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What You Need to Know Before Your Pet's Upcoming Surgery

Many people have questions about various aspects of their pet’s surgery, and we hope this information will help.  This section reviews the decisions you will need to make before your pet’s upcoming surgery.

Is anesthesia safe?

Today’s modern anesthesia has made surgery much safer.  Each patient’s health and history is evaluated and the safest anesthetic protocol is chosen.

Preanesthetic blood testing is important in preventing complications with anesthesia.  Blood testing will evaluate kidney and liver function and also check for anemia or dehydration.  If any abnormalities are found, supportive measures, such as IV fluids, may be given during the procedure, or the procedure may be canceled or postponed due to the risk of anesthesia being too great.  For geriatric or ill pets, additional testing may be warranted, such as an EKG or radiographs.  Blood tests may be run prior to the procedure and sent to an outside laboratory or done in-house, or may be tested the morning of the procedure and run in-house.  

It is important that surgery be done on an empty stomach to reduce the risk of vomiting during and after anesthesia.  You will need to withhold food and water after 8 PM the night before surgery.  If you choose to drop off your pet the night prior to surgery, we will make sure your pet has fasted.

Will my pet be in pain?

Anything that causes pain in people can be expected to cause pain in animals.  Pets may not show the same symptoms of pain as people do.  They may whine, hide, have reluctance to get up and move around, may bite at or lick their wound excessively, or may have decreased appetite.  Pain medications can be prescribed to aid in the comfort of your pet after his/her procedure.  These pain medications are made exclusively for pets since they cannot safely take most of the over-the-counter medications humans take.


While your pet is under anesthesia, it is the ideal time to perform other minor procedures, such as dentistry, ear cleaning, or implanting an identification microchip.  If you would like an estimate for these extra services, please call ahead of time.  This is especially important if the person dropping the pet off for surgery is not the primary decision maker for the pet’s care.

When you bring your pet in for surgery, we will need 5 to 10 minutes of time to fill out paperwork and make decisions on the blood testing and other options available.  When you pick up your pet after surgery, you can also plan to spend about 10 minutes to go over your pet’s home care needs.

We will call you the night before your scheduled surgery appointment, to confirm the time you will be dropping your pet off and to answer any questions you might have.  In the meantime, please don’t hesitate to call us with any questions about your pet’s health or surgery.

This page last updated on Monday, January 22, 2018