Whether it is a routine sterilization, a teeth clean or something more serious taking your pet for a surgical procedure can be nerve wracking. Below are some of the things you should know that may help you both cope!

Things to consider;

• Are your pet’s vaccinations are up to date?

• If you bath your dog regularly will you want to do it in the next 10 days? If so do it now.

• If your pet does not have a microchip now is the perfect time to get one inserted! 

• Do you have all the answers? You will feel much more relaxed about the upcoming procedure if you have discussed your concerns prior to surgery. Don’t be shy to call your vet practice a few days before to chat; the staff will be more than willing to answer your questions.

BEFORE anaesthetic and surgery

Apart from giving your pet a thorough examination prior to administering an anaesthetic, your vet may want to take blood from your pet in order to run laboratory tests, particularly if your pet is over a certain age. 


This usually comprises of a pre anaesthetic screening test that will help determine, amongst other things, what sort of shape your pet’s major organs are in, particularly the kidneys and liver. These organs help with the metabolism of anaesthetics and medication and will give the veterinarian a good idea of how your pet will cope with the upcoming procedure. The vet will also be able to pick up anything else that may not be considered normal.

The night before admitting your pet to hospital you will be asked to fast your pet for 12 hours. Which basically means supper but no breakfast on the day of the procedure. Access to water is usually not a problem unless specified by your veterinarian.

All anaesthetics, whether human or animal, come with some amount of risk, these are often related to underlying medical conditions that may not be apparent externally.

However, with the use of modern sedatives, anaesthetic techniques and equipment as well as the constant monitoring of your pet during the procedure and recovery, your pet will be given the best care possible by your trained veterinary team.

ON the day.

You will probably be asked to take your pet in to your vet hospital early in the morning some time between 8.00am  – 9am.

When you arrive you will be asked to fill in an admittance /consent form. 

Please take special care when completing the information required. You will be asked to provide a contact number or numbers where you can be reached throughout the day. 

PLEASE be attentive and check your phone from time to time in case you are needed.

Once all the paperwork is completed your pet will be settled into a hospital ward to await surgery.

You may also be asked to make a discharge appointment with the veterinarian for later that day.

Now what? 


Although it may be a little strange for your pet the majority of animals are very relaxed once admitted to hospital. If we feel that your pet is particularly anxious a sedative can be administered early to help them stay calm.

Once your pet is sedated and intravenous anaesthesia is administered the surgical area will be shaved of hair. This is to ensure that the surgical site can be properly cleaned and prepped before surgery. Your pet may also be administered gas anaesthesia via an anaesthetic machine, once in theatre heart rate and oxygen concentration will be monitored. 

Like any human hospital there is usually a list of surgical procedures that need to be performed on any given day, which the veterinary team will work their way through. Most practices advise their clients to call after lunchtime to get an update on how things are going. So please don’t worry if you haven’t heard from your vet practice until later in the day.

What about me? what is my role as an owner on the day?

• try not to be too anxious – trust your vet team!

• stay attentive to your phone just in case you are needed.

Most animals make a speedy recovery from surgical procedures but you may want to stay home to take care of your pet. As your pet will be with your vet for the entire day of the surgery, if you really feel the need and depending on the severity of the procedure, it is preferable for you to take off the following day.

Once the procedure is over and your pet has fully recovered your pet will be ready to be discharged. 

During the discharge appointment your vet may discuss the procedure and give you any instructions with regards to wound care or oral medication that you will need to administer at home. 

At home…

Once home your pet may just want to find somewhere warm and comfortable to sleep.  Please monitor your pet and don’t hesitate to contact your vet if you have any concerns. 

Your pet may or may not eat supper but by the following day should be feeling pretty much back to normal. Keep an eye open for excessive licking or scratching of surgical wounds or dressings.    

Don’t forget to keep that check up appointment!

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