Questions to Ask Your Vet Before Dog Surgery

Questions to Ask Your Vet Before Dog Surgery

It is every dog owner’s fear and dread that their beloved pet needs surgery. Unfortunately, it does happen, and while this is stressful for both dog and owner, there are some questions to ask your vet before dog surgery. Not only will this set your mind at rest about the procedure, but it will also give you the opportunity to find out more about what is going to happen to your furry friend.

Questions to Ask Your Vet Before Dog Surgery
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Ask About the Diagnosis

It is often hard to understand, let alone remember, medical terms, so take a notepad and pen with you. Write down the diagnosis; you can always check it out on the internet when you get back home. If your pet has had a biopsy, then ask for a copy of the report.

Ask About Treatment options

Not every diagnosis needs surgery but may be the last resort. Ask your vet if the condition could be rectified with physical therapy instead of surgery. Most vets will recommend a particular type of treatment because ‘in their opinion’ it is the best. Consider that it may not be the best in your own opinion.

Find out all the pros and cons of the options offered, then go home and weigh them all up. Making a rash decision because you are under pressure is never a good idea.

Ask about complications and risks

Every surgery has a risk involved, and some may have complications. It is best if you know this before your pet goes into the operating room. Your vet should be honest enough to explain all the particulars to you. If he is disinclined to explain, it is time to find a different vet.

Your vet should be willing to explain that complications such as swelling, bruising and infections that can occur.

Anesthesia has its complications, and your vet should discuss this in regards to your dog’s age and health.

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Question the Vet

Now is a good time to find out how many operations of the same kind your vet has done. He should not be offended as this is a legitimate question. You would balk at the idea of having eye surgery if the surgeon only did one operation a year, so why not find out the vet’s history?

Ask About the Outcome

Ask how the operation is going to affect your dog’s life. Will it add years to his age or extra strength when he walks? These are all relevant questions. If surgery will not improve his life or add years to it, you may want to look at other options which will be less stressful to you both.

What Happens During Surgery?

Don’t be afraid to ask how the procedure will go. While you may not be interested in the graphic details, you have a right to know what will happen to your dog. Your vet should be prepared to explain in detail what he plans to do, he may draw you a picture or show you pictures of similar surgery, but he should be willing to tell you the plan.

Ask About Aftercare

After every surgery, there will be a certain amount of pain, only because there has been an incision of some kind. Your dog will be in some degree of pain afterward. Ask how this will be handled?

Post Operation Care

Make sure you ask about the care you should provide when your dog gets back home. You preferably need this in writing, just because we forget things. Surgery is stressful, and it will be impossible to remember everything your vet tells you. Your vet should give you a written sheet of post-operative care.

To Sum Up

For your pet and yourself, it is vitally important that you know precisely what the plan is with your dog and his surgery. Your dog will be stressed out and so will you, but knowing beforehand will go a long way towards reassuring you that things will go as planned.

While you may feel out of order asking all those questions, remember that you are the only advocate for your pet, he has no-one else to make sure all goes well. A good vet will share the surgery plan with you and spend time answering all your questions.

If you do not get the answers you want, or the vet seems unwilling to discuss options and treatment with you, you may want to find another vet who is more sympathetic towards animals and their owners.

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Valerie Holyoak

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