10 pm the evening prior to surgery – Begin fasting. Remove your pet’s food so they are appropriately fasted for their surgery tomorrow. Water is ALWAYS allowed and should not be removed.
7-8 am the morning of surgery – Drop your pet off at their hospital. Here you should meet with one of the nurses, sign the informed consent form, confirm that your pet is fasted and the intended surgery to be performed, then physically TOUCH the limb that you are expecting surgery to be performed on! This sounds crazy, I know, but you can never be too clear, and it is always better to be safe than sorry (some nurses may even have you shave a small spot on the leg that you want surgery on).
8-9 am the morning of surgery – Getting ready for surgery! During this period, your pet has a full physical exam, has their anesthetic protocol planned and has their intravenous catheter placed.
9-3 pm the day of surgery – Time for surgery. Remember, there are usually a couple other pet’s that will be having surgery that day along with your pet. Your pet may be the first one done with their surgery, or the last. This all depends on the surgical order for all patients that day, and to ensure that the day progresses as smooth as possible it is important that you trust that your veterinarian and surgeon are taking exceptional care of your pet, because they are. Importantly, no news is good news, meaning that all is going as planned, and if anything were to come up that would otherwise change the plan that you have previously discussed with your surgeon, that they would call you. Generally, your surgeon will wait until the end of the day to call, or at least until your pet is awake and alert after their anesthetic.
4-8 pm the day of surgery – Discharge time. Your pet will be discharged from the hospital in the afternoon, once they have had an appropriate amount on monitoring after their anesthetic. During this time, your nurse will review your pet’s discharge instructions, which you will already be an expert on because you will have had studied this booklet, and upcoming medication times.
8-10 pm the evening of surgery – Snack time and getting ready for bed. Your pet is allowed to have a small meal under supervision before going to bed, if they are interested (it is common to not be hungry though). If they eat, then try to ensure they get their anxiety medication to help them (and you) sleep.
6am the morning AFTER surgery – Getting into a routine. Get your pet onto a reasonable time schedule for their medications that fits your day (you can have a couple hours wiggle room with most medication, so don’t worry).
If your pet isn’t interested in breakfast, don’t worry. It is common. Skip their morning medication for now and try a little bit later.
All day the day AFTER surgery – Rest. Your pet had a huge day, they are allowed to rest for a couple days. Try to get them up every 3-4 hours to move for a couple minutes to avoid stiffness and to go to the bathroom, but hold off on walks longer than a couple minutes for the first three days.
Important: Your pet may not have a bowel movement for several days after surgery. This is common and is associated with the anesthetic they had and other medications. If you feel that you want to help them have a bowel movement sooner, then they may have some more fiber in their diet in the form of canned, unsweetened, pumpkin (1 teaspoon per 10 pounds to start, with each meal). This may be started when they get home. Do not overdo this (we don’t want loose stool).