Preparing your pet for sedation of anaesthesia

Preparing your pet for sedation of anaesthesia

Preparing your pet for surgery or a sedation can be worrying for you as a pet owner and there is a lot of information to remember. To help decrease anxiety we have created a guide to try and answer some of your questions around preparing your pet for sedation and what to expect after your pet returns home to you. If there are any questions that are not answered here please contact your nearest clinic and they will be happy to help.

Please note the information given below is applicable to healthy pets with no underlying conditions and any pets with health conditions such as diabetes, heart failure, epilepsy etc. will be given specific advice before surgery regarding medications and fasting. Very young pets will also get different instructions regarding fasting.


The day before surgery or sedation your pet will likely be at home with you and therefore you will need to prepare them. Below are a few points you need to follow:

  • Please do not give your pet access to any food after 8pm the night before your pet is due in the clinic. This includes removing any uneaten food from their bowl earlier in the day.
  • Your pet should have access to clean fresh water overnight.
  • If your pet has a very dirty coat it is beneficial to clean them before they are due in for surgery to improve hygiene and minimise risk of infection.

Please note that rabbits and other small pets such as guinea pigs need a constant supply of food, please do not fast these pets before surgery.


The day of surgery you will be given an arrival time when you book your pet in for their procedure. We require that your pet is dropped in at their assigned time, you will be greeted by a member of staff and they will guide you through the consent form for the administration of anaesthesia and the procedure they are booked in for. At this point the member of staff will discuss pre anaesthetic bloods with you.


What are pre anaesthetic bloods? Pre-anaesthetic bloods require a small blood sample from your pet, this allows us to evaluate the kidney and liver function of your pet as well as determine their hydration status. Many pets are excellent at hiding the early signs of disease and illness so these tests allow us to rule out common conditions that may complicate anaesthesia or surgery. We recommend this test in all pets but particularly in those over 7 years of age as issues are much more common in pets as they age. The results of this test can allow us to make the best possible surgical plan and avoid anything that may worsen a present condition.

Before and during the procedure: Your pet will be constantly monitored by a trained member of staff throughout their procedure. To prepare for surgery or for a scan your pet will need some of its coat clipped and the skin will be prepared. An IV catheter will be placed in the front leg of your cat / dog or the ear of your rabbit to allow IV fluids and medications to be given throughout the surgery. For surgeries or uncomfortable procedures we ensure your pets are given medications to manage this pain and make certain they are as comfortable as possible.

After the procedure, a vet or nurse will be with your pet until they are fully recovered from their anaesthesia, during this time they will monitor them as well as offer them comfort as they wake up from their sleep. Once they can sit up we will call you with an update and to arrange a time they can go home. All post-operative instructions will be discussed when you come to the clinic to collect your pet. Surgical patients will go home with instructions for rest as well as some medications to help with any pain they may feel. Most pets will go home that day, we rarely require overnight stays for routine procedures if your pet has a more serious surgery, then an overnight stay may be required.


For further information please call your local clinic where a Vet or Nurse will be able to assist your query –


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