Top 5 Pet Surgery FAQs: What to Expect & How to Prepare

If your pet is scheduled for pet surgery, it’s natural to feel anxious or nervous about this upcoming procedure. Even if it is a routine procedure such as spay or neuter, you may still be wondering what to expect and how best to prepare your pet. Below, our Chula Vista veterinarian answers five of your top pet surgery questions.

#1: When does my pet need surgery?

Your dog or cat may need routine pet surgery, such as spay and neuter, or more advanced surgery, such as soft tissue surgery, following an accident injury. Pet surgery may also be necessary to take a tissue biopsy or in the event of a life-threatening emergency, such as gastric torsion.

#2: How should I prepare my pet for surgery?

In general, our Chula Vista veterinarian will schedule most procedures for the morning. Our veterinarian recommends withholding food from your pet at least 12 hours in advance of surgery. If your pet’s surgery is scheduled for the morning, feed your pet a small evening meal and then only allow your pet access to fresh drinking water. To streamline the surgical check-in process, our vet will also give you a pre-operative surgical release form to complete prior to your pet’s operation.

#3: Will my pet receive anesthesia?

Yes, even if your pet is undergoing a minor procedure, your pet will still receive anesthesia prior to surgery in order to alleviate pain associated with the operation. Prior to administering anesthesia, our veterinarian will conduct diagnostic blood work to ensure there are no prior existing conditions that may contraindicate the use of anesthesia. Our Chula Vista veterinarian takes your pet’s safety very seriously, and carefully monitors your pet’s vital signs at each stage of the operation in order to ensure there are no complications from either the anesthesia or the procedure. Today’s modern anesthetics have made surgery a safe choice for dogs and cats.

#4: What should I expect following pet surgery?

Following surgery, we will place pets in our post-surgical recovery suite and monitor their vital signs as they awake from anesthesia. For most routine procedures, such as spay/neuter surgery, pets will be ready to return home by mid-afternoon. More advanced procedures may require overnight monitoring at our animal hospital. All pets will be sent home with detailed post-operative care instructions and pain management medication. In general, pets will be ready to be active again after just a few days. In fact, you may find your biggest challenge to be keeping your pet quiet while any stitches heal.

#5: How do you manage animal pain?

During the operation, we administer anesthesia to manage your pet’s pain. Post-operation, we will send your pet home with pain management medication. Thanks to advancements in pain management protocol, today’s veterinary medications are safer than ever before for controlling pain. If you feel like your pet’s pain is not adequately being managed post-surgery, please contact our Chula Vista veterinarian hospital for additional instructions.


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South Bay Veterinary Hospital
1038 Broadway
Chula Vista, CA 91911
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  • Phone: 619-422-6186
  • Fax: 619-422-3193
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