Service Image

Dog Surgery

You're likely a bit anxious if you've been told that your canine companion needs surgery. Chances are, you've turned to the web for answers, and we're glad you found us. At Aspen Veterinary Clinic, we want to ensure you're getting the critical facts you need to give your dog the best care, especially when it comes to something as serious as surgery. To avoid misinformation from well-meaning but misinformed pet bloggers and other pet parents, we've taken FAQs about surgery for dogs and answered them as thoroughly and accurately as possible.

If you're looking for a highly qualified veterinarian in Flagstaff, Arizona, with advanced training in surgery, Aspen Veterinary Clinic can help. Our team would be happy to help you decide if surgery is the best option for your dog or provide a second opinion if surgery has been recommended to you by a different clinic. Please call us at 928-526-2423 or visit our website at to request an appointment.

What do I need to know before my dog has surgery?

You'll want to know what to expect before and after surgery and how you can help your dog during recovery. Depending on the type of surgery, this could mean that you need to take certain precautions and some extra time to help them heal. You'll likely want to prepare a small area for your dog to recover that's quiet and away from any other pets or children.

Will my dog need lab work done before having surgery?

Yes. Our veterinarians require their patients to have lab work before surgery to ensure surgery is as safe as possible for their canine patients. We want to understand their overall metabolic stability going into the procedure so that we can take any precautions that may be indicated.

What will my veterinarian be looking for in that blood work?

Blood work can give us a huge amount of information before surgery and helps your veterinarian choose a customized anesthetic protocol for your dog and many other surgical considerations. As an example, we verify your pet's red blood cell count and platelet count to ensure your pet's blood will appropriately clot, as that is critical in surgery.

Your veterinarian will also evaluate your dog's organ function and other values, such as:

  • Kidneys
  • Liver
  • Blood sugar
  • Electrolyte levels
  • Pancreas
  • Thyroid

We check these values to know how the anesthesia will be metabolized. The pre-surgery lab work will also tell us if there are other significant abnormalities that would give us concern about the dog's overall health. The results will tell us whether their anesthetic risk is much higher or if we need to change our plans for their procedure.

Doesn't my dog need a specialist for surgery?

Dogs don't need to see specialists for most surgeries. At Aspen Veterinary Clinic, our veterinarians have advanced training in soft tissue surgery (GI surgery, bladder surgery, mass removals, and cancer), orthopedic surgery (TPLO and patella luxation knee surgery, and fracture repairs), oral and dental surgery, as well as eye surgery and much more. Our team works closely with many veterinary specialists and would not hesitate to refer you and your pet to one of these veterinary surgeons if we feel your pet will have a better surgical outcome or if specialized equipment is necessary, such as for spinal surgeries, cataract surgery or open heart surgeries, but this is typically on a case by case basis.

Who will be monitoring my dog while under anesthesia?

The most anxiety-producing part of canine surgery and dental procedures is when the pet owner comes to grips with the fact that their dog has to have anesthesia. As veterinarians, we understand your concerns, take anesthesia very seriously, and have set numerous protocols and safeguards in place to ensure the highest anesthetic standard of care. At Aspen Veterinary Clinic, we will always have a trained anesthesia technician and veterinarian dedicated to monitoring your dog throughout its entire procedure, before surgery, and during recovery. Many of our technicians are registered veterinary technicians who have additional schooling, licensing, and particular training in anesthesia, and they're the ones who will be monitoring most anesthetic procedures. Additionally, our doctors customize your pet's anesthetic protocol based on age, breed, and risk while using the safest anesthetic medications available. Lastly, every pet, whether sedated or under anesthesia, is connected to the industry's state-of-the-art monitoring equipment to allow real-time monitoring of your pet's vital signs, such as heart rate, respiratory rate, temperature, blood pressure, and more.

How long will my dog take to recover from surgery?

Recovery times vary and depend on what type of surgery your dog will have performed. Most soft tissue surgeries, spays and neuters, and wound repairs take approximately 14 days for complete healing. For oral surgery, complete healing can take one to two weeks depending on the extraction level. For more complicated procedures, such as severe wound repairs or large mass removals, healing may require more than the average 14 day recovery. For most orthopedic surgery involving bones or joints, recovery can take 6, 8, 12 weeks, or even up to six months to heal fully. Your veterinarian will discuss your pet's individual recovery based on age, activity, and the procedure being performed.

How can I help my dog recover at home after surgery?

One of the most critical things is paying close attention to the instructions from your doctor, which you'll receive after their procedure. Those instructions include information about medications, diet, and activity level. Activity restriction can be vital to the healing processes, and if your veterinarian requires your dog to wear an e-collar or a cone, you need to adhere to those guidelines. The instructions will also contain information on any follow-up that would be indicated following the procedure. Most complications following surgery arise when pets do not adhere to the activity restrictions and/or the e-collar or cone requirements set forth by your veterinarian, so it is critical that you understand and follow these recommendations. Again, creating a quiet area away from the hustle and bustle of the rest of your home can go a long way in helping your dog recover.

Suppose you're looking for a highly trained veterinarian in Flagstaff, Arizona, with advanced training in surgery. In that case, we'd love to see your dog and evaluate their need for surgery, so please call us right away at 928-526-2423.