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Your pet is always in safe hands

As pet owners ourselves, we know how worrying it is if your pet needs to have any kind of operation. Rest assured we look after every pet with as much care as if they were our own animals.

We provide a wide range of operations, the most common being neutering and dental treatments. For complicated procedures, such as orthopaedics, we have a visiting orthopaedic surgeon who we will call in to treat your pet. This means they can still be looked after at one of our familiar practices and you are both saved the stress of travelling to an unknown animal hospital.

Pets which are with us for an operation are looked after in our kennel rooms in a central part of the practice where they are regularly checked on. All our kennels have high quality vet beds and your pet will have all the home comforts he or she needs.

The x-ray facilities at both our practices allow us to examine bones and some major organs, usually while your pet is sedated or anaesthetised. We also have a visiting ultrasound specialist. Ultrasounds allow us to get very detailed information about a number of internal conditions.

We are unusual in avoiding overnight stays for our patients as much as possible, because we find the majority of pets rest and recover much better at home. Even if your pet needs to be with us for treatment over a couple of consecutive days we will recommend they go home with you each night, where they will feed and sleep better.

You are given all the information and support you need to look after your pet as it recovers from treatment. We find owners often like to be involved in nursing their pet, and additional advice is always available by phone, 24 hours a day, via our out of hours emergency service.

One of the most important parts of any operation is the general anaesthetic, which makes sure your pet is asleep and not experiencing any pain. No anaesthetic procedure is 100% risk free but we individually assess every patient to reduce the risks as much as possible. The whole process is overseen by our veterinary nurses, who have thousands of hours of experience monitoring anaesthetics.

Your pet will be given a bespoke treatment designed with their particular circumstances in mind, taking into account their age and general health. The drugs we use are the most modern available, and the gas used to keep your pet asleep during surgery is the same as that used in human medicine on babies. It really is that safe.

Every pet having a general anaesthetic is weighed so we can calculate precisely the right amount of drugs needed. They are given a pre-med, made up of a sedative and a strong pain killer, then the induction drug to make them unconscious. Once asleep they are put on a breathing tube which delivers a mix of oxygen and an anaesthetic gas to ensure they don’t wake up before we want them to.

After surgery they’re brought round with 100% oxygen and are thoroughly checked over to make sure they’re suffering no ill-effects from the anaesthetic. They’ll be given more pain relief and any other drugs to help their recovery, such as anti-inflammatories.

Once we’re sure they’re recovering well, we make sure you’re given all the information you need to help them recuperate at home. Our experienced staff are always at the end of the phone if you have any concerns, and we’ll see your pet for a follow-up appointment to check they’re healing well.

General Anaesthesia

General anaesthesia is produced in a patient by a combination of three things. These are pain relief, muscle relaxation and loss of consciousness. There is no drug which does all of these satisfactorily or to a level where surgery is possible. Thus a combination of drugs is often used to give adequate levels of these 3 required effects.

At Alexandra & Hillyfields Vets we use the most modern drugs available to ensure the most effective, highest quality and safest anaesthesia possible.

Every general anaesthetic is a bespoke procedure tailored to suit the individual animal and all decisions on drug doses and the protocol are made with your animal’s particular circumstances in mind

If your pet is to come to our surgery for an operation, it is natural for you to be concerned. No anaesthetic procedure is 100% risk free, however we will ensure that your pet receives the highest standards of care at all times while they are with us.

All general anaesthesia at our practice is monitored only by fully qualified RCVS Registered / highly experienced Veterinary Nurses. Between them they have many hundreds if not thousands of hours of anaesthetic monitoring. They are all very experienced in preventing complications arising and dealing with high risk anaesthesia in older patients.

After admission, your pet will receive a thorough pre-anaesthetic check-up by a vet to ensure there are no obvious underlying issues that could cause a problem when they are anaesthetised. Your pet will then be weighed and a precise dose of premedication is calculated. This will comprise a sedative and potent opiate pain killer. These drugs allow for a smooth induction phase and reduce the amount of drugs needed for the rest of the anaesthetic procedure. After injection of these drugs your pet will be left in a quiet, comfortable kennel and kept under observation while the ‘pre-med’ takes effect.

The next stage of the procedure is the induction. A different drug is injected into a vein, usually on the foreleg to rapidly and smoothly induce unconsciousness. It is important that this is done smoothly so as not to cause any distress to your pet. Once they are asleep then a tube can be placed into their airway to allow them to breathe easily and the tube is connected to the anaesthetic machine.

The anaesthetic machine allows us to maintain the level of anaesthesia required. The machine delivers very precisely measured levels of anaesthetic gas mixed with oxygen. This keeps the animal asleep and at a level where surgery can be performed. The machine is also able to deliver Nitrous Oxide gas. This is a very safe anaesthetic and pain killing gas which helps keep the levels of other drugs low.

While under anaesthesia, your pet will breathe a very high concentration of oxygen. We are able to measure the levels of oxygen dissolved in the blood with a Pulse Oximeter Machine. You may be surprised, but your pet will have very much more oxygen in their blood while under anaesthesia then when they are awake!

After their operation, they will be allowed to breathe 100% oxygen until they are almost awake and the tube is only removed from their airway when they are able to swallow and maintain their own laryngeal reflexes.

If they have undergone surgery, they will have painkilling drugs given before they are anaesthetised and these may be repeated after waking up to give a longer duration of pain relief. Anti-inflammatory medication may also be given on discharge to keep your pet comfortable in the postoperative period.


We are able to have most major orthopaedic surgery carried out in house which means you do not have to transport your pet to an unfamiliar surgery and see vets you don’t know. We have a visiting orthopeadic referral surgeon who is able to perform these operations at either of our surgeries with minimal waiting times.