Questions to Ask Your Small Animal Veterinarian

Questions to Ask Your Veterinarian Before Your Pet Has Surgery

Your pet depends on you to find a veterinarian with the experience and training required if surgery is necessary. If a surgery is not “routine,” some important questions to ask your veterinarian include:

  • How often have you performed this surgery?
  • Does the surgery require special equipment? Is the equipment available at your clinic?
  • Would advanced imaging, such as a CT scan or MRI, help surgical planning?
  • Will my pet require anesthesia?
  • Do you determine how much medication to administer based on the animal’s weight or do you tailor an anesthetic protocol (e.g. breed-related anesthetic differences) to each animal?
  • Will my pet have an IV catheter for hydration and, if there is an emergency, for quick access to the cardiovascular system?
  • How often do you sterilize surgical instruments? What if my pet gets an infection?
  • What should I expect the outcome of the surgery to be?
  • Are there alternative procedures available?
  • What are the risks and possible complications of anesthesia and surgery?
  • What follow-up care is necessary?
  • Should my pet stay in the hospital after surgery? Will there be a doctor or a nurse on the premises?
  • Can you be reached by phone during the evening and night of the procedure if I have any questions or concerns about my pet?
  • Are you available for questions regarding post-operative care?
  • Would it be better if a board certified veterinary surgeon performed this procedure?

Many surgeries that pets undergo would benefit from the attention of a veterinary surgical specialist. To help you and your pet, there is a network of veterinary specialists ready to provide the special surgical care your pet needs. These specialists are the veterinary surgeons that have been board certified by the American College of Veterinary Surgeons (ACVS).

Read Small Animal Health Topics for more information on your pet’s condition.

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