A Patient's Day In Hospital

As a pet owner, have you ever wondered what happens to your pet when they need to stay with us for the day? Why do they need to be with us for so long for routine procedures? Who takes care of them whilst they are here?

8.30am – GG is dropped off by her owners for desexing. GG’s owner Emma, and one of our nurses Sam run through the admission consent form. This form details all GG’s personal information, what procedure she is having and anything extra we need to know about (for example if she takes medications when she last ate etc.) It is not unlike admission information you may complete if you were checking in for a hospital stay yourself. Sam asks questions about GG to complete the form and also gives Emma a rundown of how the day will progress.Today we will follow a day in hospital for ‘GG’, one of our patients who came to our Stirling clinic recently for desexing. We document her day in the hospital with a  timeline, to give you a good idea of what each patient’s day looks like while visiting us.

8.45am – GG is admitted through to hospital where she is assigned to her nurse for the day. Her nurse for this visit is our trainee veterinary nurse Chloe. Chloe is working under the supervision of our senior nurse Sam so GG gets two nurses all to herself! GG is placed in a bedded enclosure in our dog ward and is left to settle for a while after the excitement of the morning’s events up to now. Sam and Chloe review her admission information and begin to get things ready to start.

9.25am – GG is given her first check over, we refer to this as a TPR and it is similar to ‘obs’ that may be performed in a human hospital. It is at this time that we check vital signs such as pulse rate, respiration rate, temperature, mucous membrane colour and capillary refill time, we assess the general demeanour of GG and take a small blood sample to run a pre-anaesthetic blood test. It is at this time that we place her intravenous catheter and if we are administering extended fluids, we connect her to the fluid pump and get these started now as well. 

10.40am – GG’s vital signs have been monitored over the last hour. With her blood results showing no abnormalities we can go ahead a give her some medication to help prepare her body for the anaesthetic, this is referred to as her ‘pre-med’.

11.15am – GG is given another check over, this time by veterinarian Dr Derek Wells, prior to any anaesthesia being administered. He makes sure he is happy with her vital signs, her blood results and gives the go-ahead to begin her anaesthetic induction.

11.20am – GG is ‘pre-oxygenated’ prior to commencing her anaesthetic (pre-oxygenation of patients, especially brachycephalic breeds, helps to maximise the oxygen in their bloodstream prior to anaesthesia.)

11.22am – GG is administered an anaesthetic induction agent via her intravenous catheter and then intubated. Through her endotracheal tube, we start to administer the gaseous anaesthetic which will keep her asleep throughout the surgery. She is monitored by her surgical nurse whilst she is being prepped for her procedure. Throughout her surgery, the nurse will be constantly checking her pulse rate, respiration rate, temperature, blood pressure, SPo2 (blood oxygenation) and her end-tidal Co2 to ensure she is safe and responding appropriately to the anaesthetic. She has her surgical site clipped and cleaned and then is ready to head into the theatre where her procedure will take place.

11.32am to 12.16pm – GG is in theatre where she undergoes an ovariohysterectomy ( spey ) with veterinarian Dr Derek Wells. When he has finished the surgery, the nurse starts to clean her surgical site, and turns off her anaesthetic, administering just oxygen to help her begin to wake up. She is then moved through to recovery.

12.18pm – GG is placed in her recovery bed where she is given time to wake up. This is what takes the most amount of time when we have a patient here for the day. We want her to wake up as peacefully as possible, she is placed on a heat mat and wrapped in blankets, her nurse stays with her until she is awake enough to remove her endotracheal tube. She will then take a bit more time to sleep until she is ready to start moving about again. While she is still sleeping a pain relief injection is given so that she stays as comfortable as possible.

GG is monitored closely throughout the afternoon to ensure that her recovery continues to be ‘uneventful’.

At this time our surgeon or the assigned nurse will contact the owners to discuss how everything has gone and by this point in the recovery process, we can generally tell how long it will take for a patient to recover enough to the point where they are then able to go home.

5.40pm – GG’s owner Emma comes to collect her where she can go home and rest and recuperate after her big day.

If you would like more information on the desexing procedure, in particular, you can visit our webpage About the Sterilisation Procedure, here.

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