Pet Surgery

Spay and Neuter

Preparing For Surgery

In the weeks and days leading up to your pet’s surgery, and then on the morning of, make sure your dog or cat has the least amount of stress! Learn everything you need to know about your preparing your pet for surgery at the Spay Neuter Veterinary Clinic here.

Pre-Operative Instructions


Check-in on the date of your pet’s surgery takes place between 7:00-7:30 a.m. Please plan on spending 30 minutes at the clinic for patient check-in. Please be aware that after 8:00 am, there is a late fee charge of $25.00 and we may not be able to accept your animal for surgery.

All appointments and services requested should be paid in full and admission forms signed at least 36 hours prior to your surgery date. On the morning of the appointment, we will come to your car to complete the check in process to reduce stress on you and your pet.  We have found that by completing the check in process outside in your vehicle, it reduces stress for both dogs and cats by reducing their interactions in the lobby.

Please note that if you have not paid in full for all services needed or have not signed the admission form, check in may take over an hour to complete.  If you did not complete the admission form at the time of requesting an appointment, you should have received an email with a link to that form.  You can also find all the forms you need under our resources tab.

Leashes and Carriers
All cats brought to the Spay Neuter Veterinary Clinic must be in a carrier, and dogs must be on a leash or in a carrier. We ask that your carrier be lined with a throw-away towel or newspaper in the bottom, in case of any accidents on your way to the clinic or while waiting for their exam.

If your cat is not in a carrier, you will be required to purchase a cardboard carrier. Remember, we are checking in 50-plus other animals. Please do not take your cat or dog out of his or her carrier while waiting in the lobby as it can be very dangerous. Each cat must go home in their own carrier. We will not put two cats in the same carrier after surgery, so if you only have one you will be required to purchase a second carrier starting at $10.

Feral, wild, or outdoor cats are required to come in a humane wire trap to minimize the stress to the cat and potential risk of injury to staff. If they are not in a trap when brought to the clinic, you will need to reschedule your appointment. If you are not able to handle the cat on a regular basis at home, it is unlikely we will be able to handle the cat when it is stressed here at the clinic. Traps allow us to weigh and pre-medicate the cat without restraining or stressing the cat further.

Payment for surgery is required in full to schedule a surgery appointment. Payment for additional services (vaccines, microchip, deworming, etc.) is required 36 hours prior to the morning of your appointment.     If services are added on the morning of the appointment, they need to be paid at check in.   You can pay for services through you online portal or the payment request emailed. We also accept cash, Visa, Mastercard, and Personal Checks.    If payment is not received prior to discharge for services rendered, the credit card on file will be charged for any remaining balance due.

SNVC Deposit Policy
The Spay Neuter Veterinary Clinic of the Sandhills requires pre-payment of the full surgery price prior to scheduling any surgical appointment. The payment is used to cover the cost of surgery when your pet shows up for the scheduled appointment. If you need to cancel or reschedule the appointment, please let us know more than 7 days prior to the appointment. If you let us know with less than 7 days’ notice, you will lose $50 of the amount paid. That $50 would need to be repaid to reschedule the appointment. For example, to avoid losing the $50, if your appointment is on Wednesday you would need to let us know by 5pm the previous Tuesday.

If you do not show up for your appointment and do not let us know via email or voicemail prior to the end of drop off, which is 8am on the day of surgery, the full price of surgery is lost. If you need to cancel your appointment with more than 7 days’ notice and are request a refund for the deposit, a $5 handling fee will be charged to cover processing fees.

Rabies Vaccines
North Carolina state law requires current rabies vaccination for your pet. Please provide proof of vaccination status prior to the appointment or bring proof in the form of a certificate at drop-off (tags are not acceptable forms of proof). We are otherwise required to administer one at the time of surgery and you will be charged for the vaccination.

Additional Services and Fees

Reducible Umbilical Hernias may be repaired at the time of surgery for an additional fee. Please let us know when scheduling and at drop-off if your pet has an umbilical hernia. If we are not made aware or if it is not reducible it may not be repaired.

We can administer additional vaccines, microchips, heartworm testing, bloodwork and other services at the time of surgery.  Please see the Pricing section of our website for examples of some of the services we can offer.

Patient discharge is normally 4:00 pm for dogs and 4:30 pm for cats. We close at 5:00 pm and all pets need to be picked up prior to 5:00 pm.

Food and Water
For cats, your pet should not eat after midnight the night before surgery. If your dog is five pounds or more, please withhold any feeding after midnight the evening before surgery. Water is permitted up until the time of surgery.

Keep Your Pet Indoors
Please keep your pets inside or confined the night before surgery. This is important to ensure that they are not eating outside, which would make surgery much higher risk. Keeping them inside also ensures that you will be able to find your pet the morning of surgery. This is important since you would lose your payment if you are not able to show up for your scheduled appointment. For those trapping feral cats, we recommend starting to try to trap cats 48-72 hours prior to the morning of the important if you are concerned about catching them.

Female Cats and Dogs In Heat or Pregnancy
We will spay female cats and dogs that are pregnant or in heat, but we may require you to sign a high-risk waiver. If your female pet is in heat or pregnant, please let us know when scheduling and at drop-off.

Male Cats and Dogs
Please check that your pet’s testicles have descended. There is an increased fee for neutering “cryptorchid” cats and dogs, in which one or both testicles have not descended. It is likely we will not perform surgery if your pet is under 1 year and a cryptorchid. We recommend waiting until they are a year old to allow time for the testicle(s) to descend and enlarge.

What to Expect After Surgery

If your pet has already had surgery with us, please read and follow the post-operative instructions to lessen your pet’s risk of injury or infection during the healing process. Your pet’s care after surgery is extremely important. You can find the full post-operative instructions here. We also have a Spanish version for post-operative instructions you can find here.

Your pet has just undergone major surgery, and you may notice a few temporary changes. These changes can include your pet being groggy or sleepy for up to 24 hours after surgery. This is a normal side effect of anesthesia, and it is important that you keep your animal confined to a small quiet area away from other animals or children where they can peacefully rest while they recover. Animals can also appear clumsy and uncoordinated, so it’s’ a good idea to help them in and out of the car on the way home so that they don’t accidentally damage their surgery site. Avoiding stairs or elevated surfaces is recommended as well to prevent animals from falling and injuring themselves.


Often animals are not hungry after surgery, even though they have fasted. It may take 12-24 hours for a full appetite to return. You can offer their regular diet or a bland diet of boiled chicken and rice to encourage eating. Do not be alarmed if they are not interested in eating on the night of surgery. If they are supposed to start the pain medication the night of surgery, it is ok to hold off until the next day if they are not eating. This will help minimize further nausea.


Following surgery, keep your pet indoors in a warm, quiet room for 24 to 36 hours. Activity must be minimal for ten days after surgery, as running, jumping, and wrestling with other pets or children can cause damage to and swelling at the incision. We recommend keeping your pet away from other animals to discourage playing or grooming, which would irritate the incision.  It is especially important to keep puppies or kittens away from females.  Dogs should only be walked on a leash, and cats should be kept indoors.


Pets may experience some discomfort or soreness for 24 to 36 hours following surgery. Cats receive a post-operative pain injection that lasts 72 hours and will not be sent home with pain medications.  Dogs will go home with an anti-inflammatory and pain medication from the Spay Neuter Clinic.  Please follow the instructions given to you by the veterinarian on the packaging of the medication. The medication may start the night of surgery or may start the next day; this depends on the size of your dog.  If you have any questions, please call the clinic immediately at (910) 400-7682. DO NOT ADMINISTER ANY ADDITIONAL OVER-THE-COUNTER OR PRESCRIPTION PAIN MEDICATION TO YOUR PET. DOING SO CAN CAUSE GI ISSUES, ORGAN FAILURE, OR DEATH.

Urinating and Defecating

Your pet should still be urinating even if it is not eating, although the amount may be lessened. It is important to verify that your dog or cat is urinating. If you have more than one cat, you must watch the litter box to ensure your cat is urinating. Anesthesia may cause diarrhea or constipation for a day or two, but if your pet does not defecate normally within two days, please contact us.


Your pet has buried absorbable stitches, also known as sutures, under their outer layer of skin, and the skin edge is sealed with surgical glue to provide an extra layer of protection. There is no need to return for suture removal for most pets unless they have received external sutures or staples.  Some pets receive staples in their skin, normally due to the incision being larger than normal, loose mammary tissue, skin issues, or if they were pregnant.  If your pet has staples, they will need to be removed here in 10-14 days after surgery.

You will also notice that we have tattooed a very small line on their abdomen to indicate to others that they have already been spayed or neutered (male cats do not receive a tattoo).

Please look at your animal’s incision site before you go home. At this time, the site will appear as what we would call “normal.” Check your pet’s incision twice daily for swelling, bleeding, discharge, or redness at the incision. Some of these symptoms are expected and are not cause for alarm, but if it seems excessive, please call the clinic for a recheck at (910) 400-7682 option 4.

Keep your pet clean and dry for ten days after surgery. Do not wash the incision or use hydrogen peroxide on the area, as this may introduce infection and cause sutures to prematurely absorb. Bathing your pet is prohibited for at least 14 days after surgery.  Never apply any topical ointments, creams, or bandages over the incision as they may cause the sutures to absorb prematurely, causing the incision to open.  Band-Aids and bandages cause significant irritation to your pet’s skin and can lead to infection and serious complications.


Check your pet’s gum color when you arrive home after the surgery. The gum color should be pink and quickly return to that color after you press on the gum above the large canine tooth with your finger. Repeat this check throughout the evening after surgery. If your pet’s gums become pale and do not return to pink color during your check, please call the clinic at (910) 400-7682.


Discourage your pet from licking or biting at the incision line. Male dogs especially are notorious for this.  All dogs and female cats go home with an Elizabethan collar to prevent damage to the incision. The collar should stay on the pet for 7-10 days.  No animals, cats or dogs, should be let outside off leash with an Elizabethan collar on due to the risk of strangulation. If the Elizabethan collar is not used or instructions are not followed, fixing the damage a pet does to the incision will be done at the owner’s expense.


Male cats and dogs remain fertile for 3-4 weeks after surgery and can still impregnate females. Please keep them confined.  If females are in heat or coming into heat at the time of surgery, they may still show signs of being in heat for the next several weeks.  This includes attracting males.  We strongly recommend keeping your pets away from other animals after surgery to allow them time to heal.  Puppies and kittens should be kept away from females as well to make sure they are not interfering with the healing.