St Paul Post-Op
Copyright 2006 University of Minnesota
Board of Regents.
The University of Minnesota is an equal
opportunity educator and employer.
Post-Operative Care Program
General Duties and Responsibilities
The mission of the post-operative program is to diagnose, treat, and prevent disease, pain, discomfort, or distress in dogs, cats, swine, and ruminants that have experienced general anesthesia or an invasive procedure at the Academic Health Sciences Center under a protocol approved by the University Of Minnesota Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee.
guidelines require high quality postsurgical care for all
research animals. A centralized program was established in
April 1987 to ensure that post-operative care for
experimental animals is uniform and in accordance with
acceptable veterinary practices. The program requires
that all dogs, cats, sheep, goats, calves, and pigs in the Health Sciences which
have undergone major survival surgery are transported to a
central post-operative area where care is provided by
Research Animal Resources veterinary technicians, under
direct supervision of a veterinarian. Other species,
such as nonhuman primates, that have
undergone major survival surgery are also admitted to the
post-operative care program, but may remain in their primary
housing area or be transported to the centralized facility,
depending on the availability of the type of housing needed.
Care for these animals may be provided by RAR or may be
shared with the investigator under RAR supervision. Major
surgery includes invasion of a body cavity, the vascular
system or the skeletal system. The duration of the stay in
post-op and the exact care the animal receives will vary
with the procedure and the individual animal's
recovery. Detailed records are kept throughout the
post-operative period and are available to the investigative
Paul campus Post-Op policies for research or teaching animals undergoing
surgical procedures related to their study.
for RAR Post-Op Care
In order to
facilitate better postoperative care, the RAR post-operative
staff has developed a list of recommendations to ensure a
smooth recovery and prevent further postoperative
- Post-Op Reservations:
Please remember to call the post-op veterinary technician to reserve cage space in post-op at least one week in advance. RAR realizes that special circumstances may arise, and we are willing to try and make accommodations in these rare instances. RAR reserves the right to assess a late fee of one hour technical assistance time if late reservations are received.
Please remember to indicate medications/anesthetics in dose (mg), volume
(cc), route (IV, IM, SQ), and time administered. In the event
of an emergency, it is important for the veterinarian and technician
to know the type and amount of drugs that have been given to the animal.
The same drug may come in different concentrations therefore it is very
important to have the amount of drug given in milligrams. In addition,
please indicate the time and date that the animal is transferred to
- Contacting the Area Supervisors:
When an animal has undergone a procedure and is transferred to post-op
for care, please remember to notify the area supervisor (via sign on
cage door or in person) as to when or if the animal will be returning
back to their original cage.
Animals to Post-op: Users should phone ahead to alert the post-op vet tech regarding the animal’s estimated time of arrival in Post-Op. If the post-op vet tech is not in post-op when an animal is transferred, please page 612-589-9182 or the emergency veterinary pager (this number is located next to all RAR phones). If problems occur after hours, please page the emergency veterinary pager.
Values: If blood work is performed pre- or intra- procedurally (i.e. blood glucose, PCV/TP, Hgb, blood gases, etc.) it is very helpful to post-op staff to include this on the post-op care sheet. More information is better, especially in an emergency situation.
Animals: Please remember to withhold food from ruminantsat least 12 hours prior to general anesthesia, and at least 5 hours prior to anesthesia for other large animals. Failure of the animal to be fasted may be cause for the procedure to be postponed.
for fasting requests]
animals: Animals that are intubated must be closely monitored until the endotracheal tube may be safely removed.. Just a reminder that animals may NOT be extubated until they have a gag reflex and are able to swallow on their own. Animals without endotracheal tubes that are transferred to post-op while still unable to swallow (no gag reflex) will be re-intubated and monitored by the vet tech until able to swallow.
- IV Catheters:
For animals which have IV catheters, infuse the IV catheter with 2-3
cc heparinized saline, cover catheter with small amount vet wrap (or
similar bandage material if available), then transfer animal to post-op.
The IV catheter will be removed once the animal has fully recovered
from anesthesia at no charge to the investigator. This is recommended
to allow immediate venous access in the rare instance of a post-anesthetic
emergency and to eliminate unnecessary discomfort to the animal when
placing an additional IV catheter for the administration of warm IV
fluids in a hypothermic animal.
Removal: All external skin sutures must be removed in 10-14
days. If after 12 days, sutures have not been removed, the post-op
tech will call the group to remind them that the sutures need to be
removed. After 48 hours, if sutures have not been removed, the
post-op tech will sedate the animal, if necessary, remove the sutures,
and the investigator will be charged.
- Post-Op per
diem charge: Post-op charge will be initiated at 12 pm, and is charged for any animal that has spent the night in post-op, regardless of whether a morning exam has been performed. Once an animal has been discharged from post-op, the group has until 12 pm to remove the animal before the group is charged for an additional day in post-op, unless prior arrangements have been made. The Post-Op charge covers required physical exams, routine monitoring & nursing care, extubation, routine antibiotics (e.g. ceftiofur or clavamox), furosemide (Lasix) if needed, the RAR Medical Record, and tech time to perform these procedures. Analgesics, re-intubation, fluids, wraps, IV catheterization, and any additional record-keeping (paper records, GLP records, etc) required by the group are billed separately.
- Standard Therapy: The post-op staff expects to work closely with individual investigators and their personnel. Depending on the requirements of particular studies, modifications may be made in otherwise "standard" approaches to treatment. Investigators must speak with the veterinarian or post-op vet tech if a study has unique requirements in terms of drugs, feeding, fluids, etc. Otherwise, treatment will be based on accepted veterinary guidelines.
procedures: For post-op patients who require morning treatments
or procedures by the group, it would be preferable to have these procedures
completed by 9 am to facilitate the effort of animal care staff to clean post-op
by a reasonable hour.
As with all guidelines, there
may be exceptions. If you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions,
please contact the RAR Veterinary Services office at 624-9100.
facility is staffed by the following personnel:
1. The attending
2. A full time
3. A veterinary
technician for evening duty
4. Several support
personnel required for routine husbandry
Post-Op Facility: 625-0904
Post-Op Vet Tech Pager: 612-589-9182
Weekend on-duty Veterinarian-- Call the Emergency Veterinary Pager. The number is posted by the phone in Post-Op. (Dial the pager. Following the beep, dial in the call-back number. Hang up the phone and wait for the on-call Vet to call you back.)
Weekdays: 7 AM to 7 PM
Weekends & Holidays: AM & PM checks. Additional hours by appointment.
Investigators and their staff are encouraged to monitor
their animals' progress while in post-op. All central RAR
facilities require a U-card
registered with RAR's
general access at all times. The post-op facility is
unlocked during the above hours; keys are available for
groups needing access at other times.
The information contained in this site is
intended as a reference for University of Minnesota
investigators, and animal husbandry and veterinary staff.
Drug information and dosages are derived from a variety of
sources and do not necessarily guarantee safety or efficacy.
Information obtained through this site should not be relied
upon as professional veterinary advice. Any medications
administered or procedures performed on animals should only
be performed by or under order of a qualified, licensed