Post-Operative Instructions: Soft Tissue Surgery
Following a successful surgery, owner compliance is the most important factor in recovery. Please be careful and patient with your pet during this time. Following these instructions closely will ensure a speedy recovery.
IMPORTANT: If your pet has any combination of the following: DIARRHEA, VOMITING, LETHARGY and/or LACK OF
APPETITE, then your pet will need to be seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible. During normal business hours this can be
us at VSS, otherwise seek your regular veterinarian or an emergency clinic.
Our medical team is available to answer questions and address concerns:
Monday – Thursday: 7am – 5pm
Friday: schedule varies
1. Pain Management: This surgery is a painful procedure and pain management is a necessity. The appropriate medications will be sent home after surgery. Be sure to administer these medications as directed and until ALL doses are finished. This will keep your pet comfortable and promote a speedy recovery. If you feel at any time the pain is not adequately controlled please contact the clinic. Some side effects of these medications may include: nausea/upset stomach, constipation or diarrhea. It is best to give these medications with food.
2. Antibiotics: Your pet will be sent home with a course of antibiotics to prevent infection. Follow the instructions on the label and finish all doses of medications. Give antibiotics with food. Some patients will be given a long-lasting, injectable antibiotic at the clinic and therefore no antibiotic will be sent home.
3. Stomach upset: Monitor for any signs of vomiting, diarrhea, lack of appetite or any blood in the stool. If your pet experiences any of these symptoms, then follow the instructions on the Recovery guide for the first 2 weeks following surgery. This guide was provided at discharge.
4. Constipation: Some patients may experience a bout of constipation. It is possible for a pet to not have a bowel movement for up to 7 days after surgery. You may add 1-2 tablespoons of canned pumpkin to their food to aid with the consistency and frequency of bowel movements. DO NOT use canned pumpkin pie filling- ONLY canned pumpkin. HEB typically carries Farmer’s Market Organic Pumpkin in cans on the baking aisle.
5. Exercise: Your pet should be house confined following surgery. For dogs, leashed potty breaks to the front/backyard on a 4ft-6ft leash are approved. DO NOT use retractable or long-line leashes. It is ideal for your pet to be on activity restrictions for a minimum of 10 days after surgery. NO off leash activity, running, living outdoors, roughhousing, playing, or jumping. These activities compromise your pet’s surgical site and can result in slowed recovery.
For cats a room with minimal furniture is ideal for confinement. Cats will need to be kept strictly indoors for a minimum of 30 days after surgery.
6. E-collar: Scratching, rubbing or licking at the incision site are NEVER OKAY. These actions prevent healing and can result in the opening and infection. If you are having issues with your pet scratching at the incision, then you may use socks over your pet’s feet or a loose t-shirt to help with this. DO NOT allow housemates to lick or paw at the incision site as this can result in costly postoperative complications. It is imperative during recovery to keep your pet’s E-collar on at ALL times, even when they are in the kennel. At your rechecks, a veterinary staff member will advise when it is appropriate to discontinue using the E-collar.
7. Feeding: Your pet may have an upset stomach the night of surgery as a side effect of the medications used. Offer ½ of the normal amount they are fed. If they do not want to eat, then do not force it. If they eat and vomit pull the food until the next morning. If they eat and are able to hold down the food for an hour, then you may offer more in small increments throughout the night. Unless advised by the veterinary staff to feed a specific diet, it is best to offer the food your pet normally eats as to reduce the likely hood of an upset stomach due to a food changes.
8. Incision Site Care: You should not need to clean the surgical site; it heals best if left alone. Some bleeding and seeping in the first few days is to be expected, gentle pressure may be applied to the surgical site with a clean towel or gauze. If this causes your pet stress DO NOT do it. If the surgical site requires cleaning, use a lightly damp clean towel with warm water to dab the area around the incision, DO NOT wipe. DO NOT apply bandages, coverings, Band-Aids or topical ointments to the surgical site this can trap bacteria and result in infection.
9. Rechecks: Your pet’s first re-check with Dr. Lewis will be 14-21 days following surgery. At this time sutures/staples may be removed and activity recommendations may be made. (Not all incisions are closed with sutures or staples.)
10. Histopathology /culture results are typically returned within 2-4 weeks. We will contact you with recommendations after Dr. Lewis has reviewed the results.
If your pet is experiencing a medical emergency and you are not able to reach us, please take your pet to the nearest emergency clinic.