Arriving for an anaesthetic

1st October 2017


Agreeing to let your pet be anaesthetised is a big decision. Even if we reassure you that your pet will be fine, it doesn’t stop you from worrying. It helps if you know what to expect though, so in this short article we’ve tried to answer some of the common questions we’re often asked.

Can I feed my pet before the anaesthetic?

Before we use a sedative or anaesthetic you will normally be asked to withhold food overnight with your pet having free access to water until you leave to come to the practice.. This is mainly to prevent inhalation of fluids or food if your pet regurgitates or vomits. If, despite your best efforts, your pet steals and eats something before the anaesthetic, please tell us.

Rabbits and Guinea pigs do not need to have their food withheld before an anaesthetic. In fact it is very important that they continue to eat before any anaesthetic procedure.

If your pet is on any tablets or medications and you’re not sure if you should give them, please ask. Some must be given, whilst others can be withheld, so we need to check first and we can let you know.


What happens when my pet arrives at Bollington Veterinary Centre?

  • Lots of questions - you and your pet will be admitted either by one of our vets or a veterinary nurse. This is when you’ll be able to ask us about anything you’re unsure of and we’ll also ask you several important questions. It’s important to know when your pet last ate and whether they are on any medications. We also need to know if there are any other problems that you feel we should to be aware of.
  • Consent form - you’ll be asked to sign a form of consent and we’ll explain any risks associated with the anaesthesia or sedation and the procedure to be performed.
  • Contact details – make sure you leave all your contact details with the vet or nurse. We need to know how to call you, so a home, work or mobile number is essential.
  • The vet check - after admission your pet will be assessed by one of our vets. This is a general health check where we will check for any other problems that might affect the anaesthetic. If we detect anything unusual we may recommend further tests before anything is given.


Should I agree to blood tests?

Not all patients need pre-anaesthetic blood tests, however we would often recommend them as it will help us to assess how well your pet will cope with the anaesthetic agents. The blood tests will also give us a good baseline of what your pet’s normal blood results should be. It is never wrong to perform a pre-anaesthetic blood test


What do the blood tests tell us?

  • Biochemistry – these results give information on your pet’s liver and kidney function, as well as other important chemicals associated with normal tissue and organ functions.
  • Haematology – these results help us understand how actively your pet is able to fight infection. White blood cells, red blood cells and platelets are measured to check how well the blood can carry oxygen and how effectively the blood will clot.
  • Electrolytes - sometimes we also look at your pet’s sodium, potassium and salt levels. These can be significantly affected by some common problems such as vomiting and diarrhoea.


What will we do with the results?

We would hope that most of the tests are normal, however if the results are worse than expected, we’ll contact you to discuss how to proceed. In some situations we would still need to continue to an anaesthetic but we may alter our drugs or methods to make it safer. Occasionally we delay or cancel the anaesthetic altogether, as it may not be in your pet’s best interest.