surgery west michigan veterinarianMaking the decision to have an anesthetic or surgical procedure performed on your pet can be difficult or stressful. Our team will help you understand the advantages, risks and alternatives to the procedures your cat or dog needs. We have carefully chosen protocols and procedures to minimize the stress, discomfort or risk to your pet. We are here to guide you through the decision making process and to help you care for "our" patient before and after the procedure.

Pre-Surgical Instructions
Although some surgical procedures or patient-specific requirements call for modifications of our pre-surgical instructions, the following general guidelines apply to most surgeries:

Feeding: Unless directed otherwise, please do not feed any food after midnight the night before surgery. A small treat can be given in the morning, if it is needed to administer medications.
Water: You can allow your pet to drink water until you leave to come in for surgery.
Medications: Generally speaking, we prefer your pet to continue taking any medications they are currently prescribed. We may have special instructions for patients taking particular medications like insulin or some pain relief medications.
Check-in: Your check-in time will be scheduled between 7:30 - 9:00 AM. It is important we have all patients in the hospital prior to us starting surgery, so we can provide appropriate pre-anesthetic medications and plan our procedures safely.
We will require you to leave us a telephone number where you can be reached if we have any questions or to call you following the procedure.
We will provide written instructions on appropriate post-operative care for your pet. Please let us know if you have any questions.

Cascade Hospital for Animals is accredited by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA). We follow their strict guidelines pertaining to pre-surgical evaluation, anesthetic monitoring, recovery procedures and pain management. We perform pre-anesthetic blood testing prior to administering anesthesia. Depending on the age and condition of your pet, other testing might be required (e.g. radiographs, ECG, clotting panels, etc.). These tests help us evaluate anesthetic and surgical risk and potential complications.

Veterinary anesthesia is extremely safe when the patients are properly evaluated, ongoing medical conditions are appropriately treated and anesthesia is carefully monitored. There is always some risk to anesthesia, but our highly trained surgery team will take all the steps we can to minimize that risk.

Many variables influence the length of anesthetic recovery, including type of anesthesia used, length of the procedure, age and condition of the patient, and post-operative pain medications. It is normal for some patients to be lethargic or disoriented the evening following anesthesia. You will need to protect your pet from stairs, jumping off furniture, bodies of water and anywhere else they might endanger themselves.

Post Surgical Care
You will receive detailed written post-operative instructions for your pet that will be specifically tailored to the procedure performed and your pet's needs. However, here are some general guidelines that apply to most procedures:

Hospitalization: Whether a patient is discharged the evening of the procedure or is hospitalized for one or more nights depends on the length and type of surgery, and the post-operative needs of the condition of the pet. We will generally schedule a time for you to pick up your pet either at the time of admission or when we contact you after the procedure. Occasionally we have high-risk or critical patients transferred to a 24-hour care facility for continuous monitoring or treatment.
Patients should be monitored closely for the initial 24 hours at home. They may be confused or disoriented from the anesthesia and pain medications and need to be protected from injuring themselves.
Food & water: Unless directed otherwise, allow a small amount of food (25% of normal feeding) and water after your pet has had a chance to settle down, then wait 20 - 30 minutes to make sure they have no nausea or vomiting before feeding an additional small amount of food. Normal feeding can generally resume the following morning.
Activity: Please restrict running, jumping or playing activity. Limit outdoor activity to the minimum amount of leash-controlled time outside necessary to provide for eliminations.
Incisions: Your pet may have visible or buried dissolving sutures. You will be instructed when to have the incision rechecked and sutures removed. Please prevent licking or scratching at the incision site. Monitor the site for redness, bruising, swelling or discharge. Occasionally a bandage or Elizabethan collar may be needed to protect the incision.

cat friendly practice declaw policyThe declaw policy of Cascade Hospital for Animals and Breton Village Animal Clinic reflects the policy of the American Veterinary Medical Association in regards to the elective procedure of declawing cats. That policy recommends that surgical declawing be performed only after exhausting other possible methods to control scratching behavior, or if the cat’s claws present a human health risk. We do not perform surgical declawing in wild or exotic cats (see AVMA Statement).

We have established strict standards governing the performance of this procedure. These include: pain medications starting prior to anesthesia and continued for a full 7 days post-operative, use of local nerve blocks during surgery, using suture (not adhesive) for closure of the incisions, experienced surgeons performing the procedure and the use of the CO2 laser for the procedure (to minimize bleeding, swelling and post-operative complications). The patient will be hospitalized for 48 hours following the procedure to make sure they are comfortable, strictly rested and starting to heal. Adult cats must be within 2 pounds of their ideal body weight to qualify for the procedure. Obese cats will need to lose weight prior to the surgery being performed.

Any client requesting a declaw procedure must meet with a doctor and receive information regarding exactly what the procedure is, possible long term effects, and alternatives to declawing. If a client chooses to pursue the declaw procedure, an education verification form must be filled out and attached to the file. This form documents that we did discuss that scratching is a normal behavior for cats, alternatives to declawing are available, and they understand the nature of the procedure being performed (digit amputation).

We offer the option for surgical declawing due to the concern that without it, some cats won’t have homes at all, more euthanasias will occur due to behavioral surrender to shelters or that cats will be forced to live outside due to the destructive scratching behaviors they exhibit.

cat scratching post 242109158 PreviewThere are several training and behavioral modification methods that can be tried prior to resorting to surgical declawing of your kitten. Please feel free to contact us for more information. We carry both the Feliway and Feliscratch products mentioned below in our hospitals.

  • Provide appropriate scratching surfaces (cardboard, sisal, carpet, wood) and have them tall enough to encourage full vertical stretching and scratching or long enough for horizontal stretching and scratching.
  • Place the scratching surfaces in locations that are commonly frequented by the cat and in rooms where the cat wants to scratch on something else (i.e furniture)
  • Scent with catnip powder or spray to attract cats to scratchers. This will need to be done daily to keep the scent fresh.
  • Try the FeliScratch product which is a pheromone based product meant to attract cats to the appropriate scratching surfaces.
  • Spray Feliway pheromone spray on items that should NOT be used for scratching such as woodwork, furniture and carpet.
  • Use positive reinforcement with petting and/or treats when the cat uses the scratching surface at all. Cats can be trained.
  • Nail caps can be placed over nails for 4-6 weeks then replaced.
  • Frequent nail trims to keep cat’s nails short and less destructive.
  • Discourage use of inappropriate scratching surfaces by attaching sticky tape or tinfoil as a deterrent.

At Cascade Hospital for Animals and Breton Village Animal Clinic, we offer AAHA-accredited care for your dog. Trust our experienced and dedicated team of veterinarians and veterinary assistants to provide the services below.

  • Allergy Testing
  • Arthritis Management
  • Dentistry
    • Dental Scaling and Polishing
    • Digital Radiographs
    • Oral Surgery or Extractions
  • Dermatology
  • Domestic and International Health and Travel Certificates
  • End of Life Counseling and Euthanasia
  • Imaging and Diagnostics
    • Blood work and cultures
    • Digital Radiology
    • ECG
    • Endoscopy
    • Ultrasound
  • Microchipping
  • Nutritional Counseling
  • Senior Health Care
  • Surgery
    • Bladder Stone removal
    • Cancer
    • Laser
    • Neurologic
    • Orthopedic
    • Removal of Foreign Bodies, Growths, Tumors, etc.
    • Soft Tissue
    • Spay and Neuter
  • Vaccinations
  • Vaccine Titers
  • Wellness Care



  • Lee B.
    Blue Bear had an awesome time while we were on vacation. Over the years, this is the only place I have trusted to board our dogs. This is especially true now because he has lymphoma and requires monitoring and medication

    - Lee B.

  • Harold C.
    We boarded our high maintenance, allergyladen lab @ CHFA, and we knew we could enjoy our vacation without a single worry. We also put him in the Crate Escape so his vacation would be as fun as ours.

    - Harold C.

  • Patrick B.
    Cascade continues to be the gold standard for companion animal care in Southwest Michigan. We've dealt with them in all phases of veterinary medicine, and their level of expertise, coupled with their compassion, is the reason we drive 40 miles each way to have our dogs maintained there.

    - Patrick B.

  • Satisfied Customer
    Our dog is alive today because of Cascade Hospital. She would never have survived parvovirus as a puppy if it were not for the care she received from them, which included feeding her food by hand so that she would eat..

    - Satisfied Customer

  • Sally B.
    Last summer one of my dogs, Cooper, ruptured a disc and required 24hour care. He stayed at the hospital for 4 days, and the staff gave me updates twice a day. Long story short, Cooper is 100%. I've been going to CHFA for over 20 years and will continue to do so as long as I have pets!

    - Sally B.

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