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208 Wildwood St, Walla Walla, WA 99362

Phone: (509)-525-2502

Fax: (509) 525-3003

Mon-Tue-Thu-Fri 7:30am - 6pm | Wed 9am - 6pm

Surgery & Anesthetic Safety

SurgeryAt Associated Veterinary Medical Center you can be assured that your pet will receive excellent surgical care based on the most current veterinary guidelines. As an AAHA accredited hospital, we adhere to the most stringent requirements regarding sterility, safety, and pain management.

When your pet is scheduled for a surgical procedure they are admitted to the Medical Center first thing in the morning. After admission to the hospital, an examination will be performed by the veterinarian to identify any physical problems your pet may have and assure no outward conditions exist which would cause concern for anesthesia. Pre-operative bloodwork is strongly recommended to identify any metabolic concerns. If it has not been drawn prior to the day of surgery, it will be drawn just after the physical exam. Next, we will administer pre-anesthetic medications, which will make your pet drowsy and help to prevent pain. Then, the veterinary technician will shave and clean a small area on the patient's front leg, and an intravenous catheter will be placed into a vein. Since blood pressure drops under anesthesia, we can support blood pressure and maintain hydration by giving intravenous fluids through this catheter. The IV catheter also allows for quick delivery of emergency drugs if needed.

After the IV catheter placement, your pet will be given an injectable anesthetic. Once your pet is asleep, an endotracheal (breathing) tube will be placed to administer an anesthetic / oxygen mix and to protect the airway. The same anesthetic gases that are used in human hospitals are used here as well.

Every pet is placed on a heating pad to help maintain core body temperature. State of the art surgical anesthesia monitors, which allow us to monitor heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen saturation, and core body temperature, are connected to the patient and allow for optimized safety during anesthesia. One of our licensed technicians will supervise your pet during the entire time anesthesia is being administered and will be responsible for continuous monitoring of vital signs. These monitoring parameters help us to adjust anesthesia as needed and detect any physiological changes before serious problems occur.

Once your pet is safely under anesthesia, we will begin surgical preparation. The hair will be shaved around the surgical area. This area will be gently scrubbed and washed to remove as much bacteria as possible and surgical prep applied.

While the technician prepares your pet for surgery, the veterinarian also prepares for the surgical procedure. The doctor scrubs the arms, from fingernails to elbows, before surgery. As in human medicine, the veterinarian prepares by dressing in a sterile gown, facemask, and surgical cap. After dressing and washing, the veterinarian will put on sterile gloves and proceed to the surgical suite. While some hospitals use surgical rooms as multi-purpose treatment areas, our surgical suite is a single purpose area of the hospital. This area is used only for surgical procedures, allowing us to minimize any contamination and maximize your pet's safety.

Once your pet is fully prepared and sterilely draped for surgery, the veterinarian will perform the surgical procedure. During this time a dedicated technician monitors your pet's vital signs closely. Once the veterinarian has completed the procedure, the anesthesia is turned off and your pet is given oxygen gas to aid in recovery. One of our licensed technicians will monitor your pet closely during recovery. Once the patient is able to swallow, the endotracheal tube is removed and the patient is moved to their recovery suite. We have designed our treatment and recovery area in such a way that allows for continuous visualization of hospitalized patients. This allows for the best continual patient monitoring and safety.

Additional pain medication is given at the time of recovery and an oral version will be sent home with your pet to be administered starting the day after surgery.

Once the surgery is complete, the veterinary technician or doctor will call you with an update and discuss the discharge plan. At the time of discharge, the veterinary assistant will discuss discharge instructions, review medications, coordinate follow-up appointments, and answer any questions you may have.