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Surgery and your pet

What to expect when your pet is having surgery

Your pet will need to be fasted the night before a sedation or anaesthetic. Do not feed any food after midnight the night before surgery (i.e. no breakfast the morning of surgery). A small amount of water overnight is fine. If your pet has eaten the morning of surgery, the surgery will need to be postponed as it is not safe to undergo a general anaesthetic if they have eaten.

On the morning of surgery one of our nurses will go over some pre-operative administration and admit your pet for surgery. Admission time is between 8am – 9am (unless pre-arranged otherwise).
For the comfort of your pet please ensure they have been toileted before admission.

Once admitted to hospital your pet will be put into a dedicated, comfortable bed in our cat or dog hospital. We will then perform a pre-anaesthetic health check and any blood work that is required.
Before going under anaesthetic your pet will be given pain relief and sedation medication to keep them comfortable. They will have a dedicated nurse ensuring their safety during their anaesthetic and hospital stay.

You will receive a phone call from us after your pet is in recovery post-surgery with an update on their condition and to organise a discharge time. You can expect the discharge time to be anywhere from 3-8 hours post-surgery (depending on the procedure).

Pre-anaesthetic blood testing

Prior to a procedure at Bilgola Vet, we recommend that a pre-anaesthetic blood test is performed on your animal.

But what does this mean and why is it important?

Blood work is an internal exam of your pet’s health and checks organ function, red blood cells, white blood cell count and platelet parameters to help us identify any unknown diseases or health risks before we administer any sedation or anaesthesia.
If the pre-anaesthetic testing results are normal, we can proceed with confidence. If not, we can alter the anaesthetic procedure or take other precautions to safeguard your pet’s health.  
It also gives us a baseline for any future health issues your pet may encounter. 



The effects of a sedative or general anaesthetic can take some time to wear off. Your pet may seem drowsy and tired the night of surgery and into the next day. They typically start getting back to normal 24-48 hours post-surgery.
Unless otherwise instructed, your pet can be offered a small amount of bland food the evening post surgery. It is not unusual that they do not wish to eat, and they may feel nauseas. Please ensure there is always fresh water available to drink.
On discharge you will be instructed on when there may be a recheck appointment needed depending on the procedure. We will discuss the aftercare requirements and medications at this time too.
Once home please keep your pet somewhere quiet and warm to relax and keep an eye on them.




Dental procedures/extractions

Prior to your pet going under a general anaesthetic for a dental cleaning, we cannot always know if your pet will require dental extractions. Once your pet is under anaesthesia, we perform a thorough assessment of each tooth and perform dental radiographs if needed. This will allow us to see if any teeth need extracting. If extractions are required (and we didn’t know about them earlier) you will need to be contactable to give permission to extract the teeth and additional costs associated with doing so.

The number one reason why dogs need tooth extractions is periodontal disease. This condition is caused by a build-up of plaque and calculus (tartar) on the teeth and under the gum line, leading to destruction of the supporting tissues of the teeth, including bone, the periodontal ligament and attached gum tissues.
Dental extractions can also be required due to:
- Fractured teeth
- Root or Pulp exposure
- Feline oral resorptive lesions (FLOR)
- Oral tumours
- Oral abnormalities

Teeth with the above problems are almost always causing pain – our pets are just very good at hiding this pain and their eating is often not affected. We find they are much happier when the teeth are extracted.

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