Post-operative Instructions

What to expect when you get your pet home:
Your pet has had major surgery. The surgery requires general anesthesia. The patient is completely asleep and unable to feel or move. In female dogs and cats, the uterus and ovaries are removed through a small incision in the abdominal wall. Females are unable to get pregnant. In both male dogs and cats, the scrotum is not removed, only the testicles. Removal of the testicles prevents production of sperm and the male dog or cat will no longer be able to father puppies or kittens. Your pet has received pain medication.

Surgical Site
Female dogs and cats have a mid-­‐line incision in their abdomen. Male dogs have an incision just above the scrotum and male cats have two incisions, one in each side of the scrotum. Check the incision site daily. What you see today is what we consider normal. There should be no drainage. Redness and swelling should be minimal. Males may appear as if they still have testicles -­‐-­‐ this is normal, the swelling should subside gradually through the recovery period. DO NOT ALLOW YOUR PET TO LICK OR CHEW AT THE INCISION. To avoid this, we strongly recommend you purchase bitter apple or orange spray for cats and e-­‐collars for dogs. If your pet licks, he/she can open the incision or cause infection, incurring additional veterinary costs. For your convenience, the spray and collars can be purchased (and fitted) here for $5 or $10 respectively, but are also available at most pet stores. The collar should remain on your pet until new (pink) tissue appears at the incision site (7-­‐10 days).

In Heat
If your female dog or cat was in heat at the time of surgery, you must keep them away from un-­‐neutered males for at least two weeks. While they are unable to become pregnant, they will still attract intact males, for a short period of time.

Sutures
All sutures are absorbable on the inside and for most surgeries the very outer layer of skin is held together with surgical glue. Do not clean or apply topical ointment to the incision site. If your pet does have external skin sutures, they are fully dissolvable and they may be taken out after 14 days, or they will fall out on their own after about 21 days. Male cats do not normally have any sutures.

Vaccines
If your pet has received their first set of vaccines at the time of surgery they will require boosters from your primary veterinarian.

Activity
Some animals are active after surgery, while others are quiet. It is very important that you limit your pet’s activity for the next 7-­‐10 days. No running, jumping, playing, swimming, or other strenuous activity during the 7-­‐10 day recovery period. Pets should be kept indoors where they can stay clean, dry, and warm. Do not bathe your pet during the recovery period. Dogs must be walked on a leash and cats must be kept inside. Keep your pet quiet. Dogs and female cats have internal sutures and external skin glue that provide strength to the tissue as it heals. Any strenuous activity could disrupt this healing process. The healing process takes at least 7 days.

Feeding
Your pet’s appetite should return gradually within 24 hours of surgery. Lethargy lasting for more than 24 hours after surgery, diarrhea, or vomiting are not normal and you should contact us immediately. Do not change your pet’s diet at this time and do not give junk food, table scraps, milk or any other people food for a period of one week. This could mask post-­‐surgical complications.

Potential Complications
Spaying and neutering are very safe surgeries; however, complications can occur. Minimal redness and swelling should resolve within several days. If it persists longer, please contact us. Please contact us immediately if you notice any of the following:

  • pale gums
  • depression
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • discharge or bleeding from the incision
  • difficulty urinating
  • labored breathing

If you have any questions or concerns directly related to the surgery during the recovery period, please call the clinic at 519-­‐966-­‐1118. If there is an emergency after hours, please refer to your discharge paperwork for emergency contact instructions.