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Holladay Veterinary Hospital

Two Veterinarians Examining a Dog

On The Day Of Surgery

What To Expect On The Day Of Surgery

The Morning Of The Procedure

  • Your pet’s surgical technician for the day will meet with you at check in to go over pre-surgical documents and answer any questions you have.

  • After check-in, your veterinarian will perform a pre-operative evaluation on your pet to ensure your pet is healthy enough to undergo anesthesia. Things can change since their last exam.

  • Your pet’s technician will set up a comfy bed in a kennel* where your pet will stay during the day.

*Does your pet hate kennels? We have other options, so please let us know! You can also bring a blanket or toy along for them.

The Pre-Operative Evaluation

Here's what's included in the pre-operative evaluation:

  • A review of your pet’s medical history and previous anesthetic procedures.

  • A physical examination that includes: age, breed, temperament, and pre-operative tests.

  • An evaluation of the invasiveness of the procedure, anticipated pain, and your pet’s anesthesia risk level.

  • The development of an anesthesia protocol tailored for your pet and their procedure.

Day-Of Expectations

  • Your pet will be one of several surgical procedures performed by the veterinarian that day.

  • Based on the pre-operative evaluation, your pet’s stress level and other factors, your veterinary team will decide the order of procedures for the day.

  • Plan on your pet being with us for the majority of the day. It is common for your pet to go home late in the day, even near the time we close. When they go home depends on the veterinary team’s case load, your pet’s recovery, and how other procedures went that day.

Please rest assured that while your pet is with us for their procedure they are resting in a comfortable, well-bedded kennel, are getting regular attention (including lots of love!) from our staff. Dogs are taken outside for potty breaks and cats are given litter boxes. Your pet is typically kept in a kennel in our treatment area, so staff members are able to have eyes on them most of the time!

Right Before The Procedure

  • First, a pre-anesthetic mix of sedation drugs is given to help your pet relax, which also helps for placing their IV catheter. The mix often includes pain medication to help relieve the pain before it starts.

  • For procedures like spays, neuters or anything requiring an incision into the skin, we must shave off the fur around the incision site so we can sterilize and prep the skin. Before the final sterilization of the incision site, the doctor may administer a nerve block to provide additional pain control.

  • Your pet is then injected with anesthetics to relax them enough for intubation; and then immediately given inhalant anesthetic gas and oxygen to put them into a deeper sleep. They are now ready for their procedure!

During The Procedure

  • Your pet’s vitals are monitored and recorded on your pet’s anesthesia chart which is then saved for future reference.

  • We monitor: heart rate, respiratory rate, oxygen level, anesthetic gas level, blood pressure, CO2 level, and body temperature.

  • For dental procedures: An oral exam, probing and dental x-rays are done to determine the health of your pet’s teeth below the gum line. This is when the veterinarian determines if any teeth need to be extracted.

  • We’ll give your pet a complimentary nail trim and can also place a microchip if requested.

After The Procedure

Once your pet is awake, they are closely monitored. The veterinarian will decide when your pet can go home based on their level of recovery. In general, we typically keep patients for at least 2-4 hours after a procedure.

Remember, they may need to stay with us all day and the veterinarian will let you know when they are ready to go home.

During your pet's recovery:

  • A technician will check your pet’s vitals every 10-20 minutes. If additional medications for pain or nausea are needed, they will be administered.

  • Once they’re more awake, we’ll offer them a small amount of food. Some pets eat, some don’t and that’s okay! You are welcome to bring their own food with them.

  • A technician will take them for a potty break and assess how steady they can walk.

  • The doctor will call you to go over the procedure, give you home care instructions and let you know what time your pet can go home.

  • When you come in to pick up your pet, we’ll provide a written copy of your home care instructions and review them with you. We will also answer any questions you may have.

If you have any urgent questions or concerns please call us at (801) 272-5557.

Post-Op Vitals Monitored

  • Heart rate

  • Respiratory rate

  • Temperature

  • Gum color and capillary refill time

  • Pain level

  • Behavior and temperament