar) not only affects their mouth but also can affect their heart, kidneys and other organs. It can affect you as well with breathing in the bacteria and they are most likely giving us kisses!

*Please see “Safety First”

General Dental Home Care Instructions

Food – We recommend by starting to feed a small amount of food initially. Sometimes the anesthesia can make them nauseous, if they vomit after their small meal, it is best to wait until the following morning to feed their regular meal then. If there is no vomiting, you can offer more food later in the day.

- Wet food (be it canned or moistened kibble)may be best to feed as they are usually tender after a dental or have had dental extractions for 3-4 days (possibly more days).

- In some cases, especially if there were extractions, there may be a bloody tinge to your pet’s saliva (or in their water dish) for a day or so. However, if you notice a large amount, please contact us.

Exercise - is best to be restricted for that evening as they may be drowsy from their day at the hospital and the anesthetic.

Pain medication- Please check with our veterinary care team for when and how much of pain medication to give.

We want them up, eating, drinking/drinking, walking around the following day. If there is a problem, please contact us.

We offer a complimentary dental recheck with a technician 2 weeks after the dental surgery.

Orthopaedic Surgery

Emergency Surgery

We are also proud to offer laser surgery for our patients, which is available for most procedures performed at Maritime Animal Hospital. Many of our clients prefer laser surgery to conventional surgery because it is much less invasive and virtually pain-free. There is also very little bleeding, swelling, or bruising and patients who undergo laser surgery often have a speedier recovery.

Following surgery, our staff will work with you to develop and implement an appropriate pain management strategy to help your pet remain comfortable during recovery. Our goal is to have your animal companion feeling back to normal as soon as possible.