Once in the OR, the skin at the surgical site is scrubbed thoroughly several times with an antiseptic soap, rinsed with alcohol, and then "painted" with an iodine solution (this is why you may see a little yellow staining on the skin for a few days after surgery).
Throughout this procedure the pet is peacefully breathing anesthetic. A Registered Veterinary Technologist or veterinarian is with each patient all the time, monitoring vital signs. In the mean time, the veterinarian is donning cap and mask, and scrubbing for surgery at the scrub sink. After scrubbing, the vet puts on a sterile gown and gloves. The sterile surgical instrument trays are unwrapped and opened, sterile drapes are carefully placed around the surgical site, and the surgeon begins.
Most elective surgeries (spay and neuters) are routine, but they should never be considered "minor". Someone once said that "minor surgery is surgery that happens to someone else", and that's a good way to think of it! A spay surgery in particular is a major surgery, as it involves entering the abdominal cavity. It is an ovariohysterectomy (removal of the uterus and the ovaries) or ovariectomy (removal of the ovaries only).
During surgery each patient is monitored closely for any changes that might be of concern. Anesthetic levels and physical parameters are recorded and anesthetic decisions are made accordingly.
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