Common surgical procedures for cats and dogs
Our experienced doctors perform all kinds of surgeries. This list covers just a few of the most common surgeries for cats and dogs:
Elective procedures, such as spays and neuters
Dental surgery, including teeth cleanings and surgical extractions
Bladder stone removal
Aural hematoma repair
Foreign body removal, when your pet has swallowed something inedible
Mass removals, including tumors and other growths
Specialist surgical procedures
At Small Door, we can arrange for a board-certified surgical specialist for more complicated procedures such as orthopedic and difficult soft tissue surgeries to conduct your pet’s procedure at Small Door, removing referral waiting times and making things as simple and hassle-free for both you and your pet.
Undergoing surgery in a familiar place can make things easier on anxious pets. In addition, we work with a number of specialists at the top of their fields, including cardiologists and anaesthetists that will join our team at Small Door on request.
What to expect
Before your cat or dog has surgery, we’ll see them for a pre-operative appointment to discuss the procedure and check your pet’s health. This will include a physical exam plus some bloodwork to make sure your pet is healthy for surgery.
The night before your pet’s surgery, you’ll need to withhold food from midnight onwards, but you can keep providing water. Make sure everyone in your household is aware, so no-one accidentally gives them breakfast!
You’ll drop your pet off with us in the morning and leave them at the hospital until the procedure is complete and they’ve recovered from the anesthesia. We’ll send you regular updates and photos or videos of your pet throughout the day to let you know how they’re doing. You’ll then be able to pick them up later on the same day, unless there are any complications.
Your pet’s recovery time and any specific care requirements will depend on the type of surgery. Most pets recover relatively quickly from the anesthesia. A little wooziness and some post-anesthesia anxiety or fussiness is normal. Some pets may want to play again the same day, but they should be kept calm to help them recover. This means restricting play and exercise; dogs should only take short walks for potty breaks. Our doctors will advise on the exact timeframe for your pet depending on their procedure.
It’s useful to restrict your pet to a quiet room or area where they cannot run or jump. Crating can be helpful for dogs, and make sure your pet’s bedding is clean and dry to prevent the risk of infection. Cats should have a clean litter tray nearby, and you should remove any toys that encourage boisterous play. Chew toys and food puzzle toys can be helpful.
We’ll send your pet home with pain medication to keep them comfortable, and an E-collar (an Elizabethan collar) to prevent them from licking, chewing, or irritating the surgery site.
For any procedures requiring anesthesia, we’ll schedule a complimentary post-op exam around 10-14 days afterwards so we can check your pet is healing well and remove their stitches if needed.
- Does my pet need a pre-op appointment?Yes, it’s important for our vets to examine your pet before they undergo surgery, to ensure they’re in good health and there are no unforeseen risks. At your pet’s pre-op appointment, we’ll conduct a physical examination, bloodwork and an ECG to make sure your pet is ready for anesthesia.
- Does my pet need to go under anesthesia?This depends on the procedure, but for most surgeries, your pet will need to undergo anesthesia, to ensure they’re safe and cannot feel any pain during the procedure. Anesthesia is a common procedure and is very safe; your vet will conduct checks, including blood tests, to make sure your pet is a suitable candidate for anesthesia before the procedure. If there’s ever any doubt about the safety of anesthesia for your pet, your vet will speak to you about suitable alternatives.
- How does anesthesia work?Anesthesia means “lack of sensation”. It involves a combination of sedatives and anesthetic agents, to keep your pet unconscious and unable to feel anything during the procedure. First, they will receive an injection in the muscle to help relax them, and then an IV will be administered to render them unconscious. For your pet, it will feel like falling asleep. When surgery is complete, the anesthetic medication will be reduced slowly, allowing your pet to regain consciousness. They may feel a little sleepy and groggy afterwards for a few hours.
- Can I feed my pet before their surgery?No. The night before your pet’s surgery, you’ll need to withhold food from midnight onwards, but you can keep providing water. Make sure everyone in your household is aware, so no-one accidentally gives them breakfast!
- How long will the surgery take?Your pet’s surgery time will depend on the complexity of the procedure. For many surgeries, you’ll drop your pet off in the morning and will be able to pick them up later the same day once the anesthesia has worn off. For complex surgeries, your pet may require a longer period of hospitalization. Our doctors will be able to advise on a specific timeframe for your pet’s surgery.
- How long will it take for my pet to recover?Your pet’s recovery time will depend on their procedure, as well as their age and general health. Our doctors will be able to advise further during your pre-operative appointment.
- Are there any activities they should avoid after surgery?Certain activities may be off-limits for a period of time after your pet’s surgery; these will vary depending on the procedure. Our doctors will provide thorough instructions during your pre-op appointment and in your pet’s discharge notes. Generally, it’s best to restrict play and exercise as much as possible until your pet is fully recovered. Certainly avoid any activity that puts pressure on your pet’s incision site and avoid boisterous play. Chew toys and food puzzle toys can be helpful to keep your pet stimulated during this time.
- Do they need to come back for a follow-up appointment?Yes, generally after all procedures requiring anesthesia, your pet will come back for a follow-up visit in 10-14 days. We will check the surgical site and remove stitches when applicable. The cost of this initial follow-up is included in the cost of your pet’s procedure at Small Door.
- How much will it cost?Surgery costs will vary depending on the procedure itself, your pet’s sex, weight, reaction to the procedure, and other factors. The cost may also vary depending on your membership plan (as some costs are included in certain plans), and we’ll also perform a pre-operative exam to ensure your pet is ready to undergo anesthesia. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire about costs for your pet.
- Do you accept insurance?Yes, we accept all forms of pet insurance.