Cartersville Animal HospitalVeterinary Surgery, Anesthesia & Pain Management

Veterinary Surgery - Cartersville Animal Hospital

The decision to have your pet undergo surgery is an important one. You probably have many questions about the procedure and how it will affect your pet. At Cartersville Animal Hospital, our goal is to keep your pet as safe as possible.

All surgery involves some risk, due to the need to undergo anesthesia. Therefore, our pet hospital conforms to the recommendations prescribed by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA). In order to minimize risk, additional procedures, such as pre-anesthetic blood screens, radiographs, IV catheter placement, and IV fluid therapy, will help us design and implement the safest anesthetic protocol.

Should your pet become injured or ill enough to require surgery, rest assured our veterinarians are skilled in a variety of advanced surgical techniques. Dr. McElwee and the veterinary staff at Cartersville Animal Hospital strive to provide a friendly, relaxed, and compassionate setting for veterinary surgical patients. Our pet hospital has years of experience in soft tissue, orthopedic, and cancer surgeries, as well as more simple spay and neuter procedures.

Pain Management

Undoubtedly, one of your primary concerns is whether your pet will experience pain during and after surgery. The veterinarian will explain how we can work together to make surgery as pain free as possible.

Medical understanding of animal pain has grown in recent years, along with methods available to treat the pain. We know that dogs and cats feel the pain of surgery, just as people do, but instinctively hide their pain. The severity and nature of surgical pain varies—if left untreated, surgical pain tends to be most severe during the first 24 hours after surgery, diminishing over time as the surgical wounds heal. Knowing this, we make your pet comfortable by anticipating and treating the pain prior to evidence of suffering.


We understand that when your pet is sick, yours is the only one that matters. That is why we have doctors and staff always available, examining your pet throughout the day, and to take your calls and answer any questions or concerns. Your visits to the pet hospital are welcome and encouraged, but please call ahead—the doctor will want to set aside time to answer any questions you may have. There are a few situations where visitation may not be possible or in the best interest of your pet’s wellbeing. Dr. McElwee and our staff will be happy to discuss these situations with you.

We normally discharge our patients between 2:30 and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and between 9 and 11 a.m. on Saturdays.

Home Care

In general, a pet returning home after surgery should be kept quiet, warm, and comfortable, discouraged from any type of jumping, running, or rough play. Allow your pet to resume normal activity gradually. Check the incision daily for swelling, bleeding, discharge, redness, or reopening of the wound. Prevent your pet from scratching, licking, or biting the stitches. Any medication sent home with your pet should be given as directed until gone. And, of course, remember to administer unlimited doses of love and attention!

Recheck examinations are often necessary to follow up on your pet’s condition, progress, and for suture removal. Be sure to observe your pet’s sutures, cast, or splint for any signs of licking, or swelling. If this occurs, protect the area and contact our office as soon as possible. If you notice any problems or have any concerns before your pet’s scheduled recheck date, please call our office.

Spay and Neuter Surgery

Spaying and neutering accounts for more than half of the surgical procedures performed on pets. A spay involves the complete removal of the female reproductive organs (the uterus and ovaries), and neutering involves the removal of the testicles. Spaying and neutering helps reduce pet overpopulation and often avoids medical and behavioral problems later in a pet’s life. If you have a new puppy or kitten, or have questions about spaying or neutering an older pet, our informational spay and neuter handout may address some of your concerns, and our veterinary staff will be glad to answer any additional questions that you may have. Just give us a call at (770) 382-8570