Copeland Vets's home page
  • Call our surgery01642 760 999

Anaesthesia Pet Advice

What to know if your pet undergoes a general anaesthetic

There is a very good chance that, at some time in their life your pet will need to undergo a general anaesthetic (GA). Taking X-rays, dental work and neutering are common procedures requiring general anaesthesia.

At Copeland Veterinary Surgeons our priority is the safety and wellbeing of your pet. Please take the time to read the information below and it will help us to help you.

Prior to Admission

Please starve your cat or dog from 9pm the evening before, although water may be left down overnight. We also ask that you take dogs for a short walk prior to admission. Please do not let cats out. If you are bringing a rabbit or guinea-pig for surgery we ask that you don't withhold food and also bring a small amount of their normal food with you.


Your pets are generally admitted between 8:30 and 9:00am in the morning. A nurse will go through the consent form with you. Please if you have any questions at all just ask. Try to have a contact telephone number available that we can definitely reach you on during the day. The nurse admitting your pet will also run through the procedure with you again. Anything you are unsure of just ask us.

Prior to Anaesthesia

Prior to anaesthesia your pets are settled in comfortable accommodation and receive a premedication injection. This consists of a light sedative and pain relief that allows them to be relaxed and not stressed during their stay.

For cats and dogs nine years and older undergoing GA we advise Pre-Anaesthetic Blood Tests (PAB) and intravenous fluids to maximise patient safety. The PAB test allows us to detect some conditions that will not show up on physical examination such as dehydration, anaemia, diabetes, kidney and liver disease. With this information we can tailor the anaesthetic and whole procedure better and perhaps put into place a plan of action to prevent any further changes developing.

We know that maintaining good circulation will minimise side-effects. During anaesthesia the blood pressure and therefore blood supply to some organs can be slightly reduced.

Administering intravenous fluids (IV) allows us to help maintain perfusion of these organs. A catheter will be placed in the front leg and fluids are given pre- and peri-operatively.

PAB and/or IV fluids are available for younger pets if you wish. Ask the admitting nurse for advice.

In all cases you can rest assured that our patients have experienced trained nurses to monitor their anaesthesia, along with up-to-date comprehensive monitoring equipment.

At the end of the day

We appreciate your phone call between 3:15pm and 3:45pm to arrange convenient discharge of your pet. In many cases our nurses will talk to you about your pet's care but at other times it may be necessary to have a vet appointment to view X-rays or discuss your pet's treatment.

With most routine neutering there will be no external stitches and your pet will be discharged with required pain relief. In the case of lump removals or complicated surgery there may be external sutures and we will ask you to make a post-op appointment 5 days later so we can check your pet's progress. Sutures are typically in place for 10-14 days.

Whilst your pet is asleep

There may be other things you would like done while your pet is asleep such as clipping the odd tat, combing an awkward area or nail clipping. We can often do these additional items free of charge. This may be a good time to identichip your pet, have routine dental scaling and polishing carried out or remove a wart etc.

Here at Copeland Veterinary Surgeons our priority is always the safety and wellbeing of your pet, so you can be confident that they are in good hands.

Back to Other Pet Advice