Surgical preparation of the patient
By now, only three or four minutes have passed since induction. The patient is prepped for surgery. For a spay, the abdomen is shaved from sternum to groin. We need to shave this much area so that we have a sterile operating field, free of hair and debris. Other surgeries may require smaller shaved areas, depending on the surgery type and location. The skin is shaved and the hair is vacuumed up, and a preliminary scrub is done to remove stray hair and gross contamination with dirt or sand.
At this point we move the patient and all of the equipment (IV pumps, monitors) into the operating room. They are placed on a warmed surface to minimize body heat loss during surgery. We have a Bair Patient Warmer, which is essentially an air blanket with tiny holes in it. Heated air is pumped into the mattress, and the heated air escapes around the patient, keeping him warm. We have various other warming devices that are used to keep our patients from losing body temperature. Hypothermia can cause delayed recovery from anesthesia, and has other physiologic effects that are detrimental in the short and long term. We prefer not to let the body temperature drop in the first place.
Next - Surgery