Surgery & Anesthesia

Your pet at some time in its life may require general surgery. Gallatin Veterinary Hospital understands the concern every owner has for their pet when they undergo general anesthesia, sedation and surgery. We have made a significant investment in facilities, equipment and staff training to minimize the risks of anesthesia and surgery. We have two state-of-the-art surgical suites, with positive pressure air flow, specific cleaning protocols and disinfectants designed to minimize the contaminants present in each area. All of our surgical instruments are sterilized with steam or gas. If an item cannot be re-sterilized it is thrown away.

After an exam by the nurse and the veterinarian, your pet receives a premedication containing sedatives and pain medications. Once they are sedated an IV (intravenous) catheter in placed, the surgical site is clipped and the pet is kept warm with warm air blankets. In the surgical suite your pet receives IV fluids, antibiotic if indicated and a dedicated nurse monitors blood pressure, temperature, heart rate, respirations, oxygen saturation and level of anesthesia. We use heated surgical tables to maintain proper body temperature throughout surgery. All surgical personnel wear surgical scrubs, caps, masks and shoe covers. Veterinarians and staff members involved in the surgery scrub prior to donning a sterile gown and gloves.

We are fully equipped to handle both routine and non routine surgeries. Some examples of common surgeries are spay, neuter, laceration repairs and mass removals. More involved and less common surgeries include abdominal exploratory, organ biopsy or removal, gastrointestinal surgery and eye/ear surgeries.

The veterinarian in charge of your pet will communicate with you about the surgery, your pet’s progress, prognosis, recovery from surgery and when your pet can be discharged. Each pet is sent home with personalized written discharge instructions for at home care and a follow up plan. You will receive phone calls from staff members checking on your pet’s progress and to answer any questions. Most surgeries have stitches or staples that need to be removed in 12-14 days. This appointment is with a nurse/technician unless there is a complication or you have specific questions about your pet that a veterinarian would need to address.

Spay & Neuter

Spaying or neutering your pet is an important decision to make. If you are not planning to use your pet for breeding purposes it is in the best interest of your pet to be altered by your veterinarian.  Spaying your female around 6 months of age will eliminate heat cycles, unwanted pregnancies and reduce the possibility of disease in the reproductive tract. Neutering your male around 6 months of age reduces their urge to roam, to fight and reduces prostate gland disease and testicular cancer.

What can you expect from GVH when your pet is going to be spayed or neutered?
Our veterinarians perform a pre-surgical exam to evaluate your pet’s general health and to ensure they are a candidate for general anesthesia and surgery. We also require pre-operative blood work which screens your pet’s internal organ function. This gives GVH staff the information needed to alter anesthetic protocols to ensure the safest anesthesia possible. Even if your pet is young both of these steps are important. GVH may find an underlying disease that might not be otherwise diagnosed.

These surgical procedures require that your pet is under general anesthesia. We use pre-anesthetic medications to help relax the patient which contains preemptive pain medications. It is important that before, during, and after any surgical procedure that your pet is given pain medications. Controlling post operative pain is important for the well being and recovery of your pet.  Every patient has an IV (intravenous) catheter placed. This allows us direct access to your pet’s vein for pre-anesthetic medications, IV fluids, and any other medications that may be required during surgery and anesthesia. It is important that every pet during their surgical procedure receives IV fluids. These fluids maintain hydration, sustain proper blood pressure, and flush the anesthetic medications through their body.

During pre-anesthesia, sedation, general anesthesia, and post surgical recovery your pet is assessed by a trained technician who monitors heart rate, blood oxygen concentration, respirations, blood pressure, and body temperature. The technician constantly records all of your pet’s information to make certain they are maintaining appropriate levels of each. Your pet has a dedicated technician assigned to your pet until they are fully recovered from their surgery. Throughout anesthesia and after surgery your pet typically cannot maintain adequate body temperature.  We utilize warm air blankets, warm water bottles, heated surgical tables and heated kennels for every anesthetic procedure and during recovery.

Plan on having your female pet stay the night. Spays (ovariohysterectomy) are more invasive than neuters and require more intensive monitoring and pain control. GVH staff performs a recheck exam the next morning to make sure your pet is feeling well and ready to go home. When you come to pick up your pet after their surgery GVH staff will explain detailed written instructions that will help you to continue care until your pet is fully recovered. Every spay and neuter goes home with oral pain medications to help them recover.

Your pet’s health and safety is our number one concern. At Gallatin Veterinary Hospital we like to make your decision as easy as possible. We have a dedicated well trained staff to help ensure the utmost care of your pet.  GVH staff takes every measure to assure that your pet gets the best care in the valley.


I just wanted to say thank you to Dr. Albrecht and his staff for the amazing care they provided to my Mom's shih-tzu, Ebby!. You've given her a second chance at life!