Setting Up

The building or tent in which the M*A*S*H clinic is held should be able to be heated or cooled to normal recovery room temperature and should have floors which may be mopped with an appropriate solution. For more information on cleaning visit

Occasionally normal cleaning may not be sufficient for the area around or over the surgery tables. Creating barriers out of surgical drape material, plastic shower curtains, sheets, or even newsprint paper, can protect the surgery area from dirt in the immediate environment. The surgery space should not be under a ceiling fan or in a draft. A safety/ cleanliness barrier may include covering the ceiling over the surgery tables. A lightweight material taped to the ceiling can help keep your surgery area clean. FYI-cheap tape doesn’t stick as well as the good stuff. Thumb tacks work well too.

Check the electrical supply to make sure that portable heaters, air conditioners and sterilizing equipment will be able to run as needed. If the electrical supply is questionable, having a generator on standby can save a clinic which would otherwise be completely spoiled.

Intake and recovery are normally the responsibility of a local organization, and generally people from that organization also volunteer on clinic days.

Signs which direct people to the correct place for check in, check out, or provide other information which aids in the flow of the clinic, can be very helpful.

Setting up a M*A*S*H Clinic Site

In addition to the overall assessment of the building, the way the clinic is set up will affect the entire flow of the day and is even a matter of safety.

It should be easy and safe getting animals from the prep table to the surgery tables (there should be two surgery tables per veterinarian with an isoflurane machine for each table), and from there to the recovery area and back to their cages.

Make sure that electric cords and water hoses are out of the way of foot traffic.

If fans are in use, be sure they are not blowing toward the surgery or prep table. If need be, use a sheet or drape to safeguard the surgery table from unwanted drafts.

Following prepping, use a square or two of gauze soaked in chlorhex solution to protect the prepped area from environmental contamination while the dog or cat is waiting for surgery.

If volunteers are being trained to assist in the prepping process, adding a drop or two of food color to the soapy scrub solution will make it easier to distinguish the soapy scrub from the plain Chlorhex solution.

Volunteers in prepping or recovery should be supervised by and remain in view of the trained staff at all times (the veterinarian and the technician or assistants).

Folding card tables are great for keeping disposable supplies on. Suture, gauze, surgeons gloves and other surgery supplies can be placed on top of a lightweight card table and can be placed in easy access to the surgery and prep areas.

Setting up a M*A*S*H Surgery Area

The way the clinic is set up will affect the entire flow of the day and is even a matter of safety. Read more here