Preparing for an anaesthetic

The thought of your pet undergoing surgery can feel daunting. Rest assured that we are here to support you and your pet and can answer any questions you may have. To help you prepare for your pet’s upcoming procedure, we have included important pre-op advice below. 

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Cats & Dogs 

  • The number one golden rule for preparing for an anaesthetic is –NO food after midnight the night before (this DOES NOT apply to Rabbits and Guinea Pigs). The main reason for this is to avoid your pet vomiting and potentially inhaling it. This can also prevent them feeling sick when in recovery from the anaesthetic. 
  • You may leave water down overnight but collect it first thing in the morning when you get up. 
  • Give your pet the opportunity to relieve themselves prior to coming into surgery/anaesthetic. This is obviously much easier for dogs, and we advise taking them for a short gentle walk to encourage toileting. 
  • To reduce anaesthetic risk, please make sure your dog is not covered in mud. We will have to prep your dog prior to surgery so this may make their anaesthetic longer. 
  • Tell the Nurse if you have noticed any unusual behaviour– Such as vomiting, diarrhoea, sneezing or coughing. These can all be indicators that may need to be investigated before an anaesthetic. 
  • Tell the Nurse if your pet is on medication– Although the Nurse will have your pet’s records ready, it is always helpful to remind them of the medication your pet is on, when you last gave it, and bring it in with you. 
  • Bring in a familiar blanket/toy– Some pets become anxious when they stay somewhere new to them.  A familiar smelling blanket or toy can really help put them at ease during their stay with us. 
  • Give us a phone number you can be contacted on– Sometimes we may need to phone you during your pet’s anaesthetic and an answerphone is no good, so we need a current number that we are able to get hold of you on. Give us as many as you want! 
  • Have faith in your Veterinary team– If we recommend/suggest extra blood samples or fluids, then it is because we think it will benefit your pet. 
  • Ask questions– Please ask us anything. We are always happy to help you and your pet and answer any questions that you may have about the anaesthetic or surgery. 
  • Bring your pet in suitably restrained– Cats should be always contained within a rigid cat carrier. Dogs should be restrained with a suitable lead or harness and if necessary, a muzzle. 


Rabbits & Guinea Pigs 

  • When bringing in Rabbits or Guinea Pigs,please feed as normal. They do not need to be starved. 
  • If they are coming in for an anaesthetic/surgery– please bring in their usual food to the surgery. 
  • If your pet is on a special diet, then please bring in a portion for their visit. 


Read about the surgical treatments and facilities we offer at Southill Vets.

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