“My pet’s having surgery” – What to expect


It can be a scary thing – knowing your pet needs anaesthesia and surgery, and it can be hard watching them walk (or be carried) through our doors into the ICU. We want to as-sure you that, at VetsOne, we have the skills and expertise along with the equipment, to safely perform a number of anaesthetics and surgeries every day, for a range of proce-dures; from more routine neuters and dentals, through to life-saving trauma procedures, emergency C-sections and complicated orthopaedics. This article is designed to outline what you need to know about your pet having a surgery at VetsOne, and how you can help make it go as smoothly as possible.

Before the surgery

At booking, our team will explain the precautions we take before any anaesthetic, including no access to food. This is important to reduce issues with regurgitation during surgery.

On the day of surgery, there will be an admission consult which takes about 15 minutes. You will be asked a number of questions and the team member will perform a health exam. We do this to ensure that your pet is as healthy as it can be for the anaesthetic, or to give us warning if there is a higher risk. If this is the case, we may choose to either delay surgery (if the risk is temporary) or take special actions to mitigate the risk during the surgery. For example, if your pet is in for a neuter, but currently has a cold, we would delay surgery until your pet feels better. Short-nosed dogs can regurgitate during surgery, but this can’t be improved by delaying surgery, so instead we pre-treat with an ant-acid to reduce the acid in stomach fluids in case regurgitation happens.

It is important that you tell us about any special issues your pet might have that can affect the anaesthetic including; current medications, problems with previous procedures or medications, pregnancy, or any illnesses especially any involving the heart or lungs.

Your admissions team member may recommend that additional precautions be taken such as; pre-anaesthetic bloods, radio-graphs or fluids. All of these are designed to increase safety if something in their history or exam suggests these would be useful.

You will also be asked to sign a consent form. This is our opportunity to double check that you have all the information you need and you consent to the procedure. Please feel free to ask questions if you need more information before you sign.

During Surgery

Your pet will enter into our ICU where they are managed by our Surgical Team. They will be observed prior to surgery and when it comes time for their surgery they will be given the appropriate anaesthesia and prepared for surgery then moved to theatre. 

From the time they are anaesthetised until they are in recovery, their vital functions (such as respiration rate, heart rate and blood pressure) are monitored closely by the anaesthetic team. Complications (if any) are quickly identified and appropriate measures taken to counter-act.

Once surgery is complete, your pet is moved back into ICU for recovery where they continue to be monitored by the ICU team until fully recovered.

Going Home

Most animals will be ready to go home the same day, unless the procedure requires additional observation or post-op care such as pain relief drips.

The team caring for your pet will call to give you an update and will book a discharge time. This is the time your pet will be returned home to you and the discharge team will explain any medication and the specific post-op care. Your pet may be a little drowsy the first night home and may or may not choose to eat. Post-op instructions can vary depending on the surgery, but in general terms it is important to;

  • Keep your pet warm, quiet and inside the night of the surgery
  • Check that they appear comfortable
  • Check any incisions daily for swelling, redness and watch that your pet isn’t licking it excessively
  • Give post-op medication as instructed
  • Call the clinic if you have any concerns

We know that’s it’s natural to worry, but please remember that they’re in safe hands with us. We have an experienced team dedicated to getting them home to you safe and sound.