What to Expect During Your Pet’s Surgery?

Taking your beloved pet through surgery can be a stressful experience. However, being prepared can alleviate much of pet owners’ anxiety when their furry friends need medical procedures. In this article, we aim to elucidate what you, as a pet owner, can expect during your pet’s surgery and how best to prepare.

What You Need to Know Before the Surgery

Pet owners must understand their pet’s health intricacies before proceeding with surgery. Having a thorough understanding of your pet’s condition will help you make informed decisions during the process.

Understanding Your Pet’s Health Condition

  • Before surgery, one of the most important steps is understanding your pet’s health condition. Whether dealing with common issues like dental disorders or more complicated problems like specialist dog surgery for orthopedic issues, knowledge of your pet’s overall health is essential; this comprehension lets you make well-informed decisions about the surgery and potential alternatives.
  • Clear communication is the bedrock of understanding. Hence, it is critical to communicate effectively with your vet. Discuss all potential risks associated with the surgery and alternatives, if any.

Pre-Surgical Assessment

  • Another important step before the surgery is the pre-surgical assessment. A thorough examination of your pet’s health and well-being will be conducted, during which veterinarians will identify potential risks or complications. This crucial step is performed in a pet laboratory in La Mesa, CA.

Pet Wellness Examination Before Surgery

Before any surgical procedure, your veterinarian needs to conduct a thorough pet wellness examination. Below are a few key aspects of this wellness exam:

  1. Physical Examination: The vet will conduct a thorough physical exam, checking your pet from nose to tail. This includes examining the pet’s eyes, ears, skin, and mouth. They will also listen to your pet’s heart and lungs to ensure no underlying issues may complicate surgery.
  2. Health History: The vet will review the pet’s health history. This includes understanding any previous illnesses, surgeries, or health concerns that might affect the upcoming surgery. The vet will consider factors such as age, breed, lifestyle, genetic predispositions, and the general health condition of your pet.
  3. Lab Work: To further inform the surgeon of the pet’s overall health, laboratory testing is often performed. This might include blood tests, urine tests, or imaging such as x-rays or ultrasounds. The results of these tests help determine if any hidden health conditions need addressing before surgery.
  4. Dental Check-ups: A comprehensive oral examination may also be part of the wellness exam, as oral health can significantly impact your pet’s overall well-being. Removing plaque and tartar and addressing any dental disease is crucial before your pet undergoes surgery.
  5. Heartworm and Parasite Testing: Heartworms and parasites can pose severe health risks for your pet, especially during surgical procedures. Your vet will ensure these aren’t present or are treated before surgery.

A comprehensive pet wellness examination before surgery is crucial to ensure your pet is optimal health. Through this wellness exam, your vet can detect potential health problems that may need attention first or could affect your pet’s ability to react positively to anesthesia or the surgical procedure.

The Day of the Surgery

The day of your pet’s surgery can feel extremely daunting. Here’s a list of what to expect on this significant day and steps to take to prepare yourself and your pet.

Preparing Your Pet for Surgery

  1. Water Restriction: Most pets can have free access to water until they leave for the veterinary clinic. However, your vet will provide specific instructions about this.
  2. Food Restriction: Your pet will typically need to fast anywhere from 8 to 10 hours before the surgery to prevent any complications from anesthesia. Ensure to follow these instructions from your vet strictly.
  3. Comfort: Your pet may feel anxious due to the unfamiliar surroundings at the clinic. Packing their favorite toys, clothing with your scent, or a comfy blanket might help reassure and comfort your pet.
  4. Medication: If your pet takes any medication, check with your vet whether or not you should administer their normal dose on the day of surgery.

What Happens During the Surgery

  1. Anesthesia: Like humans, anesthesia will be administered to your pet before the surgery begins to ensure they don’t experience discomfort during the procedure.
  2. Surgery Process: The surgical process may vary depending on the type of surgery being performed. Rest assured, your pet will be closely monitored throughout the surgery to ensure their well-being.
  3. Monitoring: Throughout the surgery, vets will closely monitor your pet’s vital signs, including heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen levels, to ensure they remain stable. The surgical team’s top priority is always your pet’s safety.

Post-Surgery Observations

  1. Waking Up: Your pet will be closely monitored as they wake up from the anesthesia. Initially, they might seem dizzy or disoriented, but that’s completely normal.
  2. Pain Management: After the surgery, pets will be given appropriate medications to keep them comfortable during recovery.
  3. Check-Up: Once your pet is stable and the anesthesia has worn off, your vet will perform another check-up to ensure they recover well before discharging them. Some pets might need to stay overnight for observation following certain surgeries.

Nutrition and Exercise after Surgery

  1. After surgery, your pet will need extra care and attention. You might need to adjust meals and exercise routines to improve their recovery. Each pet is unique, so catering to their needs is essential.
  2. Ensuring that your pet is happy and healthy doesn’t stop after surgery. This goal must be continuous and best achieved by ensuring happiness through routine pet checkups. Regular vet visits keep you up-to-date with your pet’s condition and allow for early detection of potential health issues.


Your stewardship throughout your pet’s surgical experience, from pre-surgery to recovery, will be integral to your pet’s comfort and quick recovery. With understanding, preparation, and patience, the entire journey can be traversed smoothly, resulting in a healthier and happier pet.