Anesthesia: General Admitting and Discharge Information

Download Anesthetic Procedures Handout

Prior to Anesthetic Procedure

  1. Withhold food after bedtime the night before the procedure and then take away access to water by 7 AM the day of the procedure.
  2. Plan to arrive at the hospital for admission at 8 AM. Expect the admitting process to take about 10 minutes.
  3. It is very important that we be able to reach you directly by phone at the time the procedure is preformed, so plan for that possibility.
  4. Preanesthetic laboratory work is recommended and is required in pets 10 years of age or older. We can perform basic preanesthetic lab work in the hospital the day of the procedure, but in some cases more extensive lab work will be recommened. In such cases the blood must be drawn at least one full day prior to the procedure.
  5. Optional procedures that are sometimes preformed when your pet is under anesthesia include microchipping, hip (pelvic) radiographs in susceptible dog breeds, and dental cleaning. Let us know if you would like to explore one of these options.

General Discharge

  1. Following surgery it is important to keep both dogs and cats indoors for several days and discourage strenuous activity or rough play. For dogs, exercise should be limited to several short walks per day on a leash and no bathing for two weeks.
  2. Because inhalant anesthesia requires an endotracheal tube, your pet may cough for a day or two following the procedure. If this persists, contact us.
  3. It is not unusual for a pet’s reflexes to be diminished for a day or two following general anesthesia. Be careful to keep your pet in a safe environment.


  1. Bandages must be kept clean and dry. We will often dispense an empty IV bag to put over the bandage when your dog goes outside; alternatively a plastic bag can suffice. Be sure to not leave the bag on over 30 minutes and to remove it promptly when you return to the indoors.
  2. Cat with bandages should always be kept indoors.
  3. Chewing of the bandage should be discouraged and in some cases a buster or Elizabethan collar may be necessary.
  4. It is not easy to keep bandages on dogs and cats. If problems develop let us know so we can advise you. We do not recommend home bandaging.

Surgical Incisions

  1. Please keep a close eye on the surgical incision. A certain amount of swelling and reddening is normal. However, if this persists or discharge from the incision is noticed, please contact us.
  2. If an Elizabethan collar has been sent home this must be used at all times the pet is not directly supervised. Licking and chewing can cause the sutures or staples to fail and lead to infection.
  3. Generally, sutures or staples are removed 10-14 days following surgery. This no fee appointment can be set up when your pet is discharged from the hospital. Note that in some procedures the skin sutures are of the dissolving variety and are placed under the skin so they do not need to be removed.
  4. Do not bathe or let your pet swim until the sutures are removed.


  1. Give medications as directed.
  2. If giving the tablet or capsule in a food treat try this trick: First give a treat without the medicine in it. Then, give a treat with the medicine embedded in it followed immediately with an offering of a third treat. The pet will swallow the medicated treat quickly in anticipation of the third treat. We have pill pockets which you can purchase for this purpose.
  3. If you need to give a pill to a cat, arch the cat’s neck so that it is looking upward. Open the mouth and drop the pill over the back of the tongue and quickly close the mouth. We will gladly provide you with an empty syringe to fill with water to wash the pill down.
  4. With dogs, you can open the mouth and place the pill over the back of the tongue. This will force the dog to swallow the medication.
  5. Please ask for assistance or a demonstration by our staff if you have any questions.