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Frequently Asked Questions


What is a Board-Certified Veterinary Surgeon?

Following veterinary school, a veterinarian pursuing a specialty in surgery will undergo further training to become a specialist. They must complete an internship, a three-year residency, publish research in a scientific journal and pass a rigorous examination in order to become Board-Certified. Surgery specialists are called a “Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons” or referred to as a “Board-Certified Surgeons”.

With advancements in veterinary surgery, the American College of Veterinary Surgeons separated small and large animal residencies. Small animal surgery residents focus their training and skills exclusively on surgical diseases of small animals while large animal residents train on horses and farm animals. Small animal surgeons are distinguished by additional acronyms, SA, following their diplomacy status. At the Veterinary Surgery Center of Sarasota, our surgeons each have the title of Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons - Small Animal (DACVS-SA).

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Why choose a Board-Certified Surgeon?

In addition to a Board-Certified Surgeon’s specialized training, surgeons have access to state-of-the-art facilities, advanced equipment and offer a higher level of expertise in surgical diseases, helping to ensure the best possible outcome for your pet. Similar to human surgical centers, veterinary surgeons typically employ veterinary technicians with additional training in areas such as anesthesia monitoring and pre and post-operative surgical care. By seeing the most challenging and complex cases on a day to day basis, surgeons can provide pet owners with many options (some of which may not be available from your primary veterinarian) and help you determine the best treatment for your pet.

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What do I need to prepare for my initial consultation at VSC?

By completing and submitting your client registration form online prior to your visit, you can save time when you arrive at VSC. This also allows us to get your pet’s past medical records and radiographs from your veterinarian before your visit. If your primary veterinarian uses digital radiographs, those x-rays can be sent directly to us by email. If they are film radiographs, you can bring them to the appointment or they can be mailed. The morning of your pet’s consultation you should withhold food for pet in case additional tests are needed (it is okay to have water available). To ensure safety when arriving to VSC Sarasota, canine patients should be on a leash, and feline patients should be in a crate.

What is included in a consultation?

Consultation with our veterinary surgeon involves a detailed review of your pet’s recent and past medical history, a physical examination, orthopedic examination, gait analysis and full discussion about the diagnostic and/or therapeutic options for the condition your pet has presented for.

Other than my pet, what do I need to bring with me to the appointment?

If you were provided paper records or film radiographs from your primary veterinarian, you should bring those with you to the appointment. If you have pet insurance, bring your claim form as well.

How long will my consultation take?

Please allow 30 minutes to one hour for the consultation and 15 minutes for registration if you have not filled out all of your paperwork. The surgeon will answer any questions you have during the appointment. If radiographs or other tests are needed your pet may need to stay with us. In some cases, you may be able to wait for the test.

Does VSC accept all pet insurance?

We accept all pet insurance plans at VSC. If you plan to claim a visit on your pet insurance, please bring the documents that need the veterinarians signature to your consultation or email them to us with “Insurance Forms for “Patient First Name, Last Name” in the subject line. We include a full medical report to support the claim, so please allow 3-5 business days to process the request. We offer immediate payment options through Trupanion insurance. Additional information about pet insurance is available here: Resources


Can my pet have surgery the same day as the consultation?

In some cases, we will perform surgery the same day as the consultation; most often it is for a surgical emergency. In the majority of the cases we will perform all necessary pre-operative diagnostic tests the day of the consultation, provide you a written estimate of the procedure and schedule surgery for the following day or the next available day. This time is beneficial as it allows you to get items necessary for the recovery or make arrangements for the recovery process.

When will my pet have x-rays done?

If x-rays are necessary to diagnose a condition they can be done the same day as the consultation. Many of our radiographs are of limbs and joints that must be positioned in a specific way. If your pet is painful, nervous, or aggressive to strangers we will need to use a quick acting sedative for the radiographs. This is for the pet’s safety and the staff’s safety as it can reduce the radiation exposure.

How will my primary care veterinarian find out my pet’s test results?

Your primary veterinarian is a critical part of the recovery process as they are often a very quick resource and they are familiar with your pet. We will update your primary veterinarian after the consultation and the procedure. We also supply a referral letter that explains what procedures were performed and the follow-up that is necessary for your pet.