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What happens when I leave my pet for surgery?

October 23, 2023

While us vets and nurses are used to looking after our surgical patients each day, we understand that leaving your fur baby with us can be a nerve-wracking experience for both owner and patient. We have put together a quick FAQ to help answer any questions you may have about what goes on once you say “Goodbye” and “See you soon!” to your beloved pet.

I’ve just signed an admission form and left my pet with the surgery nurse – where are they now?

All surgical patients are placed in cages (with fluffy beds of course!) once admitted. We have separate wards for dogs and cats to minimise stress levels and find that some animals are more comfortable with simple changes like having the lights off or the doors closed to reduce noise.

My pet is having a pre-anaesthetic blood test before surgery – what does that mean?

We have the means of running a pre-anaesthetic blood test in-house before we administer any drugs and/or anaesthetic to your pet. This is performed to give us a “snap-shot” of how your pet is functioning internally and can give us information that can’t be picked up on a physical exam. We will take a small sample of blood from your pet’s foreleg or neck, before placing them in their cage. This test is run instantly, and the results give us the information we need to calculate medication suitability and dosages. If we have any concerns regarding these test results, we will contact you before we go ahead with any surgery. 

How long will it be until my pet has their surgery?

This can vary, depending on the procedure that your pet has been admitted for. Sterile procedures (e.g. desexing, orthopaedic surgeries, lump removals) are completed before non-sterile procedures (e.g. dental procedures) to reduce cross-contamination. All of our surgical patients receive a pre-medication (after pre-anaesthetic blood tests have been run), which is made up of a sedative and also provides the first dose of pain relief. This helps to relax patients while they are waiting. Cats have litter trays in their cage and dogs are taken outside to the toilet throughout the day.

When will I hear from you?

We will contact you as soon as your pet is in recovery to update you on their status, how the procedure went, and when you can expect to pick them up. A discharge appointment may have been tentatively booked during your admission consult with the nurse that morning, so we will either confirm that time with you or book an adjusted time depending on how your pet is waking up. Some pets will need a few hours until they are ready to go home, while others wake up like nothing has even happened! You are also welcome to call the clinic at any time during the day for an update.

How do I look after my pet once they are home?

When you collect your pet, the vet or nurse (depending on the surgery performed) will provide you with clear instructions on what to expect and how to care for your pet post-surgery.

We will also follow up the next morning with a phone call to check on your pet’s progress. If you ever have any questions or concerns, please call us as we are always more than happy to help.