Emergency and / or elective surgery for pets

Just like humans, there are two kinds of surgeries.

  • Emergency surgery
  • Elective surgery

Emergency surgery could be your dog swallowing a golf ball and needing an extremely quick surgical intervention to ensure he survives the ordeal. Elective surgery could be your dog having trouble with his hips and needing orthaepedic surgery that will improve the quality of his life. Emergency surgery is immediate; elective surgery is usually advised by your vet, with decisions needing to be made. There is also specialist surgery, usually for life threatening diseases.

What to expect from animal surgery

When your animal needs surgery, whether elective or emergency, your vet will give you the options. They will communicate with you and tell you what to expect, before, during and after the surgery.  When you book your pet in for surgery, your vet will tell you:-

  • What time to bring your pet in
  • The rules for no food and no water, prior to surgery
  • That they will care for your pet expertly and with love
  • To expect a call to let you know how the surgery has gone
  • What time to collect your pet
  • Any medication that is needed post surgery
  • When to bring your pet back for a check-up

Most vets will have a surgical department in their practice. Unless the treatment is extremely complicated – perhaps your dog or cat is going to undergo chemotherapy – most routine veterinary practices are undertaken ‘in house,’ in the surgical theatre.

If you feel comfortable with your vet, then you should feel comfortable with he or she performing the surgery your animal needs.


Making decisions about animal surgery or intervention can be hard. The choices you make may depend on the age of the pet, and what the prognosis is.  Talk to your vet, make a list of all the questions you have, and then decide which way to go forward. A good vet will help you with the decisions, and will tell you exactly what to expect.

We hope that your pet never requires surgical interventions. It’s still a good idea to take out pet insurance, know the number of your vet in case of an emergency, and remember, if you are worried about your animal, your vet is a short phone call away.