Your pet is having an anaesthetic

Anaesthetic induction is necessary to perform a multitude of non-surgical and surgical procedures.  This article provides important information to pet owners about the admission of a cat, dog or small animal into one of our hospitals for an anaesthetic. If you are concerned about your pet's day at our hospital or have any further questions we welcome you to call our pet healthcare team. They will be more than happy to answer your questions and provide more information. 

Video - Behind the scenes and bringing your pet in for an anaesthetic


What do you need to think about before your pet goes into hospital?

For the protection of our patients we require that all pets in the hospital are fully vaccinated. If you are unsure of your pet's vaccination status please check with our staff. We only accept unvaccinated pets after a complete health check and may hospitalise them separately in our isolation ward if there is any risk to other patients.


Is a non-invasive, safe way of identifying your pet for life. Now is a great time to consider microchipping, particularly if your pet's visit is for routine desexing.


Your pet will not be able to have a bath for at least 10-12 days after sterile surgery, therefore if your pet requires bathing we recommend that it be done prior to the day of surgery.

What do you need to think about the night before surgery?

The most important thing to remember is to restrict your pet from eating after midnight the night before surgery. You can leave their water bowl out until early the next morning, at which time you will need to remove it.

Arriving at the hospital

When you first arrive at the hospital we will ask you to assist us in completing an admission form, which includes contact phone numbers, as well as relevant information about your pet. If your pet has recently been ill, and we are not aware of it, we also request that you share this information with us.

Depending on the type of surgery being undertaken you may also need to see one of our veterinarians to review any changes in your pet's condition.

Finally, you are welcome and encouraged to accompany our nurse to the hospital ward where your pet will be staying, to help settle him/her into their kennel.

What happens to your pet in the hospital?

Once your pet has been admitted to our ward, we will perform a health check to assess the heart, lungs and body in general. A pre-medication injection (includes sedation and pain relief) will then be administered. This will help your pet to relax, in preparation for the surgery. We may also place an intra-venous catheter, to provide an uncomplicated route to administer intravenous fluids and medications. Once the anaesthetic agent has been administered a qualified nurse anaesthetist will constantly monitor your pet's vital signs during the surgery and while in recovery.

It is usually necessary to clip your pet's hair around the surgery area for optimum surgical conditions.

During surgery we administer pain relief and provide intraoperative fluids.

After the surgery your pet will recover on a heating pad, accompanied by hygienic, dry and fluffy bedding. Our veterinary nurse will continue to monitor your pet during recovery.

Picking your pet up

After the surgery is completed, we will contact you to arrange a convenient discharge appointment. Our veterinary nurse will explain how to take care of your companion at home, and provide you with a supplementary leaflet on providing the best care. Unless otherwise arranged, full payment is required at time of discharge.

Your day

We are often asked whether or not a pet parent should stay at home to care for a pet after surgery, particularly for routine surgery such as desexing. Generally pets make a speedy recovery after routine surgery. For this reason staying at home with them is not necessary as long as they have somewhere warm and comfortable to stay. However, if you are considering making special plans to be with your pet, we suggest you take the day off after surgery rather than the day of surgery.

A special note for rabbit owners

Fasting not required - your rabbit does not need to fast prior to an anaesthetic. This means they can have access to food as normal.

Please bring food - So your rabbit can continue to graze during the day please bring with you a container filled with their usual food.

Are there any risks of an anesthetic?

Modern anaesthetics make the risks associated with undergoing surgery as low as they have ever been. All routine surgeries such as desexing conducted at our hospital include the 8 key elements of a safe surgery.

  1. Basic blood workup so we can predict how your pet will react to an anaesthetic.
  2. Intraoperative fluids during surgery which will help your pet to recover quickly.
  3. Pain relief - including an injection during surgery, and take home tablets. May not be required for some procedures
  4. Gas anaesthesia - the safest anaesthesia.
  5. Sterile surgery - fully gowned surgery team, similar to human healthcare.
  6. A dedicated surgical theatre.
  7. Specialized equipment for anaesthetic monitoring.
  8. Qualified nursing staff giving dedicated patient monitoring and care.

To decrease any potential risks pets over 7 years of age or high risk surgical procedures require detailed pre-anaesthetic blood testing and pre and post operative fluids.

Pre anaesthetic blood testing is a more detailed laboratory test that assesses your pet's red cell count, protein levels and liver and kidney function. Abnormalities in these parameters may affect a patient's ability to recover from an anaesthetic and it is important to know that all is beforehand.

Things to Remember!

  • Is your pet vaccinated?
  • Do you need to bathe your pet in the next week? If so, it's time for a bath!
  • Is it time to Microchip?
  • Remember - No food for your pet after midnight the night before surgery
  • No water the morning of surgery
  • Bring any prescribed medication your pet is currently using (parasite control products i.e. "Revolution" not required)
  • Do you have a number we can contact you on the day of surgery?



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