Hooksett Veterinary Clinic, Inc.

59 Pleasant St.
Hooksett, NH 03106



What You Need to Know Before Surgery

Many people have questions about various aspects of their pet's surgery, and we hope this information will help.  It also explains the decisions you will need to make before your pet's upcoming surgery.

Preoperative Instructions:

All surgical procedure's are performed on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. Drop off is between 8-8:30am (exceptions do apply, such as patients who stay overnight). The patient is to be NPO for at least 8 hours, so nothing to eat or drink after midnight prior to the procedure. We monitor all surgical patients for a few hours after every anesthetic procedure, so we will call you to set up a pick up time for that afternoon. Pick up time is around 4-5pm, but we will find an ideal time that suits both your and the clinic's schedule. Discharge instructions will be reviewed at the time of pick up.

Why is it important to spay/neuter your dog and cat?

Dog Spay

A female dog spayed before her first heat will have a near zero chance of developing mammary cancer. After the first heat, this incidence climbs to 7%, after the second heat the risk is 25%.

Pyometra is a life-threatening infection of the uterus that generally occurs in middle aged to older female dogs in the six weeks following heat. Without treatment, the dog is expected to die. This is an extremely common disease of unspayed female dogs. One in four female dogs who have survived until age 10 will get it. Treatment involves surgery to remove the infected uterus of a potentially unstable patient. Mortality rates with surgery have been reported as high as 17%

The female dog comes into heat every 8 months or so. There is a bloody vaginal discharge and local male dogs are attracted. Often there is an offensive odor.

Dog Neuter

Neutering causes the prostrate to shrink into insignificance, thus preventing prostatitis as well as uncomfortable benign prostatic hyperplasia (enlargement).

Other health benefits of neutering include prevention of certain types of hernias and tumors of the testicles and anus. Excessive preputial discharge is also reduced with neutering.

The interest in roaming is eliminated in 90% of neutered dogs. Aggressive behavior against other male dogs is eliminated in 60% of neutered dogs. Urine marking is eliminated in 50% of neutered dogs. Inappropriate mounting is eliminated in 70% of neutered dogs.

Cat Spay

For cats, approximately 90% of mammary tumors are malignant. Spaying before the age of 6 months results in a 91% reduction in the risk of mammary cancer. Spaying before 1 year of age results in an 86% reduction in risk. Spaying before 2 years of age leads to an 11% reduction in risk.

Spaying eliminates the risk of pyometra. It also reduces urine spraying.

Cat Neuter

More than 90% of male cats will reduce roaming behavior with neutering. Approximately 60% reduce this behavior right away.

black kittenIs the anesthetic safe?

Today's modern anesthetic monitors have made surgery much safer than in the past.  Here at Hooksett Veterinary Clinic, Inc., we do a thorough physical exam on your pet before administering anesthetics, to ensure that a fever or other illness won't be a problem.  We also adjust the amount and type of anesthetic used depending on the health of your pet.  The handout on anesthesia explains this in greater detail.

Pre-anesthetic blood testing is important in reducing the risk of anesthesia.  Every pet needs blood testing before surgery to ensure that the liver and kidneys can handle the anesthetic.  Even apparently healthy animals can have serious organ system problems that cannot be detected without blood testing.  If there is a problem, it is much better to find it before it causes anesthetic or surgical complications.  Animals that have minor dysfunction will handle the anesthetic better if they receive IV fluids during surgery.  If serious problems are detected, surgery can be postponed until the problem is corrected.

We offer three levels of in-house blood testing before surgery, which we will go over with you when you bring your pet in.  Our doctors prefer the more comprehensive screen, because it gives them the most information to ensure the safety of your pet.  For geriatric or ill pets, additional blood tests, electrocardiograms, or x-rays may be required before surgery as well.

It is important that surgery be done on an empty stomach to reduce the risk of vomiting during and after anesthesia.  You will need to withhold food for at least 8 to 10 hours before surgery.  Water can be left down for the pet until the morning of surgery.


rotweilerWill my pet have stitches?

For many surgeries, we use absorbable sutures underneath the skin.  These will dissolve on their own, and do not need to be removed later.  Some surgeries, especially tumor removals, do require skin stitches.  With either type of suture, you will need to keep an eye on the incision for swelling or discharge.  Most dogs and cats do not lick excessively or chew at the incision, but this is an occasional problem you will also need to watch for.  If there are skin sutures, these will usually be removed 10 to 14 days after surgery.  You will also need to limit your pet's activity level for a time and no baths are allowed for the first 10 days after surgery.


orange catWill my pet be in pain?

Anything that causes pain in people can be expected to cause pain in animals.  Pets may not show the same symptoms of pain as people do; they usually don't whine or cry, but you can be sure they feel it.  Pain medications needed will depend on the surgery performed.  Major procedures require more pain relief than things like minor lacerations.

For dogs, we may recommend an oral anti-inflammatory the day after surgery and several days after to lessen the risk of discomfort and swelling.  We use newer medications, which are less likely to cause stomach upset and can be given even the morning of surgery.

Because cats do not tolerate standard pain medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or Tylenol, we are limited in what we can give them.  Recent advances in pain medications have allowed for better pain control in cats than ever before.  We administer a pain injection 10 minutes prior to surgery.  After surgery, pain medication is given on a case by case basis.  Any animal that appears painful will receive additional pain medication.

We use narcotic patches for some surgeries in dogs as well.  The cost will depend on the size of the dog.  Injectable pain medications may also be used after surgery on both dogs and cats.  Providing whatever pain relief is appropriate is a humane and caring thing to do for your pet.


dog in recoverWhat other decisions do I need to make?

While your pet is under anesthesia, it is the ideal time to perform other minor procedures, such as dentistry, ear cleaning, or implanting an identification microchip.  If you would like an estimate for these extra services, please call ahead of time.  This is especially important if the person dropping the pet off for surgery is not the primary decision maker for the pet's care.

When you bring your pet in for surgery, we will need to 5 to 10 minutes of time to fill out paperwork and make decisions on the blood testing and other options available.  When you pick up your pet after surgery you can also plan to spend about 10 minutes to go over your pet's home care needs.

We will call you the night before your scheduled surgery appointment, to confirm the time you will be dropping your pet off and to answer any questions you might have.  In the meantime, please don't hesitate to call us with any questions about your pet's health or surgery.

Why do we require your pet to be up to date on vaccinations prior to surgery?

State law requires all cats and dogs to be up to date on Rabies vaccinations. Rabies is an incurable viral disease affecting the central nervous system of almost all mammals, including humans.

Vaccinations can prevent many diseases and promote good health and a longer life for your pet. When hospitalized because of illness or undergoing surgery can strain the immune system, therefore it is important to be up to date on vaccinations.