So your pet may need surgery?

Your primary veterinarian has told you that your pet needs a specialized assessment. We understand that you may be concerned about the process that you and your pet are about to undertake.

Rest assured, the VetSurg team, led by board-certified veterinary surgeon Dr. Ian Gordon Holsworth is here for you.

Your initial visit at VetSurg will allow us to meet you and your pet. Dr. Holsworth will examine your pet carefully so that he understands the nuances of its case. The doctor will take time to answer all of your questions and discuss an appropriate and customized treatment plan for the very best results.

What you can expect

  • A state-of-the-art surgical hospital equipped with the latest surgical and imaging equipment.
  • A team of caring and dedicated technicians, nurses, overnight caregivers and professional office staff available for you and your pet.
  • During surgery, a dedicated anesthesia nurse specifically trained to monitor your pet’s vitals and continually report to the surgeon assuring your pet’s safety at all times.
  • A tranquil patient lounge and serene outdoor sitting area to keep you and your pet calm and comfortable during your visits.
  • Our highly trained surgical staff providing safe and comfortable overnight care with the surgeon a phone call away.
  • Successful results – We encourage you to read some of our patient’s stories.

Self-referrals

We appreciate that you love and care for your pet and want the very best for him or her. If you believe that your pet needs to be seen by a surgical specialist, we are happy to make an appointment with you.

Keep in mind however, that we strongly believe in a team approach. The best results are achieved for your pet when we collaborate and work closely with your family veterinarian to form a cohesive healthcare team. As such, we will always communicate any findings and treatments that we provide directly to your primary veterinarian. Both you and your pet benefit from this team approach.

Payment options

We accept cash, Visa, American Express, MasterCard, Discover and Care Credit. Our front office staff will also help you by providing any patient paperwork that your pet insurance carrier requires.

What to expect on surgery day

If it has been determined that your pet requires surgery, you will have been provided with pre-operative instructions that help you and your pet prepare for surgery.

Once surgery day is here you can expect to arrive at the hospital between 7:30 am and 8:00 am. Please remember not to feed your pet after 10pm the evening before surgery. NOTE: All food given to your pet the day before surgery should be decreased by half so as to avoid unnecessary excrement on surgery day. Additionally, all kibble the day before surgery should be pre-soaked before giving to your pet or only feed wet dog food.

Dry dog food digests very slowly and the stomach may retain this food for up to 18 hours. Soaking kibble in warm water will prevent this occurrence. Water is ok until the morning of surgery.

If your pet is on a special diet, please bring the food with you along with any medications. We have plenty of comfy dog beds and blankets for the pets, however if you would like to bring a special blanket or comfort-item please feel free to do so. Please label any items you bring with your pet’s name.

We know that you love your pet very much and are entrusting your pet in our care. Please know, that we will take very good care of him or her while in our care. Of course, you are welcome to call us at any time to check on the status of your pet’s surgery and recovery. We will of course call you following surgery to give you a status update and will provide you with a scheduled pick-up time the day after surgery.

Take comfort in knowing that we have an excellent, caring and highly trained staff providing safe and comfortable overnight care for all of our patients.

Forms

The following forms are provided for your ease. Simply download, print and complete.

FAQs

Below are some of the most common questions we receive from pet parents.

  1. Do I have to schedule a consultation prior to my pet’s surgery?
    A consultation with Dr. Holsworth is required before we can perform surgery on your pet. It is important that a thorough examination is performed to confirm the injury and determine the most appropriate procedure for your pet. We would like to meet you and your pet ahead of time to explain the procedure, post-op care, and answer any questions you may have.
  2. How much is my pet’s surgery & what payment options are accepted?
    A surgical estimate will be compiled at the time of your consult. Our estimates are based on your pet’s weight, implants that may be used in the surgery, diagnostic tests, and total number of nights hospitalized. The post-op recheck exams are no charge, but any refilled medications, radiographs, or bandage changes are not included in the surgery cost. We do not offer payment plans, but do accept CareCredit, check, cash, and all major credit cards. We collect a 50% deposit of the estimate the morning of surgery and will collect the remaining balance at the time of discharge.
  3. What tests need to be performed on my pet prior to surgery?
    Bloodwork & urinalysis will be required prior to the surgery. The labwork must be performed within 30 days of the procedure and can be performed at your primary veterinarian’s office or at VetSurg. We recommend that the labwork be performed 1-2 weeks prior to surgery so that if there are any abnormalities, we can address them ahead of time. In some cases, Dr. Holsworth will have the pre-operative radiographs performed ahead of time to allow appropriate time for surgical planning.
  4. What time should I have my pet admitted to the hospital the morning of the surgery? What are the fasting recommendations? What is the timing of my pet’s surgery?
    Routinely, we have patients admitted to the hospital between 7:30 -8am. Your pet should have no food after 6pm the night before; water is ok until first thing in the morning.It is important that we have our patients admitted early to allow appropriate timing for pre-op exams, diagnostics, catheter placement & IV fluid administration. Timing of your pet’s surgery will be based on how many procedures we have that day, equipment factors, and triaging any urgent cases. We will be able to provide you with a time estimate the morning of the procedure and will call you at the beginning of your pet’s surgery.
  5. How many nights will my pet need to stay hospitalized? Will there be a care provider with my pet overnight?
    We have most of our patients stay the night of the surgery for monitoring and pain management. If your pet is having an orthopedic procedure on more than one limb or an extensive soft tissue procedure, we may want to keep your pet overnight for 1-3 nights. We will prepare you ahead of time of the recommended hospital stay and will discharge your pet as soon as we feel that they are ready to go home. We have patient caretakers monitoring patients overnight at all times, and they also have access to Dr. Holsworth if there are any concerns. Patients are usually discharged between 12pm – 5pm.
  6. How should I prepare for my pet’s return home from surgery? What should I expect during the first 48 hours my pet is home?

    The first 48 hours can be the most challenging, as patients are on multiple medications and need time adjusting to their new routine. If your schedule allows, we recommend having adequate time at home to be with your pet for the first day or two.

    • It is very important to have the crate, pen, or small area ready for your pet’s arrival. We will assist you in getting your pet into the vehicle to go home. If you can, bring someone with you to sit with your pet if you will be traveling with him or her in the back of the car and not in a crate. You know your pet best and how active they usually are in the car.
    • We recommend having piddle pads available, as your pet may have accidents with urination and/or soft stools. They may also need to be walked outside more frequently. It is common for patients not to have a bowel movement for several days after surgery. A spoonful of canned pumpkin can be added to their food to help with constipation.
    • Your pet may be on several medications that will need to be administered 2-3 times a day. These can usually be given in a tasty treat (peanut butter, pill pockets, cheese, turkey slices).
  7. How do I walk my pet after orthopedic surgery for bathroom breaks?
    Bathroom breaks should consist of a 5-10 minute leashed walk outside, several times a day. If your pet has a cast or splint on the surgical limb, please place a plastic cover over the bottom to prevent moisture from entering the bandage material. If your pet had a hind limb surgery (knee, hip, or fracture repairs) and is over 20 pounds, we may send you home with a belly sling to assist your pet in walking. This is used to prevent slipping on the surgical limb and is a ‘safety net’. Use the sling to walk your pet from the house to the usual potty area, and then it can be removed to allow your pet to sniff and relieve themselves. Put the sling back on for the walk back into the house.
  8. How long does my pet need to be activity restricted after orthopedic surgery? How large should the crate be?
    Depending on the orthopedic surgery that was performed, your pet may need to stay in the crate for up to 3-6 weeks. Activity restriction is imperative to the healing process and to prevent complications. It is important that your pet is comfortable in the crate and has enough room to turn around, lie comfortably, and wear a cone collar for the first 10-14 days until the incision has healed. A pen can also be used, but should be carefully considered if there is no cover, as some patients will try to jump over. Please see the ‘Post-Operative: Orthopedic’ handout for crate specifications. Your pet can spend time outside of the crate with you, but must always be on a leash and under direct supervision.
  9. How many recheck visit will be needed following surgery? Are there any instructions prior to the appointments?
    Typically, patients are rechecked 10-14 days after surgery to make sure the incision is healing appropriately. If your pet has had orthopedic surgery, we may be removing or changing the cast/splint. A mild injectable sedation is administered prior to cast removal, so please do NOT feed your pet at least 4 hours prior to the appointment. Please bring your cone collar and sling to this appointment. We prefer to schedule these appointments at VetSurg, but if arrangements cannot be made, we may recommend that you see your primary veterinarian. Recheck radiographs may also be recommended and usually scheduled at 3-5 weeks post-op. Injectable sedation will be administered prior to the radiographs, so please do NOT feed your pet at least 4 hours prior to the appointment.

Frequently asked pre-consult questions

  1. What is the cost of an initial consultation?
    The initial consultation is $140. We will provide you with an estimate for any additional diagnostics that may be recommended at the time of the appointment, once the examination has been completed.
  2. Do I need a referral to schedule an appointment with Dr. Holsworth?
    Primary veterinarians refer most of our cases to us and we have established relationships to work together for the best outcome of the patient. We strongly recommend that you see your primary veterinarian prior to coming directly to VetSurg.
  3. Does VetSurg do common veterinary care or have an emergency service?
    As a small surgical practice, our focus is on providing our clients and patients with excellent surgical treatment and post-op management following elective procedures. At this time, we are not equipped to provide emergency surgical intervention, as we have limitations on our surgery days (Monday-Wednesday) and 24 hour care. In certain cases, we may be able to provide surgical management in a timely manner with the cooperation directly from our referring veterinarians. We do not perform dentals, wellness exams, vaccines, or other routine services and recommend you see your primary veterinarian for these treatments.
  4. What should I expect at the initial consultation for my pet?
    We recommend that you arrive 10 minutes early for your appointment to complete the registration form (or print online & complete ahead of time) and allow adequate time to be checked in. Please fast your pet at least 4 hours prior to the appointment, in the event that radiographs need to be performed. If you have had any previously performed radiographs or lab tests, please contact the facility and have them emailed to us for the appointment. A brief history will be collected from one of our staff members. Dr. Holsworth will perform a thorough examination of your pet and review any previous radiographs performed.
  5. Can previous diagnostics (Radiographs/Xrays, Blood analysis, Urine analysis, CT scan, MRI scan) be used for the consultation?

    Many patients we see have had some previous imagery performed. Radiographs, ultrasound studies and in some cased previous CT’s or MRI’s. It is the client’s responsibility to supply these studies for our review prior to, or at the same time as consultation. CT and MRI scans have to be transferred the week prior to the consult to allow us to add them to our image review programs and review them appropriately. If needed we can assist in sourcing those studies from the other veterinary services involved but we must have sufficient notice to do this.

    If the xrays or ultrasound is out-of-date in terms of the pathological process we are examining for we will recommend further imaging. If the films are not of sufficient quality for our purpose or the patient positioning is not what we require we will we also require further imaging. If at all possible we try to utilize previous diagnostics (x-rays, ultrasounds, bloodwork, urine analysis), but this is not always possible and repeat diagnostics may be needed. Most imagery studies at VetSurg will require some form of sedation to maximize patient cooperation and image quality. Therefore, it is necessary that all patients prior to consultation are fasted for a minimum of 8 hours to avoid sedation induced stomach issues ( regurgitation, vomiting, lung aspiration).

  6. Will any radiographs or procedures be performed the day of the consultation?
    If any radiographs are recommended, we can usually perform these the same day, but ask that you allow 1-3 hours for these diagnostics. Injectable sedation may be required, so we please ask that you fast your pet 8-12 hours prior to the appointment. Sedation allows us to appropriately position your pet for specific diagnostic views and reduces the risk of injury due to anxiety. In most cases, we do not perform surgery the same day of the consult unless otherwise organized.