If your pet is a dog or cat, it is likely that your pet will need surgery at least once in his or her lifetime, most commonly to be neutered or spayed. Understanding what happens after you bring in your pet for surgery can help you to feel less anxious, and be more prepared to ask any questions you may have. Prior to surgery, we recommend blood tests will evaluate your pet for underlying health problems. These blood tests include a mini chemistry profile. If a pet is older than 7 years of age, we will also recommend performing a complete blood count. The exact type of tests your veterinarian recommends will vary, depending on your pet’s age, species, any previous health problems, and the type of surgery. For all dogs and cats, we withhold food from your pet the night before surgery after 10 p.m. Food is withheld so that if the pet vomits while under sedation, the pet is less likely to vomit food, which could be aspirated into the lungs. On the day of surgery, a physical examination will be performed and your pet will be prepared for surgery. An intravenous catheter will be placed for the delivery of IV anesthetic medication as well as fluids during the procedure. Your pet will usually be given a sedative at this point, which will help to calm and relax him, followed by an intravenous anesthetic and then a gas anesthetic. An endotracheal tube will be placed to protect the airway and to administer the gas anesthetic that will keep your pet unconscious during the procedure. During surgery, heart, pulse and ECG monitors are used to make sure that your pet is doing well. All pets are placed on a specially heated pad to keep them warm during the procedure. Once the surgery is over, the anesthesia is stopped and the pet is allowed to wake up in a quiet area where it can be monitored until it is able to move around safely on its own. Your pet will stay overnight in our ICU for monitoring with most surgical procedures. During this time, your veterinarian can also provide any necessary pain medication.