Pet surgery can be a stressful event for both you and your pet. The surgery may come as the result of an acute injury or accident, a long-term condition, or a progressive illness. But, no matter the cause, it is difficult to put your beloved animal under the knife. Choosing a veterinary surgeon may add to that stress, as it is just one more decision you have to make at an already difficult time. However, knowing that your furry friend is under the care of a vet you trust will make the situation that much easier. Here are a few guidelines to help you find the best veterinary surgeon for your pet’s needs:
- Explore your vet’s website. Oftentimes, your vet’s web page will list which types of procedures they perform in-house, saving you the trouble of searching for another doctor. At the Animal Medical Center of Somerset we perform a variety of pet surgery services including spaying, neutering, exploratory surgeries, and bladder surgeries.
- Talk to your vet. As your pet’s routine provider, your vet is in the best position to recommend the best course of action. Likely, the two of you have already established a trusting relationship, and he or she knows exactly what type of care your pet needs. Most likely your veterinarian can perform standard procedures, such as spaying and neutering, but may or may not perform more specialized procedures. If not, your vet can recommend the best person for that particular pet surgery.
- Look for a board-certified surgeon. The American College of Veterinary Surgeons maintains a database of board-certified surgeons. These are vets who have completed standard veterinary training, plus an additional one-year internship followed by a three-year residency. Depending on your pet’s needs, a specialist might be right for you. When you choose one from this list you can rest assured that they are qualified to perform the pet surgery.
- Discuss the procedure with the potential surgeon. Whether you stick with your local vet or consider a specialist, sit down with him or her to talk about the surgery beforehand. The vet can discuss what will happen during the surgery, the anticipated outcome and estimated recovery time, and any potential risks. The surgeon should also discuss with you the potential for failure, how to care for your pet during recovery, and what types of pain management solutions are available. He or she can explain to you how your pet will be monitored while under anesthesia. At the Animal Medical Center, we take surgical monitoring for pets very seriously and use pulse oximetry, blood pressure, and electrocardiogram equipment to continuously monitor your pet during surgery.
- Look for word-of-mouth recommendations. While your vet can give a great recommendation from a medical standpoint, family and friends may be able to provide information on the reputation and customer service of other veterinarians in your area; what’s the word on the street? Asking around will help you narrow down your choices when seeking the right surgeon.
These tips should help you find a surgeon with whom you feel comfortable. After all, your pet is a part of the family, and his health and safety are of the utmost importance. Trust your gut and continue searching until you find the vet whose knowledge, experience, and professional manner suit you and your pet. With the right veterinary specialist, you can feel confident that your pet will be well-cared for and comfortable during and after pet surgery.