East Catawba Animal Clinic

Pre-Surgical Packet

Prepare for your pet’s surgery with the helpful information below.

What you need to know for your pet’s surgery

With your pet’s surgery day approaching, we wanted to give you some important information.  We know that this can be very stressful for you and your pet, and we want you to be comfortable with this process.

Inside this packet, you will find information on:

  1. Preparation before surgery
  2. Pre-Operative Testing
  3. Surgical Information
  4. Discharge information

On the day of surgery, you will be asked to sign a consent form and an estimate to assure that we have clear communication on the surgery performed, what is expected, and the cost incurred.  If you have any questions about this information prior to your surgery appointment, please contact us.

Thank you for entrusting us with your pet’s care,

East Catawba Animal Clinic

Preparation Before Surgery

Preparation helps reduce the risks associated with your pet’s surgery.  While we cannot fully eliminate the risks of surgery, the following steps will reduce the risk that your pet will have complications on surgery day.  Please follow these instructions prior to surgery.

  1. Please remove all food beginning at 10 pm on the night prior to surgery.
  2. Water is allowed until departure to the animal hospital. We do not want you to restrict water because your pet may become dehydrated, which can cause complications or delay the anesthetic procedure.
  3. Continue to withhold food on the morning of surgery. If you have forgotten to withhold food, please call us so that we can take the necessary precautions or reschedule if needed.
  4. Please walk your pet on the morning of surgery to allow them to fully use the bathroom. If your pet has not been walked, please tell us. (If we are scheduled to do a stool test, please bring the sample with you.)

For your pet’s safety, please bring them in on a leash or in a carrier.

During Registration, we will:

  1. Confirm phone numbers so that we can reach you at any point during the day. Please be available so that we do not have to postpone the surgery.
  2. Review the procedure risks, potential complications, and expected recovery, and answer any questions that you have.
  3. Confirm any additional services that you have selected.
  4. Go over an estimate and get a signature for the estimate.
  5. Go over the consent form and get a signature for your consent.
  6. If a deposit is required, we will take a deposit at this time.

The length of time for the registration depends on your pet’s specific needs.  Please be prepared for this to take up to 30 minutes.  If you have any questions or time constraints, please contact us ahead of time to discuss alternatives.

Pre-Operative Testing

Your pet’s well-being is our number one priority.  One way to reduce your pet’s anesthetic risk involves performing pre-operative bloodwork.  Prior to surgery, we will perform a physical exam and run a pre-operative profile.  This blood panel alerts the veterinarian if there are any complicating factors such as dehydration, anemia, infection, diabetes, or organ disease that may not be detected on a physical exam.  Having this information helps us make the correct decisions on whether to proceed with surgery or whether extra measures should take place prior to surgery to reduce any risk.

The pre-op panel includes:

  1. CBC (White Blood Cell – Infection; Red Blood cell – Anemia; Platelet – clotting disorder)
  2. Chemistry (BUN and CREA – Kidneys; ALKP and ALT – Liver; Glucose – Diabetes)

Additional testing may be required or recommended based on your pet’s specific needs, such as heartworm, retrovirus, or urine testing.

Surgical Information

Some of the common risks of surgery are:

  1. Bleeding
  2. Swelling
  3. Infection
  4. Anesthetic reaction
  5. Suture reaction

All the above preparations help to reduce your pet’s anesthetic and surgical risks.  Unfortunately, the unthinkable can occur, and we want to be prepared to handle this emergency in the appropriate manner.  You will be asked if you would like us to perform life-saving measures if your pet has an emergency and rare risk of death or cardiac arrest.  Knowing your wishes prior to the event allows us to start immediate critical intervention, including CPR, without calling you first.  Once we initiate CPR, we will call and discuss with you the next steps.

During Surgery:


As discussed above, anesthesia comes with inherent risks.  This risk increases in our senior pets, animals who are overweight, and those who have other health conditions.  If you have any questions regarding your pet’s risks, please don’t hesitate to speak with your veterinarian. 

Intravenous Catheterization and Fluids

All surgery patients get an IV catheter placed prior to anesthesia.  A catheter allows us to have quick venous access to control blood pressure, heart rate, and heart rhythm during surgery.  IV fluids are administered to help prevent dehydration during surgery, which allows for a quicker recovery from medications.


All patients have heart rate, heart rhythm, oxygen levels, respirations, and temperature monitored for the duration of the surgical procedure to assure that the patient maintains the proper levels for each vital statistic. 

Pain Management

One of our primary concerns is to ensure your pet experiences as little pain as possible.  During the pre-operative phase of the procedure, your pet will receive pain medication that lasts the duration of the surgical procedure.  Often another injection of pain medication will be given post-operatively to provide continued comfort. Your pet will be sent home with oral pain medications.

Discharge Information

After the surgery is completed and your pet is in recovery, our doctors will give you a call to let you know when you can come to pick up your pet for discharge.

When you arrive to pick up your pet, our staff will review discharge instructions and help answer any questions that you may have.

All discharges will be sent home with some basic instructions as listed below, but additional information and instructions may be given at the time of discharge.

  1. Your pet may be offered water after 6 pm the evening of the surgery.
  2. If your pet can keep water down without vomiting, then you can offer a small amount of food (usually 1/3 of a normal meal). Don’t be surprised if your pet does not eat or drink the evening of the surgery date, as this is very common after anesthesia.
  3. Pain medication instructions will be given as to when to start them.
  4. Exercise should be limited to leash walking for a period of 7 – 10 days or longer, depending on the type of surgery.
  5. Outdoor dogs/cats should be kept inside the night of the surgery.
  6. Incision Care – Incisions should be monitored for bleeding, swelling, and infection.

At East Catawba Animal Clinic, we strive to provide your pet with the highest quality and most compassionate care.  Thank you for entrusting us with the care of your pet.

East Catawba Animal Clinic