Pre-Surgical Packet

Prepare for your pet’s surgery with the helpful information below.

Dear Client:

Your pet has been scheduled for surgery in the near future. We know this process can be stressful, so we’ve put this packet together to make it as easy as possible.

You’ll find the following information in this packet:

  1. Preparing: what to expect and what to do for your pet;
  2. Pre-operative testing: why we do it and what choices you’ll be asked to make; and
  3. Surgical information: information for informed consent and what your options are.

On the day of the surgery, you’ll be asked to sign a copy of this packet signifying that you have carefully read and understand its content. The information is key to keeping your pet safe. Please call us if you have any questions. We want to help you help your pet.


The Team at Kennebunk Veterinary Hospital


Home Preparations to Reduce Risks
These instructions are important because they help reduce the risks to your pet. Every surgery is different. If you’ve been given alternative instructions for this procedure by our staff, follow those. And please call us if you have any questions.

The night before your pet’s surgery:

  • Withhold all food and treats after 7:00PM
  • Water can be left down

The morning of the surgery:

  • Continue withholding food
  • Water can be left down unless otherwise instructed
  • If your pet takes any morning medications, vitamins, etc., withhold the morning doses unless otherwise instructed. If glitches arise, such as forgetting to pick up your pet’s food dish, please inform our staff. With all the information, we can do a better job of keeping your pet safe.
  • Walk your pet as usual, unless otherwise directed. They need a chance to eliminate the previous night’s meal before surgery. If your pet has not been walked, please tell us.

Registration Process

Pets scheduled for surgery should be brought in at 8:00AM to complete the registration process.

For their safety, they need to come on a leash or in a carrier.

During Registration, we will:

  • Confirm with your signature that you have read and understand this packet
  • Confirm any additional services you have selected
  • Review and sign the estimate and authorization form
  • Get phone numbers where we can reach you at any point during the day. If we are not able to reach you, we may need to postpone the surgery
  • Collect payment for the surgery based on the estimate. If you need information about our payment policy, methods we accept, or financing options you can find it in the Patient Center on our website.

The length of time registration takes varies based on your pet’s specific needs. Please be prepared for this to take as much as forty minutes. If you have time constraints or special needs, please contact us ahead of time to discuss options.

Like pre-op instructions, registration instructions may vary. If you’ve been given different instructions by hospital staff, please follow those. Examples include new patients, who may need a visit before the surgery or pets who should take their morning medications. If you have any questions about what instructions to follow to keep your pet safe, please call our offices.

While you and the receptionist finish registration, our veterinary technician will escort your pet to the Treatment Room and begin preparing them for surgery. They will begin pre-operative blood work, for example. For the well-being of all patients, they will check your pet for fleas and, if found, treat them at your expense.

Exam & Pre-anesthetic Blood Testing to Reduce Risks

Our greatest concern is the well-being of your pet. Any surgery entails some risk. To minimize and manage this risk, we routinely perform a physical examination and pre-anesthetic blood profile. These tests are similar to those your own physician would run if you were to undergo anesthesia. They help alert the surgeon to the presence of complicating factors such as dehydration, anemia, infection, diabetes, or organ disease that may not be detected otherwise. Knowing about these ahead of the surgery allows us to make sound medical decisions. State-of-the-art equipment enables us to perform the pre-anesthetic blood profile at our hospital.

Below is a list of the tests we routinely run.

Complete Blood Count (CBC):

  • PCV (Anemia),
  • White Blood Cell Count (Infection)
  • Red Blood Cell Count(Anemia/Bleeding Disorder), and
  • Platelet Count (Clotting Disorder)

Pre-Anesthetic Profile:

  • BUN and Creatinine (Kidney),
  • ALKP and ALT (Liver),
  • Glucose (Sugar),
  • Total Protein(Dehydration), and
  • Electrolytes (Imbalance)

4DX Plus:
This test is added as needed. In a nutshell, this test checks for parasites including Heartworm, Lyme, two kinds of Ehrlichia and two kinds of Anaplasmosis. The test is run if there is any chance your pet may have contracted heartworm. For example, if a heartworm preventative was given more than 14 days late. Heartworm significantly increases the risks associated with surgery and knowing your pet’s status will help the surgeon assess the risks.

Additional Options:
You may notice other tests included as options in your estimate. We have selected tests that give the doctors a suitable overview of the pet’s health. For example, if the patient is in their senior years (above 7 years old), the full senior profile can be done the day of the procedure.

Our feline owners may see a FeLV/FIV Test option. We highly recommend this test be performed on all feline patients at least once in their lives because Feline Leukemia and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (Feline AIDS) are viruses for which no cure exists. If your pet goes outside, we recommend administering the Feline Leukemia vaccine as well. Please let us know if you would like to learn more.

Potential Risks: Informed Consent

Surgical risks vary from procedure to procedure and pet to pet.

However, there are some universal risks, including:

  • Bleeding
  • Swelling
  • Infection
  • Anesthetic reaction
  • Suture reaction
  • And, rarely, death

Examples of procedure-specific complications include:

  • Canine and Feline Spay/Neuter
  • Recurrent Heat, Urinary Incontinence, and Weight Gain
  • Feline Declaw
  • Limping, Lameness, and Re-growth of Nail

It is important to understand that there is a risk of complications anytime anesthetic and surgical procedures are performed. We want you to know the risks and benefits of any procedure we do and how they relate to your pet’s overall health. Your doctor will speak with you about the risks and benefits when recommending a procedure. If you find you have additional questions for your doctor, let us know. We’re happy to schedule a visit prior to your surgery day so that we can ensure the doctor has ample time to address your concerns.

During the Surgery

Your doctor will choose the anesthesia protocol they determine to be the best and safest for your pet. They will base their decision on your pet’s particular health needs and the procedure in question.

Anesthesia always comes with some risk. This inherent risk is increased for some pets due to health conditions and age. We are happy to go over the particular risks as they apply to your pet’s situation. Additionally, some of the pre-surgical instructions reduce the risk to your pet. Therefore, if you forget to take food up or experience some other glitch prior to check-in, please make sure you tell our staff.

Intravenous Catheterization & Fluids
We highly recommend the placement of an IV catheter and use of IV fluids to reduce risks during all anesthetic procedures. This allows us to have quick, available access to the circulatory system (blood) in case of an unforeseen emergency. The fluids help provide support to the circulatory system and prevent dehydration, as well as aid in a quicker recovery from anesthesia.

Monitoring of patients during anesthesia is done in two ways.

First, a veterinary technician is with your pet continuously from the beginning of anesthesia to recovery. Second, we have a computerized monitor that records heart rate, pulse rate, oxygen levels, respiration, ECG, and temperature.

Pain Management
Our clinic strongly believes in compassionate, quality, medical care for our patients. As a result, all surgery patients will receive pain management before, during, and after surgery. Additionally, pain medication may be prescribed for home use. Additional information will be given at discharge. We hope this program will reduce any discomfort experienced and aid in a quicker recovery.

After the Procedure

You can trust that we will contact you once your pet is out of surgery and in recovery. At that time, we will be in a better position to tell you when your pet may be discharged. You are welcome to check on your pet’s status.

When you arrive to take your pet home, the receptionist will go over any adjustments to the original estimate based on what your pet actually needed that day. The veterinary technician will go over post-operative instructions with you. These instructions are important to your pet’s recovery. Please let us know if you find anything confusing or have any questions.

We strive to provide your pet with the highest quality care and want to thank you for trusting us with your pet’s health.