In general most pets will require an anaesthetic at some point in their lives, whether this is for a routine neutering procedure, diagnostic investigation or emergency surgery. Here at Astonlee we are proud of our services and facilities, regularly reviewing and updating our equipment and protocols to ensure the best possible care for your pet.

Many minor procedures can be carried out with sedation and local anaesthetic but sometimes general anaesthetic is preferred. This is something your vet will discuss with you, either when booking or when your animal is admitted on the day. During any procedure your pet will be closely monitored by our Registered Veterinary Nurses to help ensure a smooth anaesthetic and rapid recovery.

How to prepare for anaesthesia

For elective procedures in dogs and cats we ask that you remove all food from midnight on the night before surgery. This is to reduce the risk of them vomiting during anaesthesia so it is important that they don’t get any food on the morning of surgery. They can have water up until you bring them in. For cats it is advisable to keep them in overnight the night before surgery to avoid the risk of them hunting! If your pet does eat after this point please let us know as we may have to delay their surgery.

For rabbits we advise they have normal food and water (including hay) up until they are brought into surgery. We also ask that you bring some of their normal food in for them to have post-surgery to get them eating as quickly as possible. If your rabbit is part of a bonded pair, we recommend that you bring their partner in to the surgery as well, so as to reduce the stress of separation and reduce the risk of rejection when you reintroduce them when they get home.

We ask that you ensure your animals are clean and that you take your dog out for a quick walk before bringing them in to make sure they take the opportunity to relieve themselves as they are sometimes reluctant to do so in a strange environment. You could also bring in a clean blanket or toy to have some familiar items with them during their stay.

Pre-anaesthetic Blood Testing

Your pet will be given a pre-operative health examination and you will be asked to sign a pre-surgery consent form. We will always offer pre-anaesthetic bloods to your pet which is carried out quickly and easily in our in-house lab. We recommend this strongly for all older patients. The aim of pre-anaesthetic bloods is to detect some things that the Vet cannot assess during their full physical examination. This includes the function of the liver and kidneys- two organs that play a significant role in the metabolism and excretion of the anaesthetic drugs we administer. Pre-anaesthetic bloods can also help us with identifying any future changes if your pet becomes ill. The Vet will discuss any abnormalities with you prior to the anaesthetic. Pre-anaesthetic blood screening allows us to better tailor our anaesthetic protocol individually to your pet.


We will speak to you about what we will be doing on the day but if you have any questions please feel free to ask, we want you to be happy and comfortable that you know what is happening.


When your pet has woken from the anaesthetic, they will be monitored closely by our Kennel nurse. They will have an analgesia (pain) plan created, meaning they will be regularly assessed and administered suitable pain relief as required. They will be offered food and water on recovery and encouraged outside to stretch their legs.

When they are suitably awake, we can organise a time for you to come and collect your pet. They may still be quite sleepy when you take them home, and as with humans, they may feel quite nauseous following the anaesthetic so we suggest you offer them a bland food in small amounts for 24 hours. Any specific care requirements and any medication they require will be discussed with you at the discharge appointment. Depending on the procedure your pet has undergone, we will provide you with an exercise regime to follow suited to their condition, and inform you of any further post-operative appointments they may require.

You may need to prevent your pet from wound interference, particularly when they are left unsupervised. We offer Buster collars or medical pet shirts, and you can discuss which is the most appropriate for your pet at the discharge appointment.