General Surgery Information

Your Pet's Day

Your pet’s surgery is really not much different than a surgical procedure performed in a “human hospital.”

If you have ever had out-patient surgery yourself, you can expect your pet’s experience to be similar.


The spay procedure is the surgical removal of the ovaries and uterus from female dogs and cats performed while the animal is completely anesthetized.

The neuter of male dogs and cats is the surgical removal of the testes while the animal is completely anesthetized.


Exam: First our veterinarian will give your pet a routine physical exam. He will check heart and lung function, record weight and temperature, look for external parasites (fleas, ear mites, obvious worms), and evaluate the animal’s general wellness. If the veterinarian detects a condition that could compromise the safety of your pet during surgery (i.e., heart murmur, severe upper respiratory infection, etc.), surgery will not be performed, and the veterinarian will contact you.


Pre-operative Procedures: Following the physical exam, your pet will be given a pre-operative sedative so that she or he can relax prior to the administration of anesthesia. Once under anesthesia, your pet will undergo pre-surgical preparation. This preparation includes shaving the surgical site to allow thorough cleansing and disinfection of the area; “scrubbing” the surgical site with an antiseptic solution; administering eye ointment to keep the eyes moist, as the animal does not have a blink reflex under anesthesia. The patient is carefully monitored throughout the entire procedure.


Surgery: When your dog or cat has been prepped for surgery, she or he is taken into the surgery room, and the surgical procedure is performed. The doctor is scrubbed and gloved for surgery; all instruments and materials used are sterile. Once surgery is complete, the incision is sutured (stitched) to close. The suture material is absorbable, so there is no need for your pet to return to have them removed. Male cats do not have sutures, as the incision is very small and does not require them.


Post-Surgery: After surgery is complete, your pet will begin to wake up. She or he is carefully monitored throughout the entire awakening process, to ensure a smooth recovery. This period usually takes about 15-20 minutes, but the animal will remain groggy for two to twelve hours following surgery. Everyone responds differently to anesthesia. In general, the younger the animal, the quicker the recovery.

You will be given detailed post-operative instructions and an emergency pager number for surgical emergencies when your pet is discharged from the hospital, which can be used to reach us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


Re-checks following surgery are provided at no cost, except the cost of any medications.


As of December 1st, 2017, PAL will be marking all female animals spayed in our clinic with a small tattoo. The purpose of this new policy is to help determine whether or not lost and/or rescued animals have been altered, thus decreasing the need for unnecessary procedures that have already been performed.