Admitting and Discharge


Admission usually takes fifteen minutes. During this process one of our staff members will review the treatment plan and cost for the procedure with you.  We will need to know when your pet last ate as well as the names, doses and time given of any current medications.

Anesthetic Procedures
  • Please do not give any food after 10pm the night prior to the procedure.
  • Water should be freely available until approximately 6am the morning of the procedure.
  • Medications should be given as per usual the morning of the procedure unless directed otherwise.  If the medication needs to be given with food, please only give a small “meatball” of food.
  • Plan on arriving between 7:15 and 7:30 AM – we will confirm this time range the day prior to the procedure.
  • During your admission, our assistant will confirm current medications and the location of any masses or lumps to be removed.
  • Please make sure to provide them with their normal food, water, and medications while they wait for their appointment.
  • The cardiologist visits our hospital as his schedule permits but often contacts us the day before with an estimated arrival time.
  • Your pet must be present when the doctor arrives.
  • Plan to drop off between 8 and 9 AM unless you are told otherwise. We will notify you the day before the appointment if a later drop off time becomes available.
  • No food is allowed after 10 PM the night before or a minimum of 8 hours prior to the ultrasound unless otherwise instruction.
  • Water should be freely available.
  • Medications should be continued as normal and may be given with small meatball of food if needed.
  • Drop off time is usually between 7:00 and 7:30 AM.
  • Be aware, your pet’s abdomen will be shaved according to the specialist’s instructions.


Discharge instructions vary significantly. Please refer to instructions specific to your pet whenever possible.

How can I keep my pet calm after discharge?

Most pets will be fairly sedate when they go home after surgery. The day after surgery they will often remain more subdued then normal. Encouraging your pet to remain calm may be as easy as offering them a warm, safe place to rest during those days.

As activity restriction continues, it becomes more difficult to reduce overexertion or impatience at the reduced activity.  It is important that all cats remain indoors.  Dogs must be restricted to the recommended exercise in your discharge handout.  This may simply be 5-10 minute leashed walks, or outside for elimination purposes only

Crates are very helpful in reducing both over stimulation and over activity during post-surgical recovery.

If your pet becomes excited by other animals or people in your home, you may need to separate them using a crate or removing your pet from the room.

You may be dispensed medication to increase sedation and ease this part of your pet’s recovery.  If you are struggling with exercise restrictions, please contact us so we can make sure your pet’s enthusiasm doesn’t prevent healing.

How often should I change or check on bandages?

Bandages are used to protect your pet from worsening an injury. The way we take care of your pet’s bandage depends on why and where it was placed. We’ll let you know if the bandage needs to come off after just 20 minutes or if it needs to stay put for a few days. Just remember to check the bandage every day for any signs of dampness, movement, or slippage. And if you notice anything like this, give us a call right away so we can make sure your pet stays healthy and happy.

It’s important to stick to the bandage replacement schedule that your veterinarian has laid out for your pet. If the bandage needs to be re-applied, please don’t try to do it yourself unless we’ve given you specific instructions. Incorrect placement or delays in replacement can actually make things worse for your pet.

If it’s raining outside, we’ve got you covered! We can give you a temporary cover for the bandage or you can use a trusty old plastic shopping bag. Just make sure to take it off as soon as your pet is back inside and check the bandage for any signs of dampness.

Remember, we’re always here to help you and your pet. If you notice any discomfort, redness, swelling, or discharge around the bandage, or if your pet is acting strange, don’t hesitate to give us a call. We’re just a phone call away!

What behavior should I expect after my pet is discharged from surgery?

If you are concerned that your pet is showing abnormal symptoms after surgery at any time, please contact us or an emergency clinic.

Day of surgery (Day Zero):

  • Pets who have undergone anesthesia are usually very tired and can use some extra TLC when they get home. We recommend setting them up with a warm, clean, comfortable bed in quiet, draft-free room where they can rest and recuperate.
  • Animals can experience digestive upset after anesthesia. It’s a good idea to offer them half of their usual meal portion at their normal mealtime. They may be disinterested in food or water, which is perfectly normal. However, they should be allowed access to water unless your veterinarian advises otherwise.  If your pet vomits or refuses their meal don’t worry– wait until the next morning to offer them food again.
  • Your pet may have been given medications for pain, inflammation, and nausea while in the hospital, and you’ll be directed on when and how to continue those medications once you get home. It’s important to follow your veterinarian’s instructions to ensure your pet’s comfort and recovery.
  • Once your pet is at home they may engage in more whining or seem anxious or unsettled. We would expect this behavior to diminish in the first hour or two of their return home, particularly if they are allowed to rest in a location they feel comfortable and secure. This behavior is usually related to confusion and anxiety from anesthesia rather than pain.

The day after surgery (Day One):

  • Most pets remain subdued the day after surgery. They should be responsive and willing to eat and walk around but will likely be less enthusiastic about these activities than normal and may choose to spend less time doing them.
  • Your pet should be willing to eat but may do so at a slower pace than normal or not eat their entire breakfast. They should not be drooling excessively or vomiting. If your pet refuses to eat please contact us promptly.
  • Some animals will experience digestive upset after anesthesia and may have diarrhea. Some animals will not have a bowel movement at all on this day. If your pet refuses to eat or has soft stools, please contact us promptly.

The second day after surgery (Day 2):

  • Your pet’s energy level should be normal or close to normal unless your pet is on a sedative or opioid pain medication. Keep in mind you may need to restrict activity for an additional three to 12 days after surgery despite their behavior being more normal.
  • Your pet may seem to be fully recovered from surgery. We recommend continuing pain medication for a few days after surgery even if they seem okay. All antibiotics should be given as directed until gone unless you are told otherwise.
  • Most pets are back to eating and having normal bowel movements. If your pet is on an opioid pain medication, they may not have a bowel movement this day. However, they should not be straining to defecate and should seem comfortable.

…And Beyond

Your pet’s energy level, appetite, and bowel movements should continue to improve and normalize as long as you’re not giving any medications to prevent it. If you are concerned your pet’s healing is not going as expected or are unclear as to whether a medication is causing a side effect, please contact us directly so we can give you instructions or guidance specific to your pet.

Can my pet eat or drink after surgery?

These instructions may be very different for pets that have had surgeries on their stomachs, intestines, bladders, or other internal organs.  For most anesthetic procedures, they will have a small, bland (but tasty!) snack to nibble during recovery.  They can a small dinner meal after discharge – approximately half their usual portion. The next day you can return to your pet’s normal feeding schedule.   If your pet stays overnight after surgery, we usually offer breakfast around 6 AM.  They can return to their normal diet and feeding schedule when they get home.

Animals that have had dental cleanings with tooth extractions will go home with specific instructions on how long your pet should avoid chewing on hard food, toys, or treats.  They are usually required to be fed wet or softened food for 10-14 days after their procedure to allow their gums time to heal. One of our doctors or technicians will check their mouths again at a recheck appointment to make sure they’ve healed up nicely and can return to their normal activities.


Should I get a sedative to give my pet after surgery?

If your pet was prescribed sedatives, we recommend giving them as directed. If your pet was not prescribed a sedative and you find you are having difficulty keeping your pet from overexerting themselves, please contact us. Sedatives may be a good option to help your pet stay on the road to recovery.

Why is my pet coughing after surgery?

Some mild coughing may occur due to the use of an endotracheal tube during surgery. This tube is used to protect your pet from having saliva or other fluids entering their airway but may cause minor irritation of the throat. Coughing should be minor and improve over a few days. If the coughing worsens or persists, please contact us.

Why won’t my pet eat after surgery?

Anesthesia can cause digestive upset. It is not abnormal for pets to refuse a meal offered later in the evening. If you have been instructed to offer food, we usually recommend offering half their normal meal.  If they eat too much they may vomit– if this happens, please remove any remaining food for the night. If vomiting continues, please contact us or your closest emergency clinic.  Your pet may even refuse food the next morning, eat slower, or not finish their breakfast.  Unless your pet is on a medication that causes appetite changes or you have been told otherwise, most pets will eat more normally by the end of the second day. If this is not the case, please contact us.

What should my pet’s incision look like?

If you are concerned your pet’s incision is not healing normally, please contact us.

You will be instructed to monitor your pet’s incision daily after surgery. We recommend taking a photo of the incision on the first day. Some reddish-pink skin may be visible around the surgical site.  Incisions may leak a small amount of blood or fluid during the first 24 hours after surgery. The incision should otherwise remain clean with the edges touching. There may be external sutures present or skin glue may have been used to close the wound.

The incision should remain closed and clean. All fluid seepage should stop within the first 24 hours for a normal, closed incision. Surgical drains should leak pink or reddish clear fluid– your pet’s medical team should let you know how long to expect the drain to leak and when to bring your pet in to have the drain removed. In some cases, bruising may develop over the course of several days after surgery.

If you become concerned about the bruising, the incision is bleeding excessively, seeps or oozes fluid beyond 24 hours, becomes puffy, swollen, red, opens, or has an unpleasant discharge please contact us.

When can I bathe my pet or take my dog swimming after surgery?

Please plan to wait a minimum of two weeks after surgery before allowing your pet to get wet.

If your pet has an incision or sutures you should not bathe your pet until the incision is healed and all sutures are removed.

If your pet has an incision that has been glued closed, make sure to keep a close eye on it and follow the instructions your veterinarian gave you. Once the incision has fully healed, your pet can say goodbye to their cone and you can treat them to a well-deserved bath!


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