General anaesthesia

Advice for patients having anaesthetic or surgical procedures

1) Withhold food from 8pm the previous evening. Water should be left overnight, but remove in the morning;

2) Admissions are between 8 – 9am on the day of your pet’s operation;

3) Take dogs out before arrival to allow time for toileting. Ensure dogs are clean and dry;

4) Dogs are best brought in on a secure collar and lead and cats in a basket;

5) Please mention any signs of ill health or other unusual signs;

6) Dogs will need transport to return home and cats are safest in a basket. For large dogs a blanket sling may be helpful if stairs or steps are to be negotiated.

General procedures

This is an ideal time to check such routine items as teeth, ears, nails, and anal sacs. Please discuss this with the nurse or veterinary surgeon on admission if you feel any of these need checking. We do our best to check these if requested as long as time allows, but sometimes it is necessary to allow the patient to recover as quickly as possible.


Having your pet undergo a general anaesthetic can be a worrying time. We try to minimise these concerns as much as possible by using the safest anaesthetic agents. One of our nurses will admit your pet and may advise pre-operative blood testing to check some basic metabolic functions depending on the animal’s age and history.

You will be asked to sign a consent form before you leave your pet with us.

Your pet will be weighed, have any necessary blood tests run, and be given pre-medication, which provides relaxation and pain relief. A small patch of hair is clipped on a front leg and a catheter placed. We inject an induction agent (a short-acting anaesthetic) through this catheter and your pet will fall asleep.

A tube is then passed into the airway and anaesthesia is maintained with a gas called isofluorane, carefully metered from the anaesthetic machine. Throughout the procedure we monitor blood oxygen levels, heart and breathing rate.

When the procedure is finished oxygen is given until your pet becomes conscious. The breathing tube is removed and monitoring is continued until they are fully awake. At this point a vet or nurse will call you to report progress and arrange a time for collection when you will be given home care instructions and any medication required. We will usually ask you to make an appointment two days later for a free of charge follow up check.

Anaesthetic risks

With the use of modern anaesthetics, specialised equipment, and highly trained nurses, risks are considerably reduced. However, all anaesthetic techniques and surgical procedures involve some risk to the patient. Problems can occur more often in certain breeds and there can be occasional individual reactions. Any disease, infection or toxicity will increase the risks and if suspected should always be mentioned. Obesity will increase the difficulty experienced if any problems arise. During an operation problems can arise due to bleeding and surgical shock and will vary with the type of operation and individual susceptibility. Sometimes operations may still have to be carried out despite these risks.