Anesthesia & Surgery

Anesthesia, Surgery, and Pain Control

Several of our staff doctors perform surgeries from routine to very complicated.  Dr. Chris Glawe and Dr. Randy Willer perform the orthopedic surgeries and more complicated soft tissue surgeries.  Dr. Melani PoundstoneDr. Melissa Etheridge, Dr. Justin Milizio and Dr. Karalyn Buttrill perform laparoscopic and soft tissue surgeries.

Our staff uses the most state of the art medication and equipment in anesthesia available today.

Our surgical patients routinely receive regional (epidural and incisional blocks) and intra-operative pain medication to allow delivery of less anesthesia and improved recovery.

We provide a wide range of surgical services in the areas of soft tissue (spay/neuter, abdominal), orthopedics, arthroscopic, dental extractions, CO2 laser and cryosurgery.

Your pet’s comfort and safety is our priority!

Isn’t anesthesia dangerous?

Although anesthesia always carries a degree of risk, the modern anesthetics in use in our hospital minimize this risk, even for older pets. To further ensure safety:

  • All anesthesia patients have an exam and pre-surgical blood work before anesthesia.
  • We do full anesthesia and recovery monitoring, using state-of-the-art equipment.
  • An IV catheter is placed to give fluids, to support blood pressure, and to administer pain medication.
  • We use Engler respirators to maintain appropriate respiratory rate and make sure lungs are well ventilated.
  • We maintain body temperature with specialized warm air blankets.
  • We use minimally invasive techniques whenever possible.

What is a minimally invasive surgery?

Minimally invasive means minimal disruption of surrounding tissues and organs, minimizing patient discomfort after surgery. Examples include:

We believe that all surgical patients experience pain. That is why all of our surgical patients are treated before, during, and after their surgery with pain medication.

  • Pain control is customized for your pet’s procedure and health status.
  • We use epidural pain control when needed, such as during orthopedic surgery.

What type of scheduling is needed for surgery?

We ask that you schedule the procedure a few days in advance.

It will be necessary to withhold food after 8:00 P.M. the night before; please do not remove the water.

Your pet will be admitted to the hospital between 7:00 A.M. and 7:30 A.M. and will generally be ready for discharge in the late afternoon.


Laparoscopic Spay

What is the difference between laparoscopic and traditional spay?

In a laparoscopic procedure, we place two small holes through skin and abdomen which allow for the insertion of a fiberoptic camera. These holes depend on the size of your pet but are often 3-10mm (roughly 1/8-1/2 inch). The reproductive structures are identified and controlled cuts in the tissues are made.

In a traditional spay, a 2-3 inch incision is made in the skin and muscle just below the belly button. The ovarian ligament is torn from its attachment on the abdominal wall. This tearing causes pain and may result in bruising of the abdominal wall.

Why laparoscopic?

  • The small incision size minimizes tissue trauma and pain.
  • Tissue is removed without tearing, minimizing pain.
  • Better visualization of surgical procedure, minimizing complications.
  • No increase in surgical time compared to traditional procedures.
  • Your pet is back to normal much more quickly.

Is this a standard procedure?

Hampden Family Pet Hospital is very proud to be one of the first hospitals in the country to offer laparoscopic spays to our clients. The late Dr. Ty Tankersley, one of the founders of our clinic, helped pioneer the laparoscopic ovariectomy techniques currently used. Dr. Tankersley made instructional videos, developed equipment, lectured and taught the technique to veterinarians around the world. In addition, our spays incorporate just the removal of the ovaries (ovariectomy) and not the full uterus (hysterectomy).

What is an ovariectomy?

The term ovariectomy means to remove only the ovaries. By removing only the ovaries, there is minimal disruption to surrounding tissues and organ, minimizing patient discomfort after surgery.

  • Less tissue removed means less trauma.
  • May reduce the incidence of urinary incontinence later in life.

Is spaying the only surgery done laparoscopically?

Laparoscopic surgery can be done for many abdominal procedures including bladder stone removal, liver biopsies and stomach tacking to prevent bloat (gastropexy).


Arthroscopic joint surgery

What is arthroscopy?

Arthroscopy is the evaluation of a joint using a specialized camera to look inside a joint to diagnose and treat problems.

  • In an arthroscopic examination, an orthopedic surgeon makes a small incision in the patient’s skin and then inserts pencil-sized instruments that contain a lighting system and a small lens to magnify the joint structures.
  • Magnification allows the surgeon to see problems that are not visible to the naked eye. The lens on the end of the arthroscope is like a miniature television camera. The picture from the arthroscope is shown on a television screen in the operating room.
  • The surgeon is able to see the inside of the joint through this very small incision rather than a large incision needed for traditional surgery.

The surgeon can determine the amount or type of injury and correct the problem, if it is necessary.


CO2 Laser Surgery

What are the benefits of laser surgery?

  • Less bleeding — the laser seals small blood vessels during surgery and speeds up surgery by minimizing bleeding.
  • Less swelling — no physical contact except the invisible laser beam. The tissue will not be crushed.
  • Sterilization—the laser sterilizes the surgical site as it cuts. Bacteria and viruses are vaporized by the laser during laser surgery.
  • Precision—the beam direction and power can be controlled precisely to remove thin layers of tissue and produce minimal side effects on the surrounding healthy tissue.

What is laser?

A laser system supplies highly focused and powerful beam of infrared light that can selectively interact with tissue.

How does laser work?

Our CO2 surgical laser system uses controlled pulses of light to precisely destroy, cut, or remove target tissue by vaporizing tissue.