Veterinary careWhat now? Whether your pet needs an elective procedure like spay, neuter or mass removal, an orthopedic surgery like an ACL repair or a lifesaving surgery, there are things to consider before you book that appointment. Not all surgeries are the same. There are different policies on blood testing, pain management protocols, inter-operative monitoring and therapies, post-operative recoveries, anesthetic agents and surgical techniques available.  The costs can also vary greatly between veterinary hospitals.

Put your mind at ease with these 5 tips from Dr. Bradley Gray, VMD CCRP, owner of Brandywine Veterinary Hospital in Chadds Ford.



1. Blood testing should be performed before any anesthesia. 

Why? Because pets can’t talk to us and it has been found that 20% of our pets who seem normal upon a physical examination have an underlying health condition. This condition may alter anesthetic protocols, indicate that other tests should be run or cause a decision to not go to surgery until treatment has been administered. Anesthesia is very safe when administered properly. Blood testing is another way to ensure your pet’s well-being. This is also a very valuable piece in the pet health puzzle for the future as baseline information.

2. Pain management is a must!lab-at-vet

Why? Because our pets have the same pain receptors and nerve endings that we do. Put yourself in their place. If you would feel it, they would feel it. A combination of pain control measures should be taken to minimize discomfort. This should include pre-anesthetic, inter-operative (local blocks), post-surgical and “to go home” pain medications. Some veterinarians have advanced post-operative pain management techniques like Laser Therapy and Rehabilitation protocols that are available to aid in a speedy comfortable recovery.  “Divinum est opus sedave dolorem” – Divine is the work to subdue pain.

3. Anesthetic monitoring and fluid therapy are very important

Why? Because the monitoring of heart rate, blood pressure, temperature and oxygenation of the blood are all part of the anesthetic matrix. The depth of anesthesia and wellbeing of the patient are measured with these instruments. Fluids administration is important to help keep the blood pressure steady and help the body support the vital organs.

4. Techniques matter girl with kitten

Why? There are as many ways to perform a surgery as there are surgeons. Veterinary Medicine is different from Human Medicine in that veterinarians are legally able to perform any procedure on a pet. Some veterinarians enjoy and are proficient at surgery while others would prefer to refer their patients to a specialist. Any veterinarian offering a surgical service should disclose their level of expertise (numbers performed and success rates) to the client before proceeding with the procedure.  There are some very advanced surgical procedures which require specialized equipment and instrumentation like hip replacements, spinal surgery and kidney transplants that are almost always sent to a specialist. Other procedures like ACL repairs, fracture repairs, amputations, cystotomies, intestinal foreign body removals, mass removals, etc., are often performed by competent general practitioners. The recovery times can also vary greatly based upon the technique chosen. Make sure that you ask about aftercare and additional visits to the hospital.

5. $$$$$

Why? Surgical/Dental costs vary greatly between veterinary hospitals. There are many reasons for varied pricing. As long as your pet is receiving the upmost care is what matters. It is important to compare “Apples to Apples” when pricing surgery. Question the four “Apples” listed above for the best starting point. Simply asking a receptionist for a price will not give you the in depth answer that you and your pet deserve for making an informed decision. Try to be patient and allow a surgical nurse or the surgeon to provide you with all of the information needed about a procedure before you make up your mind about where to go. Dr. Gray recommends scheduling an appointment to meet the team to best collect this information. Visual aids can then be used to better explain the procedure, you can get an official estimate and then you can develop  a relationship with the surgeon. Everyone has different personalities and it important to be comfortable with the people charged with your pet’s care. Most pets only need one surgery in their lifetime. Make it a good one!

Brandywine Veterinary HospitalAbout Brandywine Veterinary Hospital

Brandywine Veterinary Hospital is a family owned and operated business in Chadds Ford that has been serving their valued clients and patients since 1957. A full service Veterinary hospital that offers a friendly feel coupled with state of the art diagnostics’, medicine and surgery. Brandywine provides the highest quality of veterinary medicine with compassion.  Services include all facets of veterinary medicine, dentistry, surgery, boarding, doggy day care, grooming and canine rehabilitation.

Dr. Bradley S. Gray is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary School and lives in North Delaware. He is the current proprietor with special interests in Orthopedic and Soft Tissue Surgery. He is also certified in Canine Rehabilitation, a great compliment to Orthopedic Surgery. Dr. Brad is the second generation of veterinarians in his family. His father Dr. Harry L. Gray started this practice in 1957. Dr. Gray currently shares his home with two Black Labs, a Great Pyrenees/Golden cross and three cats.

Brandywine Veterinary Hospital prides themselves on offering excellent service with competitive pricing. They offer all phases of medical services including wellness visits, vaccinations, flea, tick and heartworm products, preventative medicine, specialty therapeutic diets, ophthalmology, dermatology, dentistry, endocrinology, radiology, arthritis treatments, Stem Cell Therapy, and chemotherapy. Hours of operation are 8AM to 8PM Monday through Friday and 9AM to 5PM Saturdays. Brandywine offers free second opinion surgical consultations. Appointments are recommended to meet the “team”.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, visit Brandywine Veterinary Hospital online, call (610) 459-0500 or email [email protected].

Thank you for allowing us to be a part of your pets’ health!

Bradley S. Gray, VMD CCRP and Staff.


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