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Surgery and your Dog


It is important to withhold food from your dog for 12 hours before the surgery. This is to ensure that there is no food in his stomach which will decrease the likelihood of any food being aspirated into the lungs should they vomit during the induction of general anaesthesia. We may also sometimes make specific recommendations. For example, very young pups or diabetics may need food to be withdrawn for a shorter time period before surgery or adult Bulldogs may need food to be withheld for a longer time period.

There is no need to withdraw water at home. Normally we will stop any water intake for the last few hours before surgery at the hospital.

Normally, your dog should arrive early in the morning and will be admitted by the veterinarian. You will be asked to sign a consent form. This confirms that you are aware of the procedure and agree to it being performed. It also confirms that you are aware of any risks and complications that may develop. It is important that the consent form is signed by an adult and ideally by the registered dog owner.

You will be required to leave a contact phone number for us to use in the event of an emergency. It is essential that you are available throughout the day for us to be able to contact you immediately should the need arise.

We recommend that you call the hospital in the early afternoon on the day of surgery to confirm a suitable time for discharge. In cases of concern we will phone you upon recovery to let you know your loved pet is safe and well, and may advise keeping your dog in overnight for further observation, intravenous fluids and pain relief.


The discharge appointment after surgery will be with either a trained nurse or the veterinarian.

On the first evening, your pet may be a little quiet or sleepy. You should allow them to rest comfortably and the next day, they should be brighter.

We recommend that you offer some food and water when you get home. It is perfectly normal for your dog to have a reduced appetite and he may even vomit that evening as a result of the anaesthetic.

You should restrict the amount of exercise until the sutures are removed. Leash walking is acceptable (unless advised differently by your vet).

You should not bathe your dog until 2 days after the sutures have been removed. Try to keep the wound dry and clean. You can check the wound daily for any excessive signs of bruising, bleeding, discharge, swelling or redness.

It is normal for fur to have been shaved. Commonly clipped areas are the site of the wound, the leg (where an IV catheter may have been placed) and the neck (for blood sampling). Don't worry, the fur will grow back over the next couple of months.

Occasionally, your pet may cough for a few days following the anaesthetic due to any irritation by the endotracheal tube in the airway. This should resolve a few days after the surgery.

It is important that you stop your dog from licking or biting at the wound as they may damage the skin and pull out the sutures. Elizabethan collars will help to prevent this.

The stitches will normally be removed 10 days after surgery free of charge. Sometimes we may have elected to use dissolving sutures but we will keep you informed of this.

Please follow the vet’s instructions regarding any medication (e.g. pain relief) and when to come back to the hospital for a re-visit. At Acorn, we routinely administer pain relief to all animals undergoing surgery.

You should contact us immediately if:

1)    Your dog vomits repeatedly

2)     Becomes excessively lethargic or weak

3)    The gums appear a lot paler than normal

4)    There is excessive bleeding from the wound