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Elective Surgery Guide

Consumer Guide to Elective Surgery and Procedures

Thank you for recognizing your pet may need to undergo an elective procedure such as spay or neutering.  Many people “shop around” for the best price on this surgery, without the knowledge of why the cost varies among veterinary practices.  This guide was put together to help you find the best fit between the veterinary practice and your expectations for the care of your pet.

1.       What pre-anesthesia evaluation will my pet have prior to surgery?

This is important for a number of reasons. A physical examination is our first defense against performing surgery on an animal that may have infectious disease, a heart murmur, or be debilitated from parasites.   

2.       What safety precautions will be taken with my pet during surgery?

While most surgery is uneventful, emergencies sometimes arise.  Early detection of impending problems greatly aids our ability to intervene and correct the problem. 

An IV catheter will be placed prior to anesthesia induction.  The IV catheter is our port for providing emergency drugs in case of emergency.  IV fluids will be administered to help maintain blood pressure, provide internal organ support and to help keep your pet from becoming dehydrated. 

A breathing tube will be placed (intubation) on all anesthetized animals.  This keeps the airway open and allows for supplemental oxygen or gas anesthesia as needed. This tube is also very important to prevent aspiration into the lungs if a pet vomits or otherwise has excess fluids/materials in its mouth.  If there is an aspiration, this can cause a serious pneumonia.  

A respiratory monitor and heart (EKG) monitor, blood oxygen monitor and patient temperature allows the surgeon to keep track of heart rate and rhythm.  We also have a “crash box” handy, which contains emergency drugs and supplies.

3.       What safety precautions will be taken with my pet after surgery?

Surgery patients lose body heat through anesthesia and the opening of body cavities.  Warmth will be provided during and after anesthesia. If patients get cold the pet becomes uncomfortable and the heart can be affected.  Patient temperature will be monitored at regular intervals after surgery and supplemental heating provided as needed.  Your pet’s gum color, pulse, and respiration will also be monitored.

4.       How will pain be controlled for my pet?

This is very important - surgery hurts!  The anesthetic will not provide pain control once the pet wakes up.  Pain should be controlled before, during and after the day of surgery.  Butorphanol, or torb, is not enough.

We manage your pet’s pain before we even begin the surgical procedure by using a combination protocol that combats the pain pathways from numerous angles—

injectable medications, local blocks, constant-rate infusions, as well as medications to go home, all included in the cost of the surgery.  No pet should have to hurt!

5.              Will I receive written post-surgical care instructions for my pet?

Aftercare of surgical patients is very important for proper healing.  The hospital will provide written discharge instructions for your pet.

6.              Where will my pet’s surgery be performed?


             The facility

Surgery is performed in a room designated for surgery only.

Preparation of the patient

Once the pet is in the hospital on the morning of the procedure, your pet will receive a brief examination, medication to relax him/her as well as pain medication. 

Surgical preparation and attire of surgeon and assistants

Surgeons and assistants prepare themselves to prevent contamination by wearing a surgical cap and mask.  They scrub their hands before donning a sterile surgical gown and gloves. 

Surgical instruments and supplies

Instruments used are be of high quality and well cared for.  Using less than high quality instruments can lead to increased tissue trauma and increased pain and a longer healing time.  The surgical pack of instruments are used on only one pet, then cleaned, lubricated, repackaged and sterilized, just as in human hospitals, to prevent infections. 

All suture materials we use are prepackaged for single use and have a swaged on needle, meaning the suture material is one piece with the needle and is inserted into the rear end of the needle.  This allows for very tiny, atraumatic punctures that produce less pain and tissue trauma.  The materials we use cause less reaction, with less pain and tissue trauma/inflammation, allowing faster healing and greater security.

The surgery performed

Most surgeries for spays and neuters are performed swiftly and with skill at most hospitals.  We have mentioned many things that can change how the patient is after the surgery even if the typical owner cannot appreciate the difference.   


Paw Prints Animal Hospital
35 Lebanon Avenue
Colchester, CT 06415
Phone: 860-537-6397