Surgery Department

What is a veterinary surgeon?

Veterinary surgeons are veterinarians who have completed an extra 4 years of training in surgery. Specialized surgery training encompasses all forms of surgery including orthopedic, soft tissue, oncologic (cancer) and minimally invasive procedures.

Our veterinary surgeon, Dr. Kaleigh Peters, completed her surgical residency at Foster Hospital for Small Animals at Tufts University, which is one of the top surgical programs for veterinarians in the US. Learn more about Dr. Peters by visiting her Staff Profile.

 

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Types of Surgery

Orthopedic Surgery:

This field of surgery includes fracture repairs, ligament/tendon stabilization (such as TPLO for cranial cruciate tears) and congenital corrections for bone and joint abnormalities.

Soft Tissue Surgery:

This field of surgery includes any thoracic or abdominal surgery. These surgeries can be performed as a routine procedure or as an emergency.

Common thoracic surgeries include lung lobectomy (removing damaged or cancerous lung), cleaning infection from the chest cavity (such as bite wound infection or migrating foreign material).

Common abdominal surgeries include splenectomy (removing the spleen), liver lobectomy (removing lobe of the liver), gall bladder removal, gastrointestinal foreign material removal, urinary bladder stone removal and gastropexy (to prevent/treat GDV- bloat).

Oncologic Surgery:

This field of surgery includes removal of any cancerous growth. These grows/tumors can be external (skin) or internal and growing within a bone, or an organ in the chest or abdominal cavity.

The surgeon is trained how to take special precautions with surgical technique to help minimize or avoid cancer spread, and to ensure adequate margins are taken when able- to help yield a cure for certain cancers.

Common oncologic surgeries include amputation of a limb (for bone tumors), splenectomy, lung lobectomy, liver lobectomy, intestinal resection and anastomosis (removing segment of bowel that has a tumor).

Non-Surgical Chronic Orthopedic Case Management:

If your pet has an orthopedic disease that cannot be fixed with surgery, or if surgery is not an option for your family, we can help with that!

Veterinary surgeons are trained in diagnosing and managing chronic orthopedic diseases such as osteoarthritis, hip dysplasia and congenital malformations. Consulting with the surgeon to discuss management of these diseases can be very helpful in mitigating progression, managing pain and helping improve your pet’s quality of life.

 

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What to Expect

Consultation:

Dr. Peters sees surgical consultations as scheduled through the weekdays. Once an appointment is made, our client services team contacts your primary veterinarian to ensure we have copies of records and imaging (x-rays) to enable Dr. Peters to fully evaluate your pet’s condition both historically and currently. Asking your veterinarian to send these records can help expedite this process.

When you and your pet come in for consultation, you will first meet one of our surgery technicians, who will gather information in regards to your concerns and goals of the visit. Vitals of your pet will also be taken at this time. Please keep in mind that although we have requested copies of your records from previous exams and treatments, we request information directly from you (the owner), as this helps ensure we do not miss any important information and keeps us all on the same page in regards to you and your pet’s needs and expectations.

After the surgery technician gathers preliminary information, Dr. Peters will meet with you and evaluate your pet. A full exam may or may not be able to be performed within the exam room. Some pets may need to be taken out of the exam room for full orthopedic evaluation or diagnostics (blood work, x-rays, ultrasound). Dr. Peters will explain her exam findings/concerns and give recommendations accordingly. Within that visit you will be provided a financial estimate for any diagnostics or treatments recommended.

Surgical Intake and Admission to the Hospital:

If your pet is having a surgical procedure then there will be a drop of time scheduled, typically in the morning. Your pet is required to fast for surgery and the details of fasting will be given from a surgery team member based on Dr. Peter’s recommendation.

At intake you will be asked to review finances and sign consent for the procedure needed.

Your pet will be kept in our inpatient facilities, which is either a cage or large run with comfy bedding and 24hr direct supervision.

Surgical patients are induced for anesthesia in our anesthesia suite, which is a dedicated wing of the hospital that allows for calm, comfortable and advanced anesthesia monitoring.

Our surgical suites are a state of the art facility with advanced monitoring, surgical equipment and sterile/aseptic technique. Your pet will have a dedicated anesthesia technician that monitors your pet closely through out the surgical procedure and recovery.

Surgical/anesthesia recovery takes place in our Intensive Care Unit (ICU), where there is direct care from an ICU technician 24/7.

Our ICU technicians are able to give update over the phone at any time in the day or night. We encourage you to call for an update at any time. They can also facilitate visitations as recommended by Dr. Peters.

Dr. Peters will update you about your pet’s condition at least once a day and more frequently as needed, especially if there are any changes or concerns.

Surgical Discharge:

Once your pet is comfortable on oral pain medications, able to eat/drink and potty outside, they are ready to be discharged for continued recovery at home. This time frame can vary for each individual and can range from just an overnight stay to a several day hospitalization. The amount of time needed in the ICU for recovery is discussed daily with Dr. Peters.

Discharges are scheduled to allow time for Dr. Peters and/or a technician to go over your pet’s home care, medications, goals, expectations and follow up. Please plan for an hour discharge appointment.

 

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We want you to be comfortable with your pet’s care

Finding out your pet needs surgery can be scary. We strive to do all we can to ensure you are comfortable with your pet’s care and surgical plan. Please do not hesitate to ask any questions and express any concerns you may have. We are also happy to provide a tour of our facilities if you would like to see where your pet will be cared for.

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