PETS & VETS: What happens when your pet visits us?

It can be stressful leaving your pet with us for a surgery. However we often find many pets are more comfortable with us. Here, Claire Turner describes their typical day with St Vincents Veterinary Surgery

St Vincents Wokingham
St Vincents Wokingham

Before they come in cats and dogs should be starved for six hours.

This helps reduce the risk of vomiting during and after surgery. However please do not restrict their access to water.

Small pets like rabbits, guinea pigs and rodents should not be starved and we recommend bringing in a packed lunch of their favourite foods.

It is also useful if dogs have a chance to toilet in the morning before coming in to us.

At the vets they will have an admit appointment with a nurse or vet. They will weigh and check your pet to make sure everything is okay to go ahead with the surgery. 

They will also go through any questions you may have. You will then also be asked to sign
a consent form and leave the best number to contact you on.

Once you are happy with everything your pet will be taken through to our kennels where they will be given a bed. It is a nice idea to bring in a blanket or toy to help settle them.

St Vincents Wokingham
Binky and her lunch

Before their operation they are given an injection in the muscle of pain relief and sedative.

This starts to work within 30 minutes. It calms and relaxes them before their surgery as well as making sure that they have pain relief on board.

Once they are relaxed we place an intravenous catheter and inject an induction anaesthetic agent.

This makes them sleepy enough to place an endotracheal tube without harming their larynx. They are then attached to the anaesthetic machine and monitoring equipment.

St Vincents Wokingham

The area around their surgical site is then shaved and cleaned with a surgical scrub. This reduces the chance of post op infections.

A sterile drape is then placed over the site by the vet and your pet is ready for their operation.

Once the surgery is finished your pet will be monitored until they are able to swallow and maintain their own airway.

They will then be closely watched throughout the afternoon until you are able to collect them. This includes plenty of cuddles.

Once they are awake a member of staff will phone you to arrange a home time. They will also be offered food and water and, if they want to, they are taken out to the toilet.

When picking up your pet you will have another appointment with the nurse or vet. They will go through what to expect during your pet’s recovery as well as the best way to care for them.

We will usually want to see your pet again in 3-5 days to check that everything is healing nicely. However, please remember if there are ever any concerns we are only a phone call away.


Claire Turner is a Veterinary Surgeon at St Vincents Veterinary Surgery, a family-owned practice providing personal care for all your pets in and around Wokingham. For more details, call  0118 979 3200 or visit to find out more about the practice.

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