Our team continues to be here for you and your cherished pets. We are OPEN and are now able to provide a wide range of services. To learn more about the changes we have implemented in response to COVID-19 and what to expect during your next visit, click here.

call icon

Spay/Neuter Day – What to Expect for Your Pet

On the day of your pet’s spay or neuter procedure, we will ask you to arrive at the hospital between 7:15 am and 8:00 am. We ask that you do not feed your pet from midnight the night before their procedure. This is to decrease the anesthetic risk presented by the regurgitation of food.

You and your pet will arrive at the hospital on the morning of your scheduled surgery. After being checked in by one of our front staff, you will meet with one of our technicians to sign some legal forms and briefly discuss the surgery and any questions you may have. Then you are free to leave until your pet is ready for discharge later that same day.

From the exam room, we will walk with/carry your pet to our treatment area. They are either held or placed on a table while the technician does a head to toe assessment, including the auscultation of heart and lung sounds with a stethoscope, temperature, weight and assessment of hydration and circulation. Shortly after arrival, a veterinarian will perform a full exam on your pet. Any findings from the technician’s assessment will be reported to the veterinarian. If you have asked us to perform blood work, this will be taken and the results will be presented to the doctor upon their examination of your pet.

Once your pet has been thoroughly examined, an anesthetic protocol is chosen and the medications are calculated and drawn up. We give your pet an intramuscular injection (typically into the leg) that provides relaxation, pain control and anxiety-reducing properties. Your pet will comfortably fall asleep. At this time we will place an intravenous catheter to provide IV fluids and medication to render your pet fully unconscious. We will also place a tube into the trachea to provide a protected airway so we can provide assisted breathing throughout your pet’s anesthetic.

Throughout your pet’s procedure, they are constantly monitored by their anesthetist (the technician) and their doctor. We deliver a gas inhalant that will keep your pet asleep for the duration of their procedure. Before your pet wakes up, they are given at least one additional injection for pain control. Once the procedure is over, we stop the inhalant gas and your pet will wake up.

Though the inhalant gas has now stopped, your pet will still be feeling the effects from their intramuscular injection prior to surgery, as well as residual effects from the inhalant anesthetic. For their safety, we keep them at the hospital during this recovery period while they metabolize their anesthetic drugs. When appropriate, we will offer water and a meal, and take your pet outside for a walk and bio break.

Several hours after surgery, when your pet is ready, a technician will meet with you to discuss all necessary aftercare instructions for your pet. Then you and your furry loved one get to go home!

If you have any questions about your pet’s upcoming surgery, please contact us at 902.434.0700.

Written by: Jenna Marsh, RVT



The Risks of Being an Outdoor Cat

Cats are curious creatures who love to roam and explore. The outside world is full of birds to hunt, trees to climb and sun patches to roll in - so why doesn’t everyone let their cat go outside?

Read More
See All Articles

Last updated: June 30, 2020

Dear Clients,

With recent changes to restrictions on businesses, we are pleased to advise that effective June 5, 2020, some restrictions on veterinary practices have been lifted. We are now allowing our clients entry into the building for appointments as of July 2nd, 2020 for those who wish to accompany their pet into the clinic.

Based on these changes, below are some important updates to our operating policies.


This includes vaccines, wellness exams, bloodwork, spays and neuters, dental services, and more!


  • Continue our "closed waiting room" policy to protect our clients and staff. When you arrive, please remain outside the hospital and use your cell phone to call us. For those wishing to come into the clinic, once the veterinarian and the spacious exam room is ready, a staff member will then meet you outside to bring one client (required to wear a facial covering to enter the building) and the pet into the hospital for an examination. The Veterinarian will discuss the patient's history with you in the exam room, any concerns you have, and will then take your pet to the treatment area to perform the physical portion of the exam with the assistance of a support staff member. This is to limit close human contact for both our clients and our staff's safety. Once the physical exam is done and any recommended treatments were given, the Veterinarian will return to the exam room with your pet and answer any remaining questions. After your appointment, a support staff member will meet you in the exam room to take care of any needed medications and payment before escorting you back out of the clinic.
  • Continue offering clients to remain in their vehicle for the duration of the exam and have the Veterinarian provide the consult over the phone for those who prefer this option. A staff member will escort your pet into and out of the building for the appointment and will take care of any payment over the phone or using our portable machine at your vehicle. They will bring any items going home to you at your vehicle.
  • Continue the use of credit cards as the preferred payment method. We do have a portable debit machine if necessary. We are still trying to limit the intake of cash at this time.
  • Continue with solely curbside pickup of food and medication (unless you have used our online store and are having your order delivered directly to your home). To place an order through our online store, visit our website and click on "Online Store".

    If you wish to connect with a veterinarian via message, phone, or video, visit our website and follow the "Online Consultation" link. Please note that due to the high demand for appointments we are now seeing in the clinic, telemedicine options are very limited.


    We are back to our previous regular business hours and are OPEN with the following hours:

    Monday, Thursday: 7:15 am - 9:00 pm
    Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday: 7:15 am - 8:00 pm
    Saturday: 9:00 am - 3:00 pm
    Sunday: CLOSED


    Have you welcomed a new furry family member to your home? We’d love to meet them! Visit our Must Know New Pet Owner Information page for useful resources and helpful recommendations for new pet owners.

    Thank you for your patience and understanding and we look forward to seeing you and your furry family members!

    - Your dedicated team at Dartmouth Veterinary Hospital