Equipment for a M*A*S*H program should be as lightweight as possible, easily cleaned with sterilizing solution and as close to standard clinic equipment as possible.

The equipment must serve the same function, and provide the same safety, as in a stationary spay/neuter clinic.

Used tables, cages or surgical instruments provide significant savings. We do not encourage the purchase of used anesthesia machines or autoclaves unless a professional will make sure they work properly before they’re to be used in the field.

Restaurant supply stores can supply new or used stainless steel tables, carts, sinks, racks or trays at a deep discount over those sold for medical use.

Buying a re-purposed heavy duty overbed hospital table (the tables food is served on in a hospital) for $250 to $300 instead of a commercial surgical table for over $2200 saves money and maintains quality.

M*A*S*H equipment will be purchased for four main areas:

  • The “prep area” (the area in which animals are readied for surgery),
  • The surgery area,
  • The recovery area and
  • The area in which surgical instruments are washed and sterilized.

Equipment needed for one high volume veterinary station

The Prep Area

A prep sink or prep table

A laundry sink with a bakers grate on top or a folding card table care used as a prep table.   The prep table will be several feet away from the surgery tables in order to keep hair and flying debris away from the surgery area.

Setting up a temporary wall between the prep and surgery areas ensures greater safety for animals.

The prep area will also have two folding tables for supplies and record keeping, a good quality clipper, stethoscope and a hand held vacuum cleaner.

Two adjustable height tables per veterinary station.

The table seen right is engineered for MASH by Mackey Medical and Design Inc of Tulsa, OK.  This table is made of an overbed hospital table with the top replaced with a stainless 22′ X 54′ top that is well balanced over the stalk.  It raises and lowers like a flat top surgery table yet weighs under 75 pounds and is easy to load.

A table that may be raised and lowered (not standing on blocks and cans) safely meets the needs of multiple veterinarians.

Heavy duty ironing boards affixed to a floor plate or secure braces and with stainless tops also make adjustable height tables that are lightweight and sturdy.

V-trays or positioners will be used on top of the table to secure the animal in the correct place.

Stainless steel V-trays hold the animal in position on the table. A heating pad under the V-top adds warmth if needed.

Two “table top” anesthesia machines and supplies per veterinary station.

Table top units are compact and travel well.  Anesthesia machines on floor stands are FOR  STATIONARY CLINICS ONLY as they are too tall to stand in most vehicles and are likely to tip when traveling.  Tipping may result in problems that are dangerous and require professional re-calibration to address.

Supplies for anesthesia machines include trachea tubes, breathing lines and bags and anesthetic masks.

Anesthetic waste gas is removed by disposable “F-Air” canisters that are attached to each anesthesia machine or by a motorized evacuation system that routes the gas outside of the building.   M*A*S*H clinics normally rely on the passive canisters as the mechanical units potentially require changes in wiring or ports in a wall.

Some organizations include a third anesthesia machine at the prep table.

Monitoring devices are normally included at each anesthesia machine.


Scale for weighing dogs as they enter the clinic

Pediatric scale for weighing cats when they are removed from their carrier 


Folding cages enable a large number of cages to be carried safely and easily in a vehicle.

Instead of stacking folding carriers flat on top of each other, they should stand on end like library books during transport. We’ve found the weight of cages stacked on each other damages the welds on the bottom ones.


Read more about creative, low-cost equipment and supplies here

Supplies List:

  • Check-in supplies include paperwork (two or three part carbonless duplicates are a great way to generate to-go and onsite records at once), pens, tables, chairs, tape, markers (Sharpies are best), sheets to cover cages of frightened dogs or cats, thermometer, a scale is usually set up so dogs may be weighed upon check-in and signs with pick-up information.
  • During the day– this is divided into supplies brought by the visiting M*A*S*H team and the local host. The visiting team will bring all surgery equipment, supplies, emergency kit, fluids, etc. The host team will provide cleaning supplies, blankets, towels, newspaper, paper towels, a stretcher (may come with the visitors), a working phone if possible, small paper bowls (for water and food after animals wake up), folding tables for supplies. Designated volunteer tasks include overseeing the recovery area, which includes making sure the final paperwork is done properly and moving animals, a task which should be considered when scheduling volunteers to be sure that folks who are able to lift are there at the time large dogs are having surgery.
  • Recovery supplies (on previous page)
  • Check out– volunteers will need to explain aftercare to each person picking up an animal. Covering the instructions verbally is important even though written aftercare instructions are handed out. Any paperwork which needs to be done at check-out must be completed and animals that are on site late must be watered, fed, etc.