Four-legged friends in the hospital

Enzo and his owner have visited the ambulance of small animal surgery and after a detailed clinical orthopedic examination it is clear that the Boxer dog must be operated on. At the agreed operating day, Enzo’s owner confidently puts her four-legged friend into the care of small animal surgery at eight in the morning. Even though she knows that her four-year-old dog in the OR team headed by Prof. Britta Vidoni is in the best hands, and Enzo – alert and curious – lets herself be led to the nurse’s side as a matter of course, the thoughts can not be suppressed: what happens when the door closes? “My PETER” has talked to Dr. Armin Pirker more in demand.

Question: What is the usual procedure when a patient is admitted to the clinic?

Dr. Pirker: When the dog arrives at the station, he is first given a venous access after a loving welcome, on the one hand, if necessary to carry out a blood test before the anesthesia, on the other, to be able to gently initiate the anesthesia later. We try to make the surgical plan as optimal as possible with short waiting times for the patients. Approximately 60 minutes before the operation, the patient is taken to the anesthetic preparation by the ward for further clinical examination. Then, with an injection via the venous access, the induction of anesthesia begins. Once the animal sleeps, it is intubated and artificially ventilated. This ensures that the patient receives sufficient oxygen during the entire operation. The anesthetic itself is obtained, as in human medicine, with an anesthetic gas. Depending on the indication, different methods are combined. For example, when performing a posterior extremity operation, as with Enzo, we often use epidural anesthesia, a cross-stitch. This local pain blockade considerably lowers the necessary total amount of the anesthetic administered and thus also helps to protect the patient.

Is the method of anesthesia always based on the type of surgery?

Dr. Pirker: Yes, we perform anesthesia here similar to that in human medicine. It is tailored to the individual patient. During the entire operation, an anesthetist is on-site to monitor the condition of the patient at the anesthesia tower.

Frequently Asked Questions Are Safe “Can not I stay with him until he sleeps? Or be with him when he wakes up? “

Dr. Pirker: We always try to optimally manage the overall situation for the dog and the owner. 99% of our four-legged patients have the peace away, which is always amazing for me. Strange environment, strangers, clinical manipulations – as a rule, our patients find this all in order and are calm and relaxed. In many cases, patient owners are not nearly as relaxed as their four-legged friends before surgery on their favorite. This unrest can be felt by the animals! They notice that master or mistress are nervous and let themselves be infected by this nervousness. For this reason and because a surgery appointment can also be delayed due to an incoming emergency, the patients at the small animal clinic of the VetmedUni Vienna are usually hospitalized before the operation and walk happily back to their owners , Of course, this system is also flexible if necessary. Especially in aggressive patients, sometimes the handling is very limited, and the presence of the owner in the falling asleep or recovery phase is absolutely necessary.

For some procedures, the dog must stay in the clinic overnight or for a few days. What are the primary reasons for an inpatient stay?

Dr. Pirker: We generally try to get the animals home as early as possible. A major limiting factor is pain, which can be influenced in various ways. Postoperative pain after orthopedic surgeries involving work on the bones or larger soft tissue surgeries often can not be treated with simple painkillers. In these cases, it is necessary to use an intravenous route to treat painkillers such as Administer opiates. These painkillers can not simply be given to the owner; on the one hand, this is not legally permissible and, on the other hand, it is dangerous because one could seriously endanger the animal with an overdose. As long as the patient needs such medication, he has to stay in hospital. After accidents, however, you often have to wait until the intervention can be made at all. An animal with a broken foot and additional massive lung damage can not be operated on right away, the anesthetic would eventually cost him his life. Such a patient has to stabilized first, which also necessitates a hospital stay. Also, patients after spine surgery, e.g. After herniated discs, they must remain stationary for at least as long until they are able to empty urine on their own.

How is the clinical routine for the patient during this time?

Dr. Pirker: There is always someone around the clock! In addition to our doctors, we have a large team of animal keepers, as well as employees in various training phases. Around seven o’clock in the morning, the daily team takes over the patients from the night service. The boxes are cleaned and the berths freshly prepared. Thereafter, the patients come individually for inpatient examination. At the same time, the ward physician collects the current examination results and administers the medical therapy discussed in the morning visit. The bandages are changed, new venous accesses placed or no longer necessary removed. During the morning, the patients get their first meal, in the evening there is a second meal. The food is also individually tailored to the patient. After certain operations, a diet is required. Of course, it is also possible to give the animal feed – for example, when a dog is barking. Many patients have an increased caloric need after surgery for optimal healing, but animals undergoing abdominal surgery sometimes do not want to eat after surgery. Then work with hand feeding or feeding probes. Every single patient receives three or four short walks daily at the clinic site. Animals that are paralyzed or can not walk are put into the meadow with support. Only if this is really not possible for medical reasons, they will get a catheter in the ward to drain the urine.

Some inpatients are also receiving physiotherapy …

Dr. Pirker: Yes! The physiotherapy begins with special orthopedic surgery immediately after the operation with simple movement exercises. Of course you can not place the dog in the underwater treadmill on day 1, but especially in spinal patients, e.g. In the case of dachshunds, nerve stimulation must be started as early as possible after surgery.

Are visits by the owner possible and useful for the patient?

Dr. Pirker: For the animal that spends one or two nights with us, we advise against visits. The patients are usually relatively relaxed and find that they are coping well with the situation. When the owner comes to visit, the expectation is obviously great, and the dog lacks the understanding that he is not allowed to go after the visit. Of course, there are also cases where we rely more on the cooperation of the owner. Patients who struggle with their motivation and are about to survive need their owner as a motivation to get out of this lethargy. The more critical the situation of the patient is, the more necessary we need the support of the owner ..

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