Important information regarding your pet’s procedure

Thank you for choosing The Vet Lounge for your pet’s surgical procedure. We know how important it is to you that your pet receives the highest standard of care, and we work very hard to ensure we deliver just that.

You will find the following information below:

  1. Pre-operative details
  2. Admission procedures
  3. Anaesthetic safety
  4. Discharge guidelines
  5. Home care instructions
  6. Information on complications
  7. Fee details

1. Pre-Operative Information (before the day)

No food after 10.00pm the night before the procedure

  • We need a completely empty stomach for surgery. This is to prevent vomiting and aspiration during anaesthesia, which is serious. We know it’s hard to say ‘No food’ to those gorgeous eyes but it’s really important they are fasted. You can feed them when we get them back home safely to you.
  • If your pet is on medication and can be taken without food, please continue to give them this medication the morning of the procedure (unless directed otherwise by your vet).

No water after 7.00 am the morning of the procedure 

  • We don’t want your pet to dehydrate, so please pick up the water in the morning when you wake up. It is safe for them to continue drinking overnight the night before.

Feline (cat) patients – Keep your cat inside overnight

  • This will prevent the risk of not being able to find them in the morning and ensures they didn’t eat anything overnight.


  • Take your dog out for a short walk the morning of the procedure to encourage them to defecate (poo) and urinate. Anaesthesia causes relaxation of the sphincter, increasing the risk of potential contamination if they have an accident, and we hear it embarrasses them! A quick walk up the street should do the trick and there’s lots of smells on the grass outside the clinic! Please avoid the beach as it makes it hard to maintain sterility on a sandy dog.


  • Your dog will not be able to swim or be bathed for a period of around 10-14 days after their procedure. While not compulsory, you may choose to bath your dog a day or two before the procedure. Please ensure they don’t come in wet, as it can increase the risk of hypothermia during surgery.

2. Admission

  • If you have been allocated a surgical admission time, we ask that you arrive promptly to your appointment. Delays in patient admissions delay our surgery start times, which result in pets going home later than expected. Admission will take approximately 10 minutes.
  • You will recieve a phone call from one of our nurses 1-2 days priror to the procedure, to confirm the booking and answer any further questions you may have.
  • If your pet has had any gastrointestinal upsets (vomiting/diarrhoea), please notify us prior to arrival. If your pet is unwell, we may need to postpone the procedure.
  • Please ensure you are contactable throughout the day as we may need to contact you.

3. Anaesthetic Safety

Anaesthesia is a lot safer now than it was in the past, but it still carries some risk. It is for this reason that our team take all of the necessary precautions to ensure that your pet is safe and can handle the anaesthetic.

Patient history and a physical exam provide us with a large amount of information, but there is information that is impossible to know without blood tests. This includes information that detects disease which cannot be seen by physical examination.

Minimising the potential risks involved with anaesthesia provides everyone with peace of mind and safer anaesthetics for your pet.

What does the test do?

Pre-anaesthetic blood testing checks kidney and liver function, which are important for the elimination of anaesthetics and other drugs from the body. It also checks for anaemia, or evidence of infection.

Here’s how we use the blood test results:

  1. The results of the blood test will be kept on your pet’s file as a baseline should they become unwell in the future. We can compare the results and see what has changed.
  2. If the results of the pre-anaesthetic blood tests are normal, we can continue with confidence and know that anaesthetic risk has been minimised even further.
  3. If the results are not within the normal range, the anaesthetic protocol can be modified to provide extra patient support, during and after anaesthesia.
  4. If the results are considerably abnormal, the procedure can be postponed, and treatment or further testing can be performed.

The blood test is performed the morning of your pet’s procedure and only requires a small amount of blood to be taken. Our in-house pathology machine will do the rest and we’ll have the results in around 20 minutes.

If we are happy with the results, we’ll proceed with the procedure as planned and you’ll receive a copy of the results.

If the results show something of concern, we’ll call and discuss them with you. For example, we recently ran bloods on a Staffordshire Terrier requiring dental work. The blood result showed a decline in kidney function, so we placed the patient on IV fluids for 24 hours to support his kidneys and moved the procedure to the next day. This will better hydrate the patient and lessen the burden on his kidneys. We can therefore proceed with anaesthesia under safter conditions.

For some patients, this test is compulsory (you would have been advised if so).

If the test is not compulsory but you would like to add this extra layer of safety, simply tick the box on your paperwork that asks if you would like a pre-anaesthetic test performed.

4. Discharge (pick up)

Pick up time

  • A discharge time will be organised during admission. Discharge times are usually between 4.00-5.40pm. Please allow 10-15 minutes for your pet to be discharged. We understand that there are sometimes delays getting out of work, stuck in the afternoon traffic etc. If you will be late for your appointment, please call us as we may need to re-schedule for a later time.

Removal of hair & tattoo

  • When you collect your pet, you’ll notice they’re missing some hair. Your pet will have a small area of hair shaved on one or both of their front arms for an IV catheter to be placed.
  • Hair will be clipped from the surgical site and your pets skin cleaned. How much hair we clip depends on the procedure being performed. We’ll take as little as possible but as the purpose is to maintain sterility, our number one priority is their safety. Guidelines recommend clipping 10cm around the surgical site. The hair will grow back.
  • If your pet is being desexed, an ink tattoo will be placed in the ear to signify that they are now desexed. It is a mandatory requirement in QLD that all animals receive the tattoo. It is performed while your pet is under anaesthetic and is painless.

5. Home Care

When you get your pet home

  • Offer your pet a place to sleep inside (if possible), to ensure they are kept warm.
  • Keep other pets and small children away from them so they can continue to rest and recover. They’ll be back on their feet the next morning.

Elizabethan Collar

  • Otherwise known as a cone, party hat, bucket or satellite dish. Please keep it on your pet whenever you cannot fully supervise them.
  • If they lick at the sutures, they can cause a great deal of irritation and remove the sutures altogether, which will result in further surgery to re-suture the site. This will be at your expense, and we’d rather not have to do this! You can remove the collar at meal times to make eating easier, but watch them like a hawk and put it back on straight after!
  • If you’re enjoying a nice cuddle on the couch, you can remove the collar but you must supervise your pet at all times and don’t let them lick the wound! If they do, the collar stays on until their sutures are removed. Cuddles with cones on.


  • You can feed your pet when you get home, but only offer a small amount first in case they vomit. If they keep it down, you can offer more. Please offer water also but your pet will have received IV fluids during their stay so don’t be worried if they don’t appear thirsty. The only exception is Male Cat Desexing because their procedure is quick, and they don’t receive IV fluids.
    If your pet had a dental procedure, refer to your personal take home instructions for what to feed and when.


  • Let your pet rest for at least 3-4 days following a surgical procedure to give the wound the best chance to heal. You may exercise your pet after that period of time but only gentle short walks on a lead. Female dogs who have had a traditional spey will take longer to recover than those who were desexed laparoscopically (keyhole). If your pet’s surgical area was in a high risk area for sutures to ‘pop’ or the wound to open, do not exercise them at all until at least 14 days (longer if we tell you).
  • If your pet is active at home and opens their wound, you’ll have to cover the cost to re-suture the site. This will be done at a discounted rate as a goodwill gesture, but we’d really prefer not to do this at all. Please keep them quiet at home.

Post operative checks

  • We will call you a day or two after the procedure to make sure your pet is recovering well at home and address any concerns you may have.
  • We need to see your pet again on day 3 after the procedure and again at day 10. Providing no further treatment is required and they don’t need additional medications like antibiotics, these 2 visits are free of charge.

The surgical site

  • Leave it alone! Do not bathe it, do not let your pet lick at it, do not put additional covers on it, and do not put saltwater on it. It is a sterile surgical site and does not need cleaning.
  • Contact us immediately if you notice any of the following:
    1. Continuous dripping or seepage of blood or other fluids from the incision.
    2. Intermittent blood seepage that continues for more than 24 hours.
    3. Any swellings, excessive redness of the skin, unpleasant smells, or discharge.
  • If you have any concerns, please contact us immediately. We’d rather say ‘nothing to worry about’ than ‘wish you had called us earlier.’


  • See your personal take home sheet for instructions regarding medications (if required).

6. Complications

Some complications can’t be anticipated

The nature of complications is that even if we do everything right with the surgical procedure, and you do everything right with the post-operative care, complications may still occur. Listing these complications is not to scare you away from choosing to pursue care for your pet, but instead to educate and prepare you for what could happen, should complications occur. Our vets will always weigh up the risks versus the benefits before recommending a surgical procedure. This is not a complete list, but the most common post-surgical complications are;

  • Adverse suture reactions beneath the skin that lead to rejected suture material exiting an incision site after a surgery.
  • Post-operative pain relief medications that cause your pet gastrointestinal upset.
  • Post-operative antibiotics that may cause diarrhoea.
  • A cough that lingers for upwards of a week as the result of irritation from the endotracheal tube we used to administer the gaseous anaesthetic. Essential to keep them alive during surgery, but sometimes it causes irritation. The discomfort will pass.
  • Stiffness or lameness from having to stay in one position for an extended period of time during surgery.

The average time for sutures to be left in is 10-14 days. Complications can sometimes occur where the wound opens back up after the sutures are removed. This can happen, despite us doing everything perfect, and you doing everything perfect at home. It is for this reason that it’s important to continue to keep them quiet for another 3-4 days after the sutures are removed. Thankfully, this complication doesn’t occur often, but it is an unforeseen complication of surgery. If this happens, we will re-suture your pet at cost price as a gesture of good will.

7. Fees

  • If you have Pet Insurance and would like to submit a Gap Claim, please notify us on admission.
  • If you would like to use Zip, VetPay or AfterPay, please notify us on admission so paperwork can be started.
  • All fees are payable on Discharge, when you pick up your pet.
  • Elizabethan collars (cones) are compulsory to ensure the patient doesn’t lick the surgical area. We will measure your pet for size and the cost of the collar will be added to the account (if not already included in the treatment plan).
  • Patients need to return for a check-up at 3 days and 10 days after surgery, to ensure they are recovering well, and the surgical site is healing & clean. There is no additional charge for these visits unless the patient requires additional care, or antibiotics etc.
  • FEMALE patients will incur an additional fee if they are pregnant or in-season (approx $100-$110). This is due to the additional time it takes to perform the desexing procedure.
  • Please allow for unexpected issues & therefore fees e.g. some pets are a bit naughty and despite all of our efforts, chew out their IV catheters. An additional catheter charge may be charged to put in a new one. They are only small charges but best to be prepared. Have a word to your pet before they come in and ask them to be good!

We are always here to answer any of your questions. If you need anything clarified, please give us a call.

Thanks for choosing us to care for your pet. We take this trust seriously, and when your pet is with us, they are the highest priority.