My pet needs surgery, now what?

It can often be daunting when your pet needs a procedure, requiring them to be anaesthetised. We hope that the information contained in this brochure will help to put your mind at ease. So much research has been done to ensure a safe induction, anaesthesia and recovery, and we would like to assure you that we follow Australian Veterinary guidelines & take all precautions necessary to ensure your furkid is in the best hands during their veterinary procedure.

Reasons for undergoing an anaesthesia

✓ Routine desexing
✓ Trauma & illness
✓ Dentals
✓ Orthopaedic surgery
✓ Exploratory work up & diagnosis
✓ Radiographs
✓ Reproduction

The Anaesthetic Procedure

If your pet is requiring to be anaesthetised, there will be several steps that need to be undertaken, by both yourself as an owner, and us, as a veterinarian.

✓ Fasting – your pet will be required to have an empty stomach. They may have a normal dinner the night before surgery. Please ensure you take food away 12 hours prior to admission, unless advised otherwise. We do not restrict water intake, unless advised otherwise. This is to ensure they do not have retained undigested food that may be aspirated, causing risk during anaesthesia.
✓ Admission – our veterinary practice will admit surgical patients between 8:30am and 9:30am on the day of surgery. During admission, we’ll request you to complete an admission form.
✓ Pre-Anaesthetic blood test – it may be recommended that we do a pre-anaesthetic blood test, which is a comprehensive diagnostic tool, giving us same-day, real-time blood work results making us aware of any serious complications that may affect induction, anaesthesia & recovery. Like any anaesthetic, there may be risks, regardless of the animal’s physical health. A pre-anaesthetic blood test will help us ascertain any possibly risks, and we’ll adjust our treatment as necessary. We may also suggest that your pet receives surgical fluids, to help support their system throughout anaesthesia and recovery.
We will discuss this if necessary, during admission. Feel free to ask any questions during this time.
✓ Discharge – if your pet is requiring a day surgery, you’ll be able to take them home on the afternoon of the procedure. They will generally recover quite well from the anaesthetic, and our nurses will contact you to organise a time suitable to pick them up. In most cases, we recommend that you use an Elizabethan collar on your pet. This stops them chewing and licking at their suture line, which can lead to infection or opening the wound. E-Collars are available to purchase at our clinic.


Your veterinarian may provide medication either before or after post operatively to treat an infection or manage pain that may be associated with the required procedure. It is important to follow all directions as labelled. Non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs, or ‘NSAIDS’, will help minimise discomfort from the procedure. NSAIDS are medications that reduce inflammation and swelling. These medications must be given with food to reduce the risk of irritation. If your pet vomits or develops diarrhoea or stops eating while they are taking these medications, please stop giving them and contact us immediately. Antibiotics may be prescribed if your vet deems it is necessary to treat a bacterial infection immediately before, during and after the procedure.

Home Care

✓ Give all your medications as prescribed by your veterinarian
✓ Attend all scheduled revisits
✓ Water may be given when your pet returns home as usual
✓ Feed only a small amount the night of anaesthesia
✓ Your vet will advise you if any changes to your pet’s diet are appropriate following the procedure
✓ If at any time, you are concerned about your pet, please contact us immediately If your pet has a suture line, we advise you to follow the instructions that you’ll be given at your pet’s hospital discharge.

These will include:
✓ Check sutures daily for redness, swelling and discharge. These are NOT normal signs of recovery, and if you notice any symptoms, please get in touch as soon as possible.
✓ Do not allow your swim or get wet while they have sutures
✓ Ensure your pet is not licking or chewing at the suture line, and an Elizabethan collar is always on your pet. If your pet does lick or chew at their suture line, they are at risk of post-operative infection, or re-opening their surgical line. If this is the case, your pet may require further surgical and medication intervention.
This is NOT included in your initial surgical costs.
✓ Return to the clinic for sutures to be removed 10-14 days after surgery If your pet has bandages, please be sure to follow these instructions:
✓ No licking / chewing at bandages (ensure Elizabethan collar is on)
✓ No swimming or getting wet
✓ Check bandaging daily – should be clean and dry, non-smelly & not causing pain or discomfort
✓ If your pet needs to walk on wet ground for toilet breaks, we recommend place a plastic bag over the bandaged limb
✓ Ensure you follow further instructions from your veterinarian in regards to follow-up appointments and rebandaging.

If you would like any further information regarding our anaesthetic procedures, please don’t hesitate to contact us.