Preperation for Surgery

Preparing Your Pet for Surgery – Before and Aftercare

We understand the concern you feel when one of your pets has to undergo an operation. This information will help you to prepare your pet and yourself for surgery.


Since the stress of an operation can lower your pet’s resistance to infectious disease, check that their vaccinations are up-to-date before surgery.

Cats, Dogs and Ferrets need to be fasted from 8pm the evening before the operation; however water can be made available until 7am in the morning. Your pet needs to have an empty stomach so that there is a reduced risk of vomiting while under anaesthesia.

Keep your cat in overnight before the operation, so that you can ensure that they don’t have access to any food – either by hunting or being fed by a neighbour.

Small pets e.g. hamsters, rabbits, rats, mice and guinea pigs must NOT be deprived of water or fasted before anaesthesia. Their metabolism is different from cats and dogs and they require a constant source of food. They are also unlikely to vomit under an anaesthetic.

Operation Day

Allow sufficient time in the morning to ensure that you arrive in good time for your admission appointment; trying to get a hungry cat into a carrier may take longer than you think!

Dogs should be taken for a short walk for toileting purposes prior to admission.

Ensure dogs are wearing safe and secure collars and leads.

Cats and small animals should be brought in safe and secure carriers.

At your admission appointment you will be asked to sign a consent form for the anaesthetic and procedure to be carried out. It is important you check all the details are correct; especially the contact number where you will be contactable for the whole time your pet is with us.

The Procedure

When your pet has been admitted, the nursing staff will prepare and administer a pre-medication. This helps your pet settle down and aids induction and recovery from anaesthetic.

The operation is carried out by our vets, under sterile conditions in the operating theatres. Our nurses constantly monitor your pet’s vital signs throughout the procedure.

Patient recovery occurs in a comfortable and warm kennel area, where your pet is kept under careful observation.

If we haven’t already made a discharge appointment, you will be asked to call us at around 2 pm, so that we can discuss progress and arrange a time for your pet to be collected. Under normal circumstances we usually discharge pets between 4pm – 6pm.

Back at Home


Your pet may still appear a little drowsy on collection, due to the anaesthetic. This drowsiness may persist for up to 24 hours.

Keep your pet warm and quiet, but not in a ‘stuffy’ atmosphere.

Offer a light meal; e.g. our recovery diet or white meat and rice. Don’t worry if your pet is not hungry; this is quite normal following a general anaesthetic. It is imperative however, that small pets i.e. rabbits, guinea pigs, rats, mice and hamsters etc. eat within 24hrs and we should be contacted immediately if they do not.

Ensure water is freely available.

CATS should be kept indoors for at least 24 hours, even if they normally go out.

DOGS can be taken for a short walk on the lead for toileting purposes.

Your pet may have a small area of hair clipped from either or both front legs; this is done to facilitate intravenous injections.



Keep a close eye on any wound; if there is excessive redness, soreness, swelling or discharge, contact the surgery.
Most animals try to lick their wounds but they should eventually get used to having stitches. If your pet does try to remove their stitches we may dispense an Elizabethan collar or a Pet Shirt to prevent them getting at the wound.

Any stitches, if they are not dissolving, will need removal in 10-14 days

Any bandage must be kept dry and clean. If it becomes wet, dirty or very smelly, contact the surgery. Dogs should have the bandage covered when they go out; use a polythene bag with an old sock to hold it in place. This should not be left in place when the dog is indoors.

Make sure that your pet receives any treatment according to the veterinary surgeon’s instructions, checking the dosage carefully on the medication label. Many owners find it helpful to draw up a chart and tick off each dose when it is given so that nothing is forgotten.

Don’t worry if your pet takes a few days to return totally to normal; this is quite common, especially in older animals. A tube is put down your pet’s throat during the anaesthetic to help it breathe and occasionally this irritates the windpipe and may cause it to cough for a few days. This will gradually stop.

We offer appointments throughout the day until as late as 7pm.. We will endeavour to arrange a convenient appointment time, with the vet of your choice.
Because we have a very low turnover of staff, we can offer a friendly and personal service, with the vet you will have come to know and trust. Our consultations are typically 15 minutes long, but may be extended if necessary. During this time, your vet will examine your pet and determine the best course of action, paying careful attention to your particular concerns, if any.
Treatment options and costs
We will discuss the various options for treatment available, the costs and the prognosis to ensure you have a thorough understanding so that you can make an informed decision. We will prepare written estimates for any treatments if appropriate.
Treatment and admission
In some cases the proposed treatment may only take a few minutes, but in others your pet may need to be admitted into the practice. On admission, your pet will be settled into a kennel ward and looked after by our nurses and nursing assistants whilst they await the procedure.
Modern day general anaesthesia is very safe. The anaesthetic drugs we use are the safest available in veterinary medicine; indeed, there is a good chance you would receive the same protocol in a human hospital. Our qualified veterinary nurses have had specific training in monitoring anaesthesia, and perform several different checks during the procedure, noting down and informing our vets of any changes in the animal’s vital parameters. Even though we also use sophisticated anaesthetic monitoring equipment, we rely on our nurses to monitor the patient throughout the procedure – recording data on a special anaesthetic chart. At every stage there are at least two people involved in your pet’s care, and he or she is constantly reassured and treated with gentle handling.
We have vets and nurses caring for your pet all day long. Your primary vet will communicate with the vet taking over the care of your pet via telephone, ensuring that you are kept informed every step of the way. Once the procedure has taken place your pet will be returned to a comfortable bed in the kennel ward to recover. You will be contacted by our team to give you an update on your pet’s progress at least once a day, usually after morning rounds. You are welcome to call at any time to get an interim update if you are at all worried. If your pet is in hospital for an extended period, we can usually arrange for you to visit and spend some time with them. When your pet is ready to come home, we will call you to arrange an appointment at a convenient time for you to collect your pet.
At the discharge appointment we will advise you of any after-care required and give you a Post-op Care sheet, if appropriate. We will also arrange a Post-op Check or follow-up appointment to keep a close eye on your pet’s continued progress.