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Surgery

Surgery Image 1

At Kennedy Veterinary Services we take surgery very seriously.  For small animals we provide a full range of surgical treatments from routine (spays, neuters, skin lesion removal, laceration repairs, abscess care, etc.) as well as more complicated soft tissue procedures (e.g. caesarian section, exploratory celiotomy, thoracotomy, gastrointestinal surgery, tumor excision, trauma surgery, reconstructive procedures, etc.) and many types of orthopedic procedures (external skeletal fixation and other types of fracture repair, bulla osteotomy, knee joint stabilization, amputation, etc.). Surgery 1In many cases, where specialized surgical techniques or instrumentation are required, we can refer your pet to a board certified surgeon (we recommend Veterinary Surgical Specialists in Spokane, WA or specialists at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Washington State University).  Special note:  We have experience with, and frequently perform many types of difficult, technically demanding surgeries. These surgical options are only offered for situations that we feel we have the training, experience, and ability to perform.  Despite this we want to make it very clear that referral to a board certified veterinary surgeon is always available for each and every case.

We also offer a range of surgical procedures for horses and livestock including gelding (castration), dehorning, laceration repair, and caesarian section for cows, sheep, and goats.  Some types of orthopedic procedures are available for small ruminants (sheep & goats).

Surgery 2Surgeries are performed in a dedicated surgery room that is not used for any other purpose than clean surgery. It is equipped with surgical monitors that can display heart rate and rythym, blood oxygen saturation levels, respiration rate and rythym, body temperature and blood pressure. A circulating water heating pad is placed below each patient during surgery to prevent hypothermia. Most importantly, veterinary technicians monitor the patients' level of anesthesia and condition during the procedure. During technically difficult surgeries a veterinary technician will often scrub, gown and glove to assist. The surgeon always scrubs and dons cap, mask, gown and gloves prior to surgery. All technicians in the surgery room must wear cap, mask and surgical scrubs as a minimum.

All animals undergoing surgery receive analgesics to reduce post-surgical pain. The type of analgesic treatment will vary depending upon the case. Routine elective surgeries such as spays and neuters, because of the short surgical time and small incision size will receive an injectable analgesic while at the clinic. For some animals that have been spayed or neutered we may also send home an oral analgesic, if we feel it is necessary or upon request. All other surgeries will have antiinflammatory/analgesic medications dispensed routinely.

Surgery 3In addtion to these forms of pain control we will often employ local anesthetic techniques in conjunction with general anesthesia. New methodologies in this field are rapidly emerging and we take an active interest in staying current with new methods of surgical and post surgical analgesia.

An often overlooked factor in surgical pain is the role of tissue handling by the surgeon. Overall pain is reduced and healing time is shortened by surgical techniques that are efficient (shorten surgical time) and that minimize trauma to the tissues. At Kennedy Veterinary Services our goal is to use the most efficient and least traumatic surgical treatment we can for each situation.

Surgery 4A Message From Dr. Kennedy About “Routine Surgeries” – Spays (ovariohysterectomy) and neuters (castration) are considered routine surgeries in veterinary medicine because they are frequently and commonly performed by general practitioners (regular vets).  Most veterinarians are quite practiced and competent performing these surgeries.  Because these procedures are so common, and also because the fees collected for these procedures are relatively low compared to other types of surgery, a common misconception occurs that these procedures do not require much skill.  This simply is not true.  With every spay or neuter procedure that I perform I try to learn something new and improve my performance.  I have found through years of experience that the best way to accomplish this is through present moment awareness.  It sounds simple but in reality it requires much practice.

In any type of repetitive activity it is easy to let your mind wander, or to put it another way go on autopilot.  When I perform routine surgeries I make each spay or neuter my sole focus at that time.  Talking in the surgery room is kept to an absolute minimum and there is no musical sound track playing in the background. I do not get bored with any type of surgery no matter how many times I have performed it.  If I have the privilege of performing surgery on your pet, routine or otherwise, I want to assure you that, at that time, there will be nothing more important to me.

SPAYS AND NEUTERS

Because of our close working relationship with the area’s animal welfare community, we are frequently contacted by people who are looking for low cost or discounted prices for dog and/or cat spays and neuters.  We firmly believe in affordable spay and neuter surgeries because of the problems associated with pet overpopulation, but we do not provide special discounts for individuals.  Our standard prices are already extremely competitive for our area, without reducing quality or surgical standards.  While seemingly a contradiction, this has resulted from a concerted effort to completely understand the economic and technical aspects of providing high volume spay and neuter services for animal welfare organizations.  The resultant knowledge has allowed us to provide economical, high quality elective surgery for our regular clients as well.

Surgery 5We have looked long and hard at every aspect of providing high quality spay and neuter surgeries without adding excessive or prohibitive cost.  Through extensive analysis of this problem we have developed a highly trained staff and protocols that maximize our efficiency in handling large numbers of surgeries.  There are no cost savings from purchasing lower quality suture material, nor do we scrimp on analgesic, preanesthetic and anesthetic drugs, surgical packs, or utilize lower level patient or surgeon preparation for surgery.  Dr. Kennedy gloves and gowns in (cap, mask and gown) on all elective surgical procedures, with the exception of cat neuters*.

Surgery 6We do not require preanesthetic blood work for all spay and neuter patients.  That being said, rapid onsite preanesthetic profiles are available on request for any patient.  If the presurgical examination indicates that there may be an increased risk, for a particular patient, Dr. Kennedy will not proceed with anesthesia until the owner has been consulted and the appropriate tests performed.  When working with young healthy animals, as most of our spay and neuter patients are, the presurgical physical examination has been shown to be far more effective detecting clinical problems pertinent to safety of anesthesia and surgery than presurgical blood testing.  If you want presurgical blood testing for your pet it will be provided. We simply do not make it mandatory for every case because experience and statistical analysis question its justification**. IV fluid therapy is also available for any pet during anesthesia and surgery but it is not required in young healthy animals having elective surgery because of the extremely low risk of complications, the efficiency of our surgical team and the short anesthetic time.  Because of our efficient surgical team and protocols the amount of time that your pet will be under anesthesia for elective surgery is short (sorry to be redundant but it is an important point).  Anesthetic monitoring equipment is used during anesthesia and a veterinary technician also monitors the patient during the entire procedure.  Perioperative analgesics are used in all cases.

Decreasing surgery time, if done skillfully, decreases tissue trauma and the risk of infection.  Surgical skill and efficiency result from experience and dedication.  It is a common misconception that high volume veterinary surgery must be related to poor quality.  In any other professional field, from heart surgery to piloting commercial aircraft, it is generally accepted that more experience is better.  Our prices are competitive because we have worked hard to understand how to make them so.

*Cat neuters (castrations) are performed without full surgical gowning (gloves are used) because the procedure is minimally invasive, does not require suturing, and is very fast.  Anesthesia, surgical skin prep and perioperative analgesia are standard, however.

**Alef M, Von Praun F, Oechtering G. Is routine preanesthetic haematological & biochemical screening justified in dogs?  Vet. Anaesth Analg. January, 2008; 0(0).


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