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Pet Soft Tissue Surgery 101: What to Expect Before, During, and After

By March 1, 2024March 13th, 2024No Comments

Discovering your beloved pet requires soft tissue surgery can be a heart-wrenching experience. We understand the mix of emotions you’re going through – it’s something many pet owners face.

Interestingly, these types of surgeries are quite common in veterinary care, and we’re here to walk you through every step of this journey with compassion and understanding. Our comprehensive guide will outline what you need to anticipate before, during, and after your furry companion’s procedure.

Keep reading for insights that aim to ease your concerns and provide some comfort along the way!

What is Soft Tissue Surgery for Pets?

Soft tissue surgery for pets involves operations on muscles, skin, and internal organs. It’s aimed at treating injuries or conditions that aren’t related to bones or joints.

Reasons to get soft tissue surgery

  1. Mass removals
  2. Hernias
  3. Internal organ wound management
  4. Gastrointestinal surgery
  5. Foreign body removal

Deciding on soft tissue surgery for our pets often comes after noticing symptoms that don’t improve with standard treatments. Veterinary surgery becomes necessary when these surgical conditions threaten our pet’s health or quality of life. We carefully evaluate each case, considering both the immediate needs and long-term wellbeing of our furry friends.

Before we proceed, a thorough consultation and examination ensure that we’re making the best choice for our pets’ recovery and health. Our goal is to restore their happiness and comfort as quickly and safely as possible through surgical intervention.

Preparing for Surgery

1. Consultation and examination

We schedule a consultation before any soft tissue surgery to understand your pet’s health condition fully. During this meeting, we examine your pet thoroughly and discuss the surgical procedure, ensuring you know what to expect.

This step is essential for preparing both you and your pet for the upcoming surgery.

If our examination reveals that additional diagnostics or treatments are necessary before proceeding with the surgery, we may need to reschedule. This careful approach helps us ensure the highest care level for your pet, addressing any concerns about shaving a small patch of hair or specific pre-surgical preparations.

2. Diagnostic tests

After the consultation and thorough examination of your pet, we move on to diagnostic tests. These tests help us get a clearer picture of your pet’s health and ensure they’re ready for soft tissue surgery.

  • Bloodwork
  • Xrays
  • Ultrasounds

Preparing for these diagnostics involves specific instructions you’ll need to follow closely. For instance, fasting your pet before anesthesia is often required to avoid complications during the procedure.

Rest assured, we guide you through this process meticulously, ensuring you understand how best to prepare your beloved companion for their upcoming tests. It’s all part of our commitment to providing top-notch care throughout your pet’s journey towards recovery after soft tissue surgery.

3. Pre-operative instructions

We give pet owners detailed pre-operative instructions to ensure their pets are ready for soft tissue surgery. These include fasting your pet before anesthesia, which is crucial to prevent vomiting during and after the procedure.

Please withhold all food at least 12 hours prior to surgery; however, a small amount of water overnight is allowed. We also ask you to inform us about any medications or supplements your pet is taking, as some may need to be paused or adjusted.

Before the day of the surgery, we recommend preparing a comfortable recovery area at home where your pet can rest undisturbed. If shaving a patch of hair concerns you, let us know beforehand, but remember it’s essential for maintaining cleanliness around the surgical site.

What to Expect During the Surgery

During the surgery, skilled vets perform precise operations while a dedicated surgical team monitors your pet’s vital signs closely. We ensure every measure is taken for their comfort and safety through constant supervision and state-of-the-art anesthesia management.

Anesthesia and monitoring

We make sure your pet feels no pain during the soft tissue surgery by using safe and effective anesthesia. Our skilled veterinary team carefully calculates the dose based on your pet’s size, age, and health status to ensure their comfort.

Before we proceed with any surgical intervention, we verify that your pet is fully sedated and pain-free.

Monitoring your pet’s vital signs is our top priority throughout the procedure. We keep a close eye on their heart rate, breathing, blood pressure, and oxygen levels using state-of-the-art equipment.

Surgical procedure

After ensuring your pet is comfortably under anesthesia and carefully monitored, the team of veterinary surgeons move on to the surgical procedure. The vet performs the necessary soft tissue surgery, be it removing a tumor or repairing damaged tissue.

Each cut and stitch is done with precision to ensure the best outcome for your furry friend. Sometimes, we might need to shave a small area of your pet’s hair to provide a clean surgical site.

This step helps prevent infection and allows better access to the operation area.

During surgery, our team closely follows all safety protocols, using sterile equipment and techniques. If skin stitches or staples are needed for closure after tumor removals or other procedures, we take extra care to apply them correctly for optimal healing.

Post-Surgical Care

Recovery and post-operative care

We closely monitor pets after their soft tissue surgery to ensure a smooth recovery. The first few days post-surgery, your pet might stay in the hospital so we can keep an eye on their healing and manage any discomfort they may be feeling.

We provide medications for pain relief and to prevent infections, making sure your furry friend is as comfortable as possible. During this time, we give daily updates to keep you informed about your pet’s progress.

Restricting your pet’s movements is crucial during the initial 10-14 days of recovery. This helps protect the surgical site from tension that could disrupt healing. We’ll guide you on how to care for your pet at home, including managing their activity level and monitoring the incision site for any signs of infection.

Follow-up appointments allow us to track your pet’s healing timeline and adjust care plans as needed, ensuring a successful recovery after soft tissue surgery for pets.

Medications and follow-up appointments

Your pet may need pain relievers and antibiotics to prevent infections during their healing process. Managing your pet’s pain is essential for a smoother recovery, so we make sure to prescribe medication that suits their specific needs post-surgery.

For ensuring everything is healing as it should, scheduling follow-up appointments is key. During these visits, we check the incision site for signs of infection, assess how well your pet is healing, and decide if further intervention or adjustment in treatment is necessary.

Keeping these appointments helps us catch any potential issues early on, making sure your furry friend gets back on their paws as quickly as possible.



Recovery times can vary depending on the type of surgery. Typically, pets need a week to ten days to heal from most soft tissue surgeries.

However, orthopedic surgeries might require them to rest for several weeks. We recommend keeping your pet’s activity level low for at least 10-14 days afterward to ensure the incision heals properly.


Yes, some soft tissue operations, like tumor removals, may necessitate closing the wound with stitches or staples. We’ll give you detailed care instructions and schedule follow-up appointments to check on your pet’s healing progress and remove these closures when it’s safe.


Definitely. Fasting your pet before anesthesia is critical; we usually advise no food after midnight the day before the procedure. Also, let us know if you have any worries about shaving a small patch of hair from the surgery area.

Schedule Cutting-Edge Soft Tissue Surgery for Your Pet Today!

We’ve walked you through what to expect before, during, and after your pet’s soft tissue surgery. Every step, from consultation to recovery, aims for your pet’s health and comfort.

Remembering these guidelines simplifies the process and enhances the healing journey. Let’s ensure a smooth path for our furry friends’ recovery and well-being together by scheduling a consultation with the Veterinary Medical Center of Rancho Cordova today!