De-mystifying “Out the Back” at the vet. What happens when your furbaby needs an operation.

Before I start talking surgery , I just want to thank all our wonderful clients who voted for us in the Northside Chronicle Business Achievers Awards.  We were very excited to discover that we have made the finals , fingers crossed now for the rest of the judging process.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled programme :-). I’m a veterinary surgeon, I operate on animals almost every day and I know what a great job we do here at ZVS. So you would think that when it came time to neuter my kitten Pekan  I wouldn’t be nervous at all, right?

Pekan, also known as Batman

Wrong, I was worried about my little guy which got me to thinking. If I was worried then how stressful must it be for my clients when their pet needs even a “routine” operation. This blog entry follows a couple of super cute pups as they have their desexing operations.

You may have wondered why we insist your pets have no breakfast on the morning of their surgery? This is because while they are under the anaesthetic, food from their stomach can be regurgitated and can then find it’s way into their lungs. This can cause a nasty pneumonia so as a preventative we need them to be fasted. Rest assured though, as soon as they are awake they will have a yummy meal.

On the morning of your pets’ surgery, you will have an admission appointment with their nurse for the day. At this appointment we make sure they have been fasted and will ask you some questions about their general health and well being. You will also need to fill in an admission form with your contact details for the day.

Nurse Vicky admitting “Nori” for his desexing procedure.

Once admitted they are moved to the ward and made comfy with a nice soft blanket.

“Amelia” saying Hi.

Next step is a check up including temperature, pulse, respiration and blood pressure.


Now we place a catheter into a vein in the front leg so we can give medications and an intravenous drip while they are under the anaesthetic. We also take a small amount of blood for a pre-anaesthetic blood test.

A quick cuddle while the catheter is placed.

Running the blood test – Nori and Amelia’s tests are all perfect 🙂

Once the blood test is finished, the pet will have a pre med. This is a pain medication and a sedative. We do not want our patients to feel any pain so we give pain medications both before and after their surgical procedure.

Next step is an injection of fast acting anaesthetic through the catheter followed by placement of an endotracheal (breathing tube) and connection to the anaesthetic machine.

Attaching my intravenous drip and shaving the surgical site.

  While the pet is anaesthetised there is a nurse constantly monitoring the heartrate, respiratory rate, ECG, blood pressure and temperature. This information is recorded on the anaesthetic log.

Cleaned and preped and ready for surgery. Note the little umbilical hernia (bump in the middle of the belly). This will be repaired as well.

                Once the operation is over, we use a photonic pen to reduce pain and inflamation at the surgery site.

Photonic light to reduce pain.

  You will notice a small tattoo in the left ear , this is a proof of desexing tattoo and is done while your pet is still under the anaesthetic.  

Ear tattoo.

        From the surgical suite, it is into recovery and a nice warm blanket. While your pet is under the anaesthetic we use a Hot Dog veterinary partient warming system to help maintain their body temperature. It is so snug the nurses want to take it home on cold winter nights.   

Nice and snug in recovery.


Once awake, a tasty meal is offered and more pain releif administered.      

I’m not wearing socks, I had my back dew claws removed as well.

Once fully awake, you will have a discharge appointment with your  pets’ nurse so we can give you your post operative care instructions and so you can ask any questions you might have. 

We really want your pets’ proccedure to be as stress free and pain free as we can possibly make it (for both of you). We are very happy to give tours of our practice so you can see for yourself where your pet will  be looked after. Just give us a ring and as long as we don’t have any patients who shouldn’t be disturbed we would love to show you our facility.

Happy to see my dad and go home 🙂


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