Behind the Scenes

What happens when your pet comes in for Surgery? We take a look behind the scenes…

On Arrival at the Vets

We ask you to bring your pet along as early as possible to enable us to settle your pet into their kennel. Upon arrival, you will be asked to complete and sign a consent form. This is required legally. You sign this consent form for a few reasons: you understand the anaesthetic and surgical risk involved, we are performing the procedure/s you requested, you agree to the terms and conditions of payment on collection of your pet. At this point, we will weigh your pet to get an accurate body weight. This is so we can calculate the accurate dosage of any drugs that need to be administered throughout their day’s stay.

In the Kennel Room

On admission, your pet will be housed in a safe and secure kennel with a Vetbed, which is a thick fleecy blanket that keeps them comfortable and warm during their stay. These kennels are made from a special material that enables us to keep them clean and minimise the risk of infection.
We aim to keep all pets as comfortable and as stress-free as possible whilst they stay with us. If we think your pet is particularly stressed during their stay, we will contact you to arrange an earlier collection time.


We will give your pet a premedication via an injection under the skin, like a vaccination, which mildly sedates them ready for their anaesthetic. This is usually given 40 minutes prior to the induction of the anaesthesia.
Once the premedication has taken effect, it is time for their general anaesthetic. They are taken through to the operating theatre where the anaesthetic drug is given via an injection into their vein of their front leg, using an intravenous catheter.  (It is the same drug which is used in humans!) Once they are asleep, a tube is passed down their windpipe. This is to keep their airway clear and for the anaesthetic gas to be inhaled, maintaining appropriate level of anaesthesia.


They are then connected to the anaesthetic machine via a circuit of tubing.

Monitoring Anaesthetic


Your pet is then connected to a pulse oximeter which measures the level of oxygen in the bloodstream


We also measure their heart rate via an oesophageal stethescope; a tube is passed down the throat and into the food-pipe (oesophagus) until it is level with the heart. It is connected to a headset so we can listen to the heart beat. Their respiratory (breathing) rate is also monitiored.
All these measurements are marked on an anaesthetic chart for each individual pet and attached to their records.

Preparing for Surgery

Depending on the surgery, the preparation protocols differ slightly. For routine operations such as neutering and lump removals, the surgical area is clipped and scrubbed to provide a sterile operating site. This greatly reduces the risk of any post-op infections.
The Veterinary Surgeon will scrub their hands and arms and change into a surgical gown and put on sterile surgical gloves to commence the procedure.

Surgery Begins

The Veterinary Surgeon remains sterile throughout the procedure and, with the support of the Nursing team, has all the necessary equipment to hand at all times.

Once the procedure has been completed, the surgical site is thouroughly cleaned again, helping to reduce the risk of infection even further.

Depending on the length of time your pet is under anaesthetic determines their recovery time. We try to ensure your pet is not asleep for too long but obviously endeavour to ensure we do the best surgery to our capabilities. Many routine operations performed daily can last between 20-45 minutes, more complicated operations can take 1-1.5 hours or more.Once your pet is waking up, they are wrapped up in a warm towel or blanket and placed back in their kennel on the Vetbed to make sure they don’t lose too much body heat. All post-operative patients are placed on a heat pad to enable a smoother and faster recovery.

Each animal is assessed by us throughout their recovery. We will request for you to call and enquire about your pet around lunchtime. At this point, we will let you know how they are doing and an estimated time for discharge will be arranged. This will be the same day, generally between 3-5.30pm. This gives your pet enough time to recover fully.

Hand Feeding

We offer food and water once our patients are nice and awake. Sometimes if a pet is feeling a bit funny after their anaesthetic, or if they are nervous, they may not want to eat which is totally normal! Others will want to eat loads of food as soon as they are awake, so it can vary greatly between patients.

Upon discharge, you will be given a post-op instruction sheet for their immediate aftercare. This information sheet is to ensure your pet recovers from their surgery as quickly and comfortably as possible and it is important it is followed because it is in your pet’s best interests.

As a rule, we see all of our patients 2-3 days post-surgery and 10 days for the removal of their stitches, or ‘sign off’ appointment if sub-cutaneous (under the skin) stitches have been used. This is all included in the price of the surgery so, unless medications are prescribed, there will be no charge for this service.

As you can see, we take great care with your pets whilst they are with us. Their safety and comfort are our top priority at all times. 


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