Engelberg Kristy Animal Hospital LLC

181 Kings Highway
Fairfield, CT 06825




What You Need to Know Before Your Pet's Upcoming Surgery


Many people have questions about various aspects of their pet's surgery, and we hope this information will help.  It also explains the decisions you will need to make before your pet's upcoming surgery.

Is the anesthetic safe?

Today's modern anesthetic monitors have made surgery much safer than in the past.  Here at Engelberg Kristy Animal Hospital LLC, we do a thorough physical exam on your pet before administering anesthetics, to ensure that a fever or other illness won't be a problem.  We also adjust the amount and type of anesthetic used depending on the health of your pet. 


Preanesthetic blood testing is important in reducing the risk of anesthesia.  Every pet needs blood testing before surgery to ensure that the liver and kidneys can handle the anesthetic.  Even apparently healthy animals can have serious organ system problems that cannot be detected without blood testing.  If there is a problem, it is much better to find it before it causes anesthetic or surgical complications.  Animals that have minor dysfunction will handle the anesthetic better if they receive IV fluids during surgery.  If serious problems are detected, surgery can be postponed until the problem is corrected.

We offer three levels of in-house blood testing before surgery, which we will go over with you when you bring your pet in.  Our doctors prefer the more comprehensive screen, because it gives them the most information to ensure the safety of your pet.  For geriatric or ill pets, additional blood tests, electrocardiograms, or x-rays may be required before surgery as well.

It is important that surgery be done on an empty stomach to reduce the risk of vomiting during and after anesthesia.  You will need to withhold food for at least 8 to 10 hours before surgery.  Water can be left down for the pet until the morning of surgery.

Will my pet have stitches?

For many surgeries, we use absorbable sutures underneath the skin.  These will dissolve on their own, and do not need to be removed later.  Some surgeries, especially tumor removals, do require skin stitches.  With either type of suture, you will need to keep an eye on the incision for swelling or discharge.  Most dogs and cats do not lick excessively or chew at the incision, but this is an occasional problem you will also need to watch for.  If there are skin sutures, these will usually be removed 10 to 14 days after surgery.  You will also need to limit your pet's activity level for a time and no baths are allowed for the first 10 days after surgery.

Will my pet be in pain?

Anything that causes pain in people can be expected to cause pain in animals.  Pets may not show the same symptoms of pain as people do; they usually don't whine or cry, but you can be sure they feel it.  Pain medications needed will depend on the surgery performed.  Major procedures require more pain relief than things like minor lacerations.

For dogs, we may recommend an oral anti-inflamatory the day after surgery and several days after to lessen the risk of discomfort and swelling.  We use newer medications, which are less likely to cause stomach upset and can be given even the morning of surgery.  The cost of the medication ranges from $10 to $15, depending on the size of your dog.

Because cats do not tolerate standard pain medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or Tylenol, we are limited in what we can give them.  Recent advances in pain medications have allowed for better pain control in cats than ever before.  We administer a pain injection 10 minutes prior to surgery.  After surgery, pain medication is given on a case by case basis.  Any animal that appears painful will receive additional pain medication.

We use narcotic patches for some surgeries in dogs as well.  The cost will depend on the size of the dog.  Injectable pain medications may also be used after surgery on both dogs and cats.  Providing whatever pain relief is appropriate is a humane and caring thing to do for your pet.

What other decisions do I need to make?

While your pet is under anesthesia, it is the ideal time to perform other minor procedures, such as dentistry, ear cleaning, or implanting an identification microchip.  If you would like an estimate for these extra services, please call ahead of time.  This is especially important if the person dropping the pet off for surgery is not the primary decision maker for the pet's care.

When you bring your pet in for surgery, we will need to 5 to 10 minutes of time to fill out paperwork and make decisions on the blood testing and other options available. 



There are also options for payment assistance such as:




At Engelberg Kristy Animal Hospital, our top priorities are providing your furry family member with the highest quality medical care, and keeping you up to date on the very latest pet health information.  


We strive to keep your pet healthy and happy for his or her entire lifetime, but unfortunately, there are certain things you just can't plan for or predict. Major illnesses or injuries are always unexpected, and unfortunately, like many veterinary practices, we often see responsible pet owners struggle with the costs associated with treating these conditions. Pet insurance is one way pet owners receive help with these unexpected costs. And after researching all the options, we have decided to recommend Trupanion pet insurance for our clients. (Please note: we do NOT receive any compensation for this recommendation.)


Trupanion offers simple and effective protection for the high risk and high cost of unexpected accidents and illnesses that go above and beyond the routine care that can be planned and budgeted for. If your pet becomes sick or injured, Trupanion pays 90% of the actual cost of treatment, less the exam fee and chosen deductible, with no dollar limits on reimbursement. This includes surgeries, diagnostic tests, medications and hospital stays as well as therapeutic pet foods and dietary supplements purchased through our hospital. One simple plan provides your pet unlimited lifetime coverage for all unexpected accidents and illnesses, including no limits on hereditary* or congenital conditions. 


*Hip dysplasia is the only hereditary condition that is not included in Trupanion's core policy, but may be added through purchase of Trupanion's Complementary Care Package. This optional package also includes: acupuncture, hydrotherapy, rehabilitative therapy (including cold laser), feline kidney transplants and behavioral modifications, training and therapy. 


We hope that your pet will live a long life, free from accidents or illnesses that require medical treatment. But because we know pets get sick and injured (unfortunately, we see it every day), we recommend that you consider reviewing the benefits of Trupanion's coverage. Please call 1.800.569.7913, or visit Trupanion.com for more information and to get a free quote. We also recommend that you review their policy (accessible on their website) before enrolling.


If you are interested in learning more about Trupanion, or pet insurance in general, please ask our staff for more details. With a complete veterinary exam, your pet is eligible to receive 30 free days of coverage from Trupanion with no limits and no waiting periods.