Before and After Surgery

posted on Friday, March 9, 2018 in Pet PSA



  • Remove food and water after midnight – Your pet can have dinner the night before the surgery but please remove all liquids and food after midnight.
  • Keep your pets indoors – Pets must be kept indoors or confined the night before surgery. This will ensure that they do not eat anything outside and that they are ready for their appointment.
  • Check-In time is between 7:30-8am - Due to our strict schedule, your pet might not be admitted if you arrive after 8:30 a.m. The admission process usually takes 5-10 minutes to complete. If you wish, you may collect the paperwork before your appointment to save time. Please go to the north side of the building, find a glass door with a green top that is right across from the arena. View Directions
  • Leave your pet in the car - All dogs must be on a leash and all cats must be in a carrier. If you do not have a carrier for your cat or a leash/collar for dog, you can borrow one from us.
  • Our methods of payments are cash, check and credit card – You can pay at the time of pick up (4:30-6pm).
  • Pick up time is between 4:30-6pmDue to pets being under anesthesia during surgery, no pets will be release before 4:30pm. Please note that we do not board pets.
  • Spay vs. neuter surgeries - In female animals, the uterus and ovaries are removed through a small incision in the abdominal wall, which makes them unable to get pregnant. In male dogs and cats, the scrotum is not removed, only the testicles. This prevents the production of sperm, meaning they will no longer be able to father puppies or kittens. Our patients are completely asleep during surgery, and are unable to feel or move.


  • Pick up time is between 4:30-6pmDue to pets being under anesthesia during surgery, no pets will be release before 4:30pm. Please note that we do not board pets.
  • Limit activity - Some animals are active after surgery, while others remain quiet for a while. Either way, restrict exercise – no jumping, running, or climbing stairs for 7-14 days, these activities could disrupt the healing process.
  • Feed small amount in the evening after surgery - Your pet has had a small snack on the day of surgery, and their appetite should return gradually within 24 hours. Feed a regular diet in the morning after surgery. Do not change your pet's diet at this time, changes in their diet could hide post-surgical complications.
  • Monitor your pet - Although patients' reactions to surgery can vary, lethargy (lasting for more than 24 hours after surgery), diarrhea, vomiting, etc. are NOT normal. Contact us immediately if any of the following occurs:
    • Loss of appetite for more than two days
    • Refusal to drink water for more than one day
    • Severe depression, weakness or pain
    • Vomiting
    • Diarrhea
    • Elevated or below normal temperature
    • Incision drainage, swelling or redness
  • For Outside Cats. If possible do not allow your cat to roam freely for 2-3 days after the spay/neuter surgery. Confining them to a barn, outbuilding, or large kennel where they are sheltered from the elements and they have food, water, litterbox is recommended as the anesthesia can impair their reflexes and make them more vulnerable to injury for 2-3 days.
  • Check their incision daily – It is normal that the incision is a little inflamed and/or swollen but watch for excessive swelling, redness, or drainage.  The incision’s stitches are absorbable and will dissolve. Please don’t apply anything to the incision and do not allow excessive licking or chewing at the incision. If you are unable to stop your pet from licking or chewing the incision, please call and we can arrange to provide ecollar (cone).
  • Call if you have concerns. If you have any questions or concerns directly related to the surgery during the recovery period, please call us at (515) 473-9105 during the ARL’s regular business hours: weekdays 8 a.m.-7 p.m. and weekends 8 a.m.-6 p.m. If you have an emergency outside ARL business hours, call your veterinarian or Iowa Veterinary Referral Center (IVRC) at (515) 727-4872 (4631 Merle Hay Rd, Des Moines, IA).

*NOTE: All charges incurred for services rendered at IVRC or other veterinary clinics are the responsibility of the owner.