Post-Operative Instructions dogs and cats

What should I do when my pet arrives home after todays operation?

On arriving home you should keep your pet warm and comfortable by providing a soft clean bed, ideally in a quiet draft free room at approximately 20-22C. If your pet becomes too cold they may take longer to recover from the anaesthetic. Unless otherwise instructed, your pet should be offered a drink of fresh water when you get them home. After a few hours a small meal may be offered. Please keep your pet indoors overnight, or longer if instructed. For cats allow the use of a litter tray and take dogs outside to the toilet on a lead. You should discourage any jumping or activity that will cause excessive stretching of the wound, especially during the first few days post-operatively.

My pet seems a little sleepy, is this normal?

Your pet has been given a general anaesthetic and pain killers. These drugs can take a number of hours to wear off and may cause some patients to appear sleepy tonight. Over the next 24 hours their behaviour should return to normal, however if you are at all concerned do not hesitate to contact the centre.

Why has my pet’s foreleg been clipped?

This is where the fluids and anaesthetic were administered. There may also be a small dressing on the leg:if so this can be removed tonight unless otherwise instructed.

My pet has developed a slight cough since the operation. Is this anything to worry about?

Your pet had a tube placed in their trachea(windpipe) during the anaesthetic – this can occasionally cause mild irritation and a slight cough as an after-effect. If so, it will settle down over the next few days, however should it persist then contact the centre.

What should I do if my pet is licking the wound or chewing the stitches?

If you have been given an Elizabethan-type collar to prevent your pet chewing then please ensure it is used, otherwise please contact the surgery and ask for one. Not surprisingly, many pets find these collars strange at first and will attempt to remove them. However, after a short period most animals will settle and tolerate wearing the collar. Once accustomed, it is better to keep the collar on permanently, rather than take it on and off. Remember- it only takes a few seconds of unobserved chewing for a pet to undo their stitches. If your pet does interfere with their wound please call the centre as soon as possible.

What should the wound look like, and when should I be concerned?

The wound should normally be clean with the edges together and the skin a normal or slightly reddish/pink colour. In pale skinned animals bruising may be seen around the wound. This may not appear until a few days after the operation, and in some cases can seem excessive in comparison to the size of the incision, however this is due to seepage of blood under the skin edges. In some cases a small amount of blood may seep intermittently from a fresh wound for up to 24 hours, especially if the animal is active.

Please contact the surgery if you see any of the following at the wound: Continuous seepage or a large quantity of blood. intermittent blood seepage continuing for more than 24 hours, any swellings, excessive redness of the skin or discharge.

When can my pet resume a normal active life?

This will depend on the nature of the operation. In the case of minor procedures involving a small incision, restricted exercise should be maintained until a few days after the skin stitches have been removed. However, if major surgery has been performed or a large incision is present a longer period of convalescence will be required, which may involve keeping your pet house- bound for a number of weeks.

What can I feed my pet tonight?

Anaesthesia can sometimes cause your pet to feel nauseous. Offer them a light meal tonight. If they don’t feel like eating don’t be concerned, you may offer them something again before bedtime. Always allow access to fresh water. They should be eating and drinking normally by the next day.

 If you have any concerns about your pets recovery please contact the clinic.