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Soft Tissue Surgery

The surgery service is dedicated to providing the best care possible for your pet. Knowing that surgery can be a time of high anxiety, we are devoted to providing a reassuring and compassionate experience for you and your loved one. Your pet will receive the highest quality care from a team of specialists, including board certified surgeons, anesthesiologists, critical care experts, and highly skilled veterinary nurses. We also appreciate the importance of communication and will be sure to keep you and your veterinarian well-informed during your pet’s stay at the University of Florida Small Animal Hospital.

Services offered (conditions frequently treated)

The University of Florida Veterinary Hospitals are the only veterinary teaching hospitals in the state of Florida and are committed to training the veterinarians and veterinary specialists of the future. Students in their final years of veterinary education rotate through the clinical services and are an integral part of the veterinary care team. Additionally, interns (veterinarians that are typically one year post-graduation) and surgical residents (veterinarians several years post-graduation that are specializing in surgery) are essential members of the service.

Your appointment will begin by meeting a veterinary student who will take a detailed history and perform a physical examination on your pet. You will then meet with the attending doctor who will review the history, examine your pet, and thoroughly discuss the options available for treatment.

If indicated, additional tests such as blood work, x-rays, or ultrasound may be performed on the appointment day. Advanced diagnostic tests such as CT scans, MRI, biopsy, or dye studies are typically scheduled for the following day.

We ask that you do not feed your pet the morning of the appointment, but free access to water should be allowed.

Surgery Schedule

Our board certified surgeons perform a wide variety of surgeries. Your attending doctor will discuss the details of surgery and potential risks and complications.
Unless it is an emergency, surgeries are usually scheduled for the day following the initial appointment (Wednesday or Friday). Exceptions to this include: 1) elective spays and neuters (appointment on Monday morning and surgery that afternoon); 2) procedures that are dependent on the results of tests or biopsies that require several days to be processed; and, 3) procedures that require specialized equipment to be ordered.

In Hospital Care

Under most circumstances, your pet will spend the night prior to surgery in the hospital, in order to become acclimated and to give the anesthesiologist an opportunity to review the case. While you may want to leave a special toy or bedding with your pet, we can not guarantee that it will be returned to you. We assure you, however, that your pet will sleep on a clean cushioned mattress with blankets. Clean bedding is provided daily and changed if soiled.

All surgical patients are required to spend the night following surgery in the hospital. This is to ensure adequate pain management and to monitor for complications of anesthesia and/or surgery. The length of stay in the hospital following surgery varies, depending on the type of surgery performed (your doctor will be able to provide an estimated length of stay).

The Veterinary Hospitals provide 24-hour care to all of our in-patients. Most animals recovering from surgery are initially placed in the intensive care unit. Routine post-operative care consists of pain management, fluid therapy, IV medications as needed, and monitoring of vital parameters. Advanced services also provided in the ICU include oxygen therapy, continuous blood pressure and heart monitoring, and life support (ventilator) therapy.

We have a large variety of pet food s available to feed in-patients (Brands: Hills/ Science Diet, Waltham, Eukanuba/Iams, Purina). However, if your pet is on a special diet, please make the student and doctor aware of this. If we do not carry your pet’s brand of food, you may want to bring along a supply (average 3 days).

Please bring any medications your pet is currently receiving.

Communication

We understand the anxiety associated with surgery and are committed to keeping you well-informed while your pet is in the hospital. Developing good client communication skills is an essential part of veterinary education. Therefore, the student assigned to your pet will call you 2- times a day (morning and evening, unless otherwise agreed upon by you) to provide an update. While the hospital is not equipped to accept calls for status updates between 5pm and 8am, should significant changes in your pet’s status occur at any time of the day or night, the doctor will call you immediately and discuss anticipated prognosis and changes in cost estimate.

Rechecks

When your pet is discharged from the hospital, you will be informed of any required rechecks. All surgical patients will be discharged with an Elizabethan collar that must be worn until the skin sutures or staples are removed, 10-14 days after surgery.