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Surgery FAQ

What type of Anesthesia is used on my pet and is it safe?

The type of anesthesia used depends on the procedure being done. Shorter procedures can be done with injectable anesthesia and the pet can then be reversed in a short period of time. Other surgeries require general anesthesia involving the administration of an inhalant gas for the safety and comfort of the pet.

We always perform pre-surgical blood work and depending on the pet's condition and age, we also perform chest radiographs (x-rays) to assure the pet is healthy to undergo the procedure. If there are any abnormalities, surgery is postponed and the abnormalities are addressed. Anesthesia does carry at risk at any age, but our protocols are very safe. Here at Montgomery Veterinary Hospital, we have state-of-the-art anesthesia monitoring equipment and Licensed Veterinary Technicians monitoring the pet for the entirety of the procedure.

What is the Recovery Period like?

Will my pet need to stay at the hospital overnight?

Recovery will depend on a few factors: the type of anesthesia, the type of procedure, the body condition score of the pet, and the age and health of the pet. We hold onto the patients in the hospital for about 4 hours after the procedure to make sure they are fully recovered and able to walk for discharge. For soft tissue surgeries (spays, neuters, mass removals), recovery/post-op restrictions is usually 10-14 days. With dental procedures, the pet is usually back to themselves the following day, but may have diet restrictions depending on if any extractions were performed.

We do NOT keep any pet's overnight after surgery; all of our patient's go home the same day.

My pet is on medication daily, do I give those medications the morning of surgery?

Your pet must be fasted for at least 8-12 hours prior to surgery to prevent aspiration and vomiting during or after surgery. However, if your pet is on lifelong medications (i.e. thyroid disease, diabetes, seizures) please speak with the veterinarian for more specific instructions prior to surgery.

Will my pet have stitches?

And if so, do I need to return to have them removed?

For spays and neuters, we use absorbable sutures underneath the skin that will not need to be removed as they will dissolve over time on their own. For these procedures, we ask the client to take a picture of the incision site 10-14 days after surgery and either emailing or texting the images instead of bring the pet back in.

For most soft tissue surgeries (i.e mass removals) we may use non-absorbable skin sutures that will need to be removed 10-14 days after surgery. In which case, the pet will need to come back for suture removal.

Will my pet be in pain?

How will I know my pet is in pain?

When should I be concerned and call my vet?

We dispense pain management during the procedure and then will send the client home with pain medications to give the pet for a certain duration following surgery.

If your pet appears lethargic, has significant swelling at the surgical site (s), does not want to get up, off their normal routine or not eating, usually indicates something is not right. Please contact your veterinarian right away if any of the above occurs.

Can I give my pet a bath after surgery?

For spays, neuters and soft tissue surgeries, such as mass removals, you will be able to bath the pet AFTER the 10-14 day recovery period when the veterinarian examines the incision site and confirms the incision(s) have healed well. 

Following dental cleanings, bathing is usually allowed right after surgery, but confirm with your veterinarian prior especially if there were a lot of dental extractions or multiple procedures performed.

Is the Elizabethan Collar (aka E-collar, "cone of shame") really necessary to be worn the whole time after surgery?

Are there alternatives?

The dreaded E-collar is a NECESSITY following most soft tissue procedures (spay, neuters, mass removals, amputations, enucleations, etc) as it assists with the healing process.  Without the E-collar, the pet may lick or chew at the incision site and sutures, introducing infection to the surgical site, which will lead to additional costly surgeries, medicine and pain.

There are a few alternatives to the hard plastic E-collar. We offer a Comfurt Collar, which is a soft pillow NOT an inflatable collar that can be popped (visit: to learn more about them). We may recommend post-surgery shirts/recovery shirts, such as the ones made by MPS (visit: to learn more). Please consult with your veterinarian to confirm alternative options will be sufficient for the procedure being performed.

*Please keep in mind if you are bringing your own E-collar, we recommend you bring it with you at the time of drop off of surgery as we place the E-collar on while they are recovering to assist with post-op care.

What other decisions do I need to make prior to scheduling surgery?

While your pet is under anesthesia, consider any other minor treatments/procedures that may be needed, such as an ear cleaning, dental cleaning, or implantation of a microchip. We perform nail trims COMPLIMENTARY for ALL surgical procedures (best time to get the nails nice, short and rounded, some extra post-op TLC :). 

Please plan to have at least 5-10 minutes at the time of drop off for going over consent forms and what to expect for the day as well as 5-10 minutes at the time of pick-up to go over discharge instructions and what to expect post-op.

Please schedule appropriately as we do not recommend the pet being left alone immediately after discharge. Most pets are fully recovered from anesthesia by the next morning.

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