Pre-Op Blood Test

Once your pet’s surgery has been scheduled for surgery, it’s important to make sure he or she is healthy for the upcoming procedure. We ask that a blood test be done to evaluate basic organ function prior to anesthesia. This test can be done at your regular veterinarian’s office or at the clinic. The test results need to be evaluated by Dr. Sams or Dr. Hawley within three weeks of the surgery date.

Pre-Op Drug Considerations

Please discontinue anti-inflammatory drugs (i.e. Previcox, Metacam, Rimadyl, Deramaxx) three days prior to surgery. If your pet has been taking aspirin or ascription instead, this needs to be discontinued 14 days prior. This will ideally help minimize unnecessary bleeding during the procedure. If you are concerned that your pet may experience pain by discontinuing the anti-inflammatory medication, let us know, so we might suggest alternative pain medication. Glucosamine/chondroitin and omega-3 fatty acid supplements may be continued without concern, but if your pet is on any other supplement or herb check with us first. You may want to bathe and de-flea your pet prior to surgery, as he or she will not be allowed to get wet for two weeks following surgery.

Pre-Op Fasting

All surgery patients must be fasted prior to anesthesia. Please withhold food and water from your pet beginning at midnight the night before surgery. In most cases, you’ll want to feed your pet a regular dinner and pick up his or her water bowl before going to bed. If your pet takes daily medication for other conditions, you may administer it the morning of surgery. If the medication cannot be given without food please contact our office and let us know.

Admission to the Clinic

Patients are admitted to the clinic at 7:15 am on the day of surgery. A clinic coordinator will assist and verify the surgery your pet will be having. They will also ask for contact information so we may update you when your pet’s procedure is completed. Special diets, medications and blankets may be brought the day of surgery. Personal pet items should be clearly labeled with your pet’s name. Blankets and toys are welcome but may get soiled, so keep that in mind when deciding what to bring.


Once your pet has been admitted to the clinic, he or she will be evaluated and given a pre-anesthetic injection to relax him or her until general anesthesia is administered. Under general anesthesia your pet will be prepped for the surgical suite, which includes the placement of an intravenous catheter, shaving the surgical site and cleaning the area with antimicrobial agents. Once your pet’s procedure has been completed your pet will be moved to a recovery area and monitored by a surgical nurse, who will contact you and update you on your pet’s progress. After your pet has recovered from anesthesia, he or she will be given an evening meal as well as medications to provide comfort through the night. Our overnight nurse closely monitors our patients through the night and can be in immediate contact with Dr. Sams and Dr. Hawley if necessary.


Most surgical patients will be discharged the next day, and we will confirm this appointment at the time of admission for surgery or when the surgical nurse calls with an update. We carefully evaluate every patient to make sure her or she is ready to go home. When you arrive for your discharge appointment, a surgical nurse will walk you through your printed discharge forms and review medication instructions. Dr. Sams will then meet with you and show you any post operative radiographs and explain the details of the procedure. In many cases, your pet will have a harness fitted to help you both navigate getting into and out of the car, going up and down stairs, and walking over uneven ground. Your pet may also go home with a bandage on the surgery limb, this bandage will ideally help with any post-operative swelling in the surgery leg.

Post-Op Appointments

Generally, we’ll ask you to return to the clinic with your pet one week after surgery for a bandage change or removal, if necessary, and at two weeks for suture removal and a complementary first visit with a rehabilitation technician. We’ll want to see your pet again at either six or eight weeks to evaluate their progress and activity levels. These appointments can be scheduled at the time of surgery discharge, or just call the clinic at your convenience. If at any time you have questions or concerns about the post-op condition of your pet, please contact us as soon as possible.