Caring for Your Cat or Dog After Surgery
After surgery care is extremely important. It can impact the speed and over all ability for your pet to recover properly. Even spay and neuters, though common procedures are still major surgeries.
If you ever have any question or concerns about your cats or dogs healing. Do not hesitate to call your vet.
- Give your pet a clean and dry place to recover, this may mean changing their bedding regularly if they are having difficulties getting up to go to the bathroom or if they have any leakage from the surgical site.
- Anesthesia: Your vet will do the preliminary watch to make sure that they are recovering properly, but it is good to know of any abnormal signs. These can include:
-Loss of appetite
-Not drinking water
-Increased or decreased body temperature, you will be able to tell by touch
-Pale or gray gums
-Difficulty or labored breathing
- At Home: Once you get home offer your pet about half of what their normal food and water serving should be. Many pets won’t feel like eating, but it is good to offer it to them. Give them a clean and dry place to sleep where they can be left alone. They will be sore and tired, and likely just want to sleep.
- Medication: Only give your pets medication as prescribed by your vet. Do not give them any human medication, it can be fatal. If you feel like your pet is in pain and it is not being properly managed, please call your vet.
- Stitches: Often times stitches are on the inside and not visible from the outside. These stitches will disappear. If there are stitches on the outside that are visible, do not pull them or try to remove them. If they need to be removed your vet will do it and will have you bring your pet in for a post op appointment. Sometimes if the incision is small there might not be any stitches at all and it will be left open to drain, or will be held together by a medical grade glue.
- Surgery Site: The only thing you need to do with the surgical site is to monitor it. Check it daily to make sure it is healing nicely. Thing to watch for:
-Very red skin
-Green, yellow or reddish discharge or has a bad odor
-Something sticking out of it
-Warm to the touch (never touch without washing your hands first)
-Bruising or a bump that is getting bigger
If there is discharge, but not in a “bad” color, you may gently clean it with a warm clean wet cloth. But be careful not to open up the wound.
- Licking: Pets often like to lick the incision to help it heal. But it can cause an infection. If licking is a concern, your vet may give you an e-collar, or collar alternative, to keep them from being able to access the incision area. If your pet has received one of these collars, they will likely need to keep it on for 7 to 10 days.
- Playing: When your pet starts feeling better they will likely want to start playing. For the first 7-10 days, it is important that you keep their activity restricted. Though they feel better, they are not really healed.
- Keep away: For the first month after getting spayed or neutered, make sure to keep your pet away from the opposite sex for 30 days. Neutered males can get an unspayed female pregnant for up to 30 days post surgery. Your pets may also smell different for the first few days after coming home, this can cause aggression in other family pets. It is best to keep them apart for a few days following surgery to keep them from fighting.
- Going Pee: Make sure your pet is urinating on a regular basis. If they are not urinating or straining to urinate within the first 72 hours, it could indicate a post op complication and you should alert your vet immediately. Also, monitor their urine for blood following surgery, a little bit of blood may be normal but if it seems like a lot of blood, call your vet.
- Don’t Give Your Pet a Bath: Don’t give your pet a bath for the first 10 days. It is not good for the incision area to be exposed to excess water.
- Microchips: Though not a surgical procedure, the area will be sore. Do not brush your pet over the insertion point for about 10 days.
- Litter Box: If you have a litter box, switch the cat litter to shredded paper. The dust from the litter can cause an infection in the surgery site. The shredded paper should also be changed daily. You do not want the incision site exposed to fecal matter or urine. Do this for 7-10 days/