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Companion animal practice
Postoperative management of gastrointestinal cases
  1. Tim Charlesworth

1. Physiology and initial stabilisation

Abstract

Small animals that have undergone surgery of the gastrointestinal tract can all too easily deteriorate and succumb to potentially devastating complications if their postoperative care is inadequate. Veterinary surgeons therefore need to pay just as much attention to the postoperative phase of patient management as to the preoperative and intraoperative phases. This article describes the normal physiology and healing of the gastrointestinal tract, and discusses the provision of analgesia and intravenous fluid support for patients following gastrointestinal surgery. A second article, to be published in the October issue of In Practice, will outline the nutritional requirements of these animals, and consider the appropriate use of antibiotics as well as the need for active monitoring for postoperative complications.

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