Surgery Care

PHASES OF SURGERY

The Night Before

It is important that you do not feed your pet after 6PM the night before surgery. You may give them water up until 6 am.

Discharge

Once surgical procedures are completed and after full recovery from anesthesia, animals are discharged from the clinic the same day as surgery, usually between 4 and 5pm. You may call to check on your pet's status after 3pm.

The surgical tech will call you to schedule your pet's pickup. Discharge normally takes 20 to 30 minutes. Please note that in the rare event of unforeseen circumstances or emergencies at the clinic there may be a longer wait at discharge. 

Post-Surgery 

We will review the After Surgery Instructions with you. You will be told what to expect over the next few days as your pet recovers from surgery and you will be given any medications, such as antibiotics or tranquilizers.
 

We will schedule an appointment for your pet the next day to check their incision and temperature.

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Home Recovery Guidelines

  1. We strongly recommend you keep your pet confined in a crate or small room the night after surgery.

  2. Your pet may be groggy when you get home, experiencing a "hang-over" from the anesthesia. Your pet will typically require 18-24 hours to recover from the general anesthesia. Most animals will be back to normal when the anesthesia leaves their system entirely.

  3. Your pet may sleep much more than normal for 18-24 hours following surgery.

  4. You pet may be a little agitated due to the after-effects of anesthesia. Avoid handling your pet too much as he/she may try to bite or scratch you.

  5. Isolate your pet from children and other pets. He may be more prone to snapping or nipping at other pets and even children due to the after-effects of anesthesia.

  6. Your pet may have poor balance. This will make climbing stairs or getting in and out of the car more difficult than usual, so be ready to assist. Help your dog in and out of the car as sudden movements can damage the stitches.

  7. Make sure your cat has a comfortable spot to sleep in a confined, secure, quiet place. Once  settled, they will likely sleep it off and will be fine upon awakening. Use shredded paper for litter or "Yesterday's News" kitty litter for 2 weeks after surgery.

 
 
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Incision Site

What you see on the day of surgery is what we consider normal. There should be no drainage. A very small amount of redness/swelling at incision may occur. 

 

Check incision site daily until healed. Check for redness, swelling, discharge, or bleeding. If noted, call immediately. Keep the incision clean and dry for two weeks (no bathing or swimming).

Keep Elizabethan collar on when your pet is not under direct supervision to prevent licking of the incision. Licking or biting the incision could cause the wound to re-open and become infected.


If you pet needs additional pain relief or tranquilizers once you are home, do not hesitate to call for refills. 

Sutures

Our clinic uses absorbable sutures, so typically removal is not required. If you are told that your pet has skin sutures or skin staples, they will need to return in 14 days to have them removed. 

 

Feeding

Anesthesia tends to make animals experience nausea, so your pet may not want to eat when he/she gets home after surgery. 

You need to re-introduce food slowly. Offer a small amount of food and water as soon as animal is fully awake. If vomiting occurs, wait until the next day to give more food. Provide your normal amount of food and water to your pet on the day after surgery.

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.

Your pet’s appetite should return gradually within 24 hours of surgery.

In Heat

If your female dog was in heat, we may postpone the surgery for three months after the heat cycle. 

If your female cat is in heat, we can still perform the surgery.

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Activity

The healing process takes 14 days. 

Any strenuous activity could disrupt the healing process. 

Some animals are active after surgery, while others are quiet. It is very important that you limit your pet's activity during the healing process. 

Pets must be kept indoors where they can stay clean, dry, and warm.

No running, jumping, playing, swimming, or other strenuous activity during the 7-10 day recovery period. 

Do not bathe your pet or have it groomed during the recovery period. 

When outdoors, dogs should be on a leash.

 

Potential Complications

Spaying and neutering are safe surgeries, however, complications can occur. If you feel your pet is having a complication or are unsure, you should contact us at 570-595-9081.

 

Potential complications include:

• Swelling of incision site, that is enlarging-separation or opening of the site
• Depression
• Vomiting
• Diarrhea
• Discharge or bleeding from the incision
• Difficulty urinating
• Labored breathing
• Decreased appetite
• Lethargy lasting more than 24 hours

 

It is better to check and find nothing wrong than to ignore a potential problem. Don't hesitate to call if you have any questions.