General Principles of Surgery
Prepare in Advance
- Consult with a Penn State veterinarian during planning and IACUC Protocol preparation
- Make a list of all the supplies that you will need (instruments, drugs, syringes, clipper, scrub, suture, heating pads, etc.).
- Arrange to have an assistant available.
- Read through a description of the procedure and practice the technique on cadaver animals before using live animals.
Aseptic technique encompasses all procedures designed to prevent the introduction of bacterial contamination into the surgical wound. Aseptic technique includes:
- The use of sterile instruments
- Appropriate surgical preparation of the patient
- The use of sterile gloves and appropriate attire
- Appropriate location for conducting the surgery
- Maintenance of sterility throughout the surgical procedure
Handle Tissues Gently
Tissues should be handled as gently as possible during surgery. Repeated rough handling or crushing of tissues will lead to swelling, inflammation and post procedural discomfort.
Develop your surgical technique by practicing on representative models or cadaver animals before proceeding to live animals.
Monitor the Animal's Condition
Animals must be anesthetized during surgery. The depth of anesthesia must be such that the animal is not able to feel pain during the procedure yet not so deep that breathing and heart function are compromised. The ARP website provides information on anesthetic and anagesic medications available for various animal species.
Provide Post Procedural Care
Immediately following the procedure animals must be monitored closely to insure that they recover uneventfully.
For the next 7 to 14 days, daily observation and evaluation is necessary to make sure that there are no complications (such as infection, bleeding, or poor wound healing).
Nonsurvival Rodent Surgery
In non-survival surgery the animal is not allowed to regain consciousness (i.e., euthanized prior to anesthetic recovery). Strict aseptic technique is often not necessary for non-survival procedures. However, at a minimum, the surgical site should be clipped and scrubbed, the surgeon should wear gloves and instruments should be clean. The depth of anesthesia must be monitored throughout the procedure and adjusted as necessary.