Before your pet’s operation

To make things as stress free as possible for your pet most procedures will require a general anaesthetic or sedation. This means your pet will be unconscious and completely unaware of anything that is being done and will feel no pain during the procedure.

Here are some tips to help the day of the procedure go smoothly for them and you:

  • Please remember to starve your pet from 8pm the night before a surgery or a blood test (this includes all treats). Cats must therefore be kept indoors the night before a procedure in order to prevent them eating elsewhere. It is fine for them to have water overnight and right up until they come to Wilbury for their admit appointment. If your puppy or kitten is under 4 months old, they can have a small breakfast at 7am on the day as they should not be starved for too long. Please bring in a small amount of their usual food (but not raw foods please!)
  • A short walk to go to the toilet before they arrive on the day is ideal for dog (though please bring them in clean/bathed if it’s muddy!) When keeping cats in overnight they must have access to a litter tray.
  • It is important that small pets like rabbits and guinea pigs are fed right up until the time of their anaesthetic as restricting their food can be dangerous.
  • Please bring all cats in a strong carrier and dogs on leads for their own security.
  • If your pet has a favourite blanket or toy please feel free to bring it so we can put it with them in their kennel to help them feel relaxed.
  • Your pet will be given a thorough physical examination on the day of the procedure to check the heart, lungs, circulation and general health prior to an anaesthetic. Despite carrying out this examination, we cannot fully assess the function of some of the major internal organs and their ability to cope with an anaesthetic without performing blood tests. If your pet is over 8, we recommend a basic biochemistry and haematology profile prior to anaesthetic (blood test), the fee for this is £84.00 and will normally be performed a few days before the procedure.
  • Please be aware that every anaesthetic involves some risk to life. In apparently healthy animals, this risk is VERY small. By taking the above precautions and advice, you help us to make the anaesthetic as safe as possible. Rest assured that your pet will be thoroughly examined beforehand and constantly observed by qualified staff with the help of monitoring equipment during the whole procedure.
  • Please make sure you leave us with a working contact number on the day so we are able to contact you should we need to.
  • On the morning of the procedure you will be seen by the vet who will be looking after your pet; they will be able to discuss with you what is planned for the day and give you an idea of cost. It is not always possible to be specific with estimating the total bill. Final costs will depend heavily on what is carried out during the procedure and this can sometimes be hard to predict prior to starting the operation.
  • Your pet will be discharged with a member of our team after their procedure (either a nurse or one of our vets). We will go through all the aftercare at this point and arrange a post-operative check. We will also dispense any medication they will require.


Depending on the operation, there are specific risks that are inherent with that procedure, it is impossible to list all potential risks for all possible operations but below are some examples from common procedures:

Neutering – potential complications:

  • Remnants of ovarian tissue remaining which can require a subsequent surgery to resolve
  • Coat changes
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Weight gain
  • Infection of the surgical wound
  • Risk of haemorrhage post-op (could be life-threatening)


Recent evidence has show that dogs neutered before they are skeletally mature (fully grown) can display an increased risk of musculoskeletal disease later in life. For this reason it is current practice policy to neuter male dogs at approximately 12 months and female dogs 3 months after their first season. We can however be flexible in this policy and certain dogs (especially small breeds) may be very suitable for neutering earlier than this – the benefits/risks of time of neutering can be discussed with any of our vets.

Dental procedures – potential complications:

  • We often cannot fully assess how severe tooth damage may be prior to the procedure, so it can be very difficult to predict the number of teeth that may need extracting (if any at all) in advance.
  • Extraction sites can become infected post-operatively.
  • When removing some of the larger teeth there is a small risk of jaw fractures.

General Surgery – potential complications

  • There is always a risk of wound breakdown or infection and you will be advised to keep you dog on a lead for at least 10 days and use a means of preventing them from interfering with the stitches. We can supply various collars and vests to help this.

Orthopaedic Surgery:

  • Aftercare is very important and we will discuss this with you, but infection or implant failure, can occur even in the most placid pets.

Despite these potential complications if you are careful with the post-operative care and follow the instructions provided, the vast majority of pets return to their former bouncy selves remarkably soon after an operation!