Small Animal Surgery

Frequently Asked Questions for Small Animal Surgery

When are appointments and surgery?

Orthopedic appointments are on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Surgeries are typically scheduled the following day, either a Wednesday or a Friday. If you would like to schedule the surgery at a later date, that is an option as well. Soft Tissue Surgery appointments are on Mondays and Wednesdays, with surgery typically scheduled the following day. Surgeries may be unexpectedly delayed if the hospital receives multiple emergent patients.

What happens at the initial appointment?

At this pre-operative consultation appointment we will ask questions about your pet’s medical history and perform a physical examination, appropriate blood work, and any other diagnostic tests that are needed. Diagnostic tests may include radiographs (x-rays), CT scan, ultrasound, and biopsies. After this appointment surgery can be scheduled.

Can I get my consultation appointment and surgery in the same day?

No. The consultation appointment is a pre-operative exam that your animal MUST have prior to being scheduled for surgery. On consultation days, the surgeons will be in other appointments and scheduling diagnostic testing for your pet and others, which unfortunately means we are unable to do the appointment and surgery in the same day.

How does the appointment work?

When you arrive for your appointment, you will be greeted by a senior veterinary student. This student will be the point of contact for your visit. Once the student determines your pet’s history and physical condition, they will consult with a surgical resident. A resident is a veterinarian who is studying to become a board certified veterinary surgeon. Residents study under a board certified faculty member. Once the resident is briefed on the case, they present the findings to the faculty member. Diagnostic tests are often ordered at this time and may include radiographs, CT scan, or blood work. We will perform the tests necessary for your pet’s specific condition. After the results are back, a surgery plan is made and discussed with you.

Should I bring anything to the appointment with me?

When you come to your appointment please bring your pet’s medical records and any diagnostic images (radiographs or x-rays, ultrasound images, MR or CT scan images) if they haven’t already been sent to us. Please keep toys and blankets in the car or at home. They tend to get dirty after surgery and have a risk of being misplaced.

Should I feed my pet before the appointment?

Please do not feed your pet breakfast the morning of the appointment in case we have to do any further diagnostic testing. Typically we have to sedate animals for these tests and the sedation can upset their stomach. They can have water and medications as normal. Food the night before is fine.

Who does the surgery?

A resident or board-certified faculty surgeon will perform the surgery. If the resident performs the surgery, the faculty surgeon will be supervising the entire time.

How long do appointments take?

A consultation appointment typically takes an hour and a half. But after the appointment, your pet will most likely get diagnostic tests, which can take a while because they have to be scheduled through various departments. Typically, these diagnostic tests take roughly one to three hours but may last through the entire day. You are welcome to adventure around WSU while your pet is getting diagnostic tests done. Once results are in, you will be called back to discuss them with the surgeon.

How long does surgery take?

Surgeries can last anywhere from two to four hours. The length of surgery is dependent on what surgery is performed and your pet’s specific condition. Keep in mind that surgeries sometimes last longer than normal because students are learning during surgery.

Does my pet have to stay overnight?

Many pets need to stay in the hospital the night after surgery while they recover from the procedure. Some pets, however, may be able to go home on the day of surgery depending on the type of surgery that is performed and how quickly they recover after anesthesia and surgery.

What benefits does WSU have?

At WSU, you can be assured that a team of caring and highly qualified people will be looking after your pet. As your main contact, the senior veterinary student is available to answer your questions and provide you with daily updates. The resident and faculty member are also glad to speak with you about your pet and will guide you through major decisions about diagnostic and treatment options. If your pet needs to go under anesthesia, a board certified anesthesiologist will manage a specific plan for your pet. During surgery, the specially trained veterinary technicians monitor your pet for the duration of the procedure and recovery with oversight from the anesthesiologists. After surgery, your pet will recover in our intensive care unit. Our ICU is supervised by veterinarians who are board-certified in critical care medicine. Trained veterinary technicians staff the ICU 24 hours a day, so your pet will be watched and monitored throughout the night. WSU has state-of-the-art equipment to provide the highest level of care for your pet. Our experienced team of specialists work together to provide your pet with the best possible care.

What is your payment policy?

If your pet is in need of surgery, we require a deposit before we perform the procedure. The deposit amount will be the full amount of the low end of the cost estimate that you will receive at your appointment. If costs exceed the estimate, you will be contacted to update the estimate and asked to provide an additional deposit. The final bill must be paid in full at the time your pet is discharged from the hospital. If you have questions about the estimate or financial policies, please contact the surgery Patient Services Coordinators Heather Schilling or Chelsea Jacobs at 509.335.0711

What forms of payment are accepted?

WSU accepts Visa, Mastercard, Discover, Care Credit, check, and cash. We DO NOT accept American Express. Payment plans are not offered at WSU.

Do you have any discounts?  

The WSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital offers discounts to WSU students (10%), veterinary students (30%) and employees (20%). Additionally we offer service dog discounts. No senior or military discounts are offered at this time.

Do you need financial assistance?

The Good Samaritan Fund may be able to provide financial assistance for some clients of the Veterinary Teaching Hospital. Information about the program and links to the application form are available at The Veterinary Teaching Hospital will accept CareCredit and clients requiring financial assistance are encouraged to consider the resources available through that external service. More information is available at

The following organizations and web sites may provide additional resources for clients. These organizations and web sites are not directly affiliated with WSU or the Veterinary Teaching Hospital.

Where do we park?

The WSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital has its own parking lot for clients located in front of the hospital. When you check in for your appointment, please bring your license plate number with you so that you can sign in your vehicle. Unauthorized vehicles may be subject to fines.

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