General FAQs

Is the anaesthetic safe?

Today’s modern anaesthetic monitors have made surgery much safer than in the past. Here at Hope Island Veterinary Surgery, we do a thorough physical exam on your pet before administering anaesthetics, to ensure that a fever or other illness won’t be a problem. We also adjust the amount and type of anaesthetic used depending on the health of your pet. The handout on anaesthesia explains this in greater detail.

Preanesthetic blood testing is important in reducing the risk of anaesthesia. Every pet needs blood testing before surgery to ensure that the liver and kidneys can handle the anaesthetic. Even apparently healthy animals can have serious organ system problems that cannot be detected without blood testing. If there is a problem, it is much better to find it before it causes anaesthetic or surgical complications. Animals that have minor dysfunction will handle the anaesthetic better if they receive IV fluids during surgery. If serious problems are detected, surgery can be postponed until the problem is corrected.
We offer several levels of in-house blood testing before surgery, which we will go over prior to surgery. Our doctors prefer the more comprehensive screen, because it gives them the most information to ensure the safety of your pet. For geriatric or ill pets, additional blood tests, electrocardiograms, or x-rays may be required before surgery as well.

It is important that surgery be done on an empty stomach to reduce the risk of vomiting during and after anaesthesia. You will need to withhold food for at least 8 to 10 hours before surgery. Water can be left down for the pet until the morning of surgery.

Will my pet have stitches?

For many surgeries, we use absorbable sutures underneath the skin. These will dissolve on their own, and do not need to be removed later. Some surgeries, especially tumour removals, do require skin stitches. With either type of suture, you will need to keep an eye on the incision for swelling or discharge. Most dogs and cats do not lick excessively or chew at the incision, but this is an occasional problem you will also need to watch for. If there are skin sutures, these will usually be removed 10 to 14 days after surgery. You will also need to limit your pet’s activity level for a time and no baths are allowed for the first 10 days after surgery.

Will my pet be in pain?

Anything that causes pain in people can be expected to cause pain in animals. At Hope Island Veterinary Surgery we target pain prior to procedures to reduce the animal feeling it and include nerve blocks and local anaesthetics in our “Pain Plan”. Pets may not show the same symptoms of pain as people do; they usually don’t whine or cry, but you can be sure they feel it. Pain medications needed will depend on the surgery performed. Major procedures and dental extractions require more pain relief than things like minor lacerations or a dental scale & polish.

For dogs and cats, we may dispense an oral anti-inflammatory for several days after surgery to lessen the risk of discomfort and swelling. We use newer medications, which are less likely to cause stomach upset and can be given even on an empty stomach. Liquid forms are available for those pets reluctant to take pills.

Because cats do not tolerate standard pain medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or Tylenol, we advise no non-dispensed medications for cats. Recent advances in pain medications have allowed for better pain control in cats than ever before with both pill and liquid medications available. Please feel free to discuss this aspect of post-surgical care with our staff.

Remember, we would not want our own pets in pain so our aim is to provide peace of mind for you and pain free surgery for your pet. Injectable pain medications and topical patches may also be used after surgery on both dogs and cats. Providing whatever pain relief is appropriate is a humane and caring thing to do for your pet.

What other decisions do I need to make?

While your pet is under anaesthesia, it is the ideal time to perform other minor procedures, such as dentistry, ear cleaning, or implanting an identification microchip. If you would like an estimate for these extra services, please call ahead of time. This is especially important if the person dropping the pet off for surgery is not the primary decision maker for the pet’s care.

When you bring your pet in for surgery, we will need 5 to 10 minutes of time to fill out paperwork and make decisions on the blood testing and other options available. When you pick up your pet after surgery you can also plan to spend about 10 minutes going over your pet’s home care needs.

We will call you the night before your scheduled surgery appointment, to confirm the time you will be dropping your pet off and to answer any questions you might have. In the meantime, please don’t hesitate to call us with any questions about your pet’s health or surgery.

Hospital Policies

Appointment Policy

To allow ample time for all patients and scheduled surgical procedures, we operate primarily by appointment. Emergency cases shall always receive top priority, which is why occasional appointment delay is inevitable. Please realise that we make a sincere attempt to see each client on time.

Patient Safety Policy

For your protection, and that of others, all dogs must be on a leash and properly controlled while in the waiting area or exam rooms.
All cats must be presented in an appropriate cat carrier or on a leash.
For the safety of all animals in our care, we require that all vaccinations be up to date.

Drop Off Appointments

For your convenience, ‘drop-off’ appointments are available. A ‘drop off’ means you could bring your pet at the time that works best for you and leave him/her with us for a couple of hours. Usually we will ask you to ‘drop off’ sometime in the morning so our doctors can examine the patient in between appointments or at the time purposely reserved for admitted patients. Once the doctor is done, they will give you a call to go over the diagnosis and to give you discharge instructions.

Payment Policy

We require full payment at the time that services are rendered. For your convenience we offer EFTPOS, cash facilites and accept Visa, MasterCard and American Express.


There are many different vaccination schedules for puppies and every clinic adopts their own program based on scientific research, response to vaccination and local disease threats. Here at Hope Island Veterinary Surgery we offer an injectable vaccination called DHP (C3) that covers for Distemper, Parvovirus and Canine Hepatitis and an intranasal vaccination called KC that covers for two pathogens that cause Kennel Cough (Canine Parainfluenza and Bordetella bronchiseptica). The intranasal vaccination provides stronger quicker immunity from Kennel Cough with less vaccination reactions when compared with the injectable Kennel Cough vaccination.

Illnesses that vaccination can prevent or lessen:

Canine Distemper

Canine Distemper is a fast acting, highly contagious virus that affects dogs, foxes, dingoes and ferrets. A few days after exposure to the virus your pet would develop a fever, become lethargic, and refuse food and water. Further signs involve the internal organs and brain; coughing, nasal discharge, vomiting and diarrhoea, paralysis and seizures are seen. As the clinical signs are caused by a virus there is no direct treatment for Canine Distemper.

Canine Hepatitis

Canine Hepatitis is caused by a virus. This virus is spread in the urine, blood, saliva, nasal discharge and faeces of infected dogs. Dogs contract the virus through their nose or mouth and it spreads to the tonsils and infects the liver and kidneys. If affected, your pet would display fever, lethargy, loss of appetite, a sore abdomen, inflamed eyes and signs of liver disease such as jaundice, vomiting, bleeding disorders and seizures. As the clinical signs are caused by a virus there is no direct treatment for Canine Hepatitis.

Canine Parvovirus

Canine Parvovirus is known for causing life threatening diarrhoea. It produces these signs by attacking the intestinal lining, leading to sloughing of the intestines and leaking of protein and fluid into the gut. It can also affect the development of puppies in the uterus and in very young puppies affect the heart. Dogs contract this virus through direct or indirect contact of infected faeces. It is important to know that parvovirus can remain in the soil for up to 3 years, ready for its next victim. As the clinical signs are caused by a virus there is no direct treatment for Canine Parvovirus.

Canine Parainfluenza

Canine Parainfluenza (virus) and Bordetella bronchiseptica (bacteria) are two pathogens that can cause Canine Kennel Cough. They are spread via airborne particles or contact with contaminated surfaces, very similar to how the human cold and flu are caught. If your pet contracts kennel cough clinical signs can include a harsh, dry cough, retching, sneezing, gagging or vomiting, particularly after pressing on the windpipe or excitement. The symptoms can last for 10 to 20 days and in some patients pneumonia can result. Similar to the flu vaccination in humans, the primary aim of the kennel cough vaccination is to reduce severity and duration of disease.