Mass Removal – Post Operative Instructions
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.
- Pain Management: This surgery is a painful procedure and pain management is a necessity. Continued pain control is a MUST during your pets’ recovery, 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.
- Antibiotics: Your pet will be sent home with a course of antibiotics to prevent post-operative infection. Follow the prescribed schedule on the label. Finish all doses of medications.
- Exercise: Crate confinement for the first 48 hours following surgery is highly recommended. Your cat will need to be confined to a large kennel containing a litter box and food/water bowls for the first 2 days following surgery. After 48 hours a small room with minimal to no furniture may be used for confinement. It is best to keep housemates separated from the pet that has undergone surgery. Be very mindful of slick surfaces such as wood or tile floors as they can cause your pet to fall/slip resulting in trauma to the surgical site. DO NOT allow your pet to use stairs, be outdoors, run, jump, play, roughhouse, or be loose in the house. These activities compromise the surgical site and can result in complications including extended recovery time, injury to surgical site and the need for additional surgery.
- Feeding: Your pet may have an upset stomach the night of surgery as a side effect of the medications used. Offer ¼ of the normal amount they are fed. If they do not want to eat do not force it. If they eat and vomit pull the food until tomorrow morning. If they eat and are able to hold down the food for an hour 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 change.
- Licking/Scratching/Rubbing: Licking, rubbing or scratching at the incision site are NEVER OKAY. These actions prevent healing and can result in the opening and infection of the incision site. DO NOT allow housemates to lick or paw at the surgical site as this can result in costly postoperative complications. It is imperative during recovery to keep your pets’ e-collar on at ALL times, even when they are in the kennel. The veterinary staff will advise at rechecks when it is okay to discontinue its use.
- Incision Site Care: You should not need to clean the incision 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 incision site with a clean towel or gauze. If you must clean the incision site use a small amount of warm water, dab DO NOT wipe. DO NOT apply any topical ointments, sprays, salves or bandages as this traps bacteria at the surgical site and can result in infection.
- Ice/Cold Compress: Ice the incision site for 10 minutes 3-4 times a day for the first 3 days after surgery. Cold compresses will aid with swelling and pain. A bag of frozen peas/corn or orthopedic gel packs are appropriate for this. Be sure to put a barrier such as a clean towel or cloth between the cold source and the incision site/skin. If this action causes your pet stress or to struggle, don’t do it.
- Warm Compress: Warm compresses may be applied to the incision site days 4-6 after the surgery for 10 minutes 3-4 times a day. Warm compresses at this time will improve circulation and promote healing. Orthopedic gel packs or a sock/pantyhose with rice placed in the microwave for 1-2 minutes are appropriate for this. Test the compress against your skin before applying it to your pets’ incision to prevent burns. If the compress is too hot for you to hold on your skin for a minute allow it to cool a bit before applying it to your pets’ incision. If this action causes your pet stress or to struggle, don’t do it.
- Bruising/Swelling: Bruising around the incision site is normal and tends to increase for up to 2 days after surgery then slowly resolve. Swelling is not common but may develop 2 days post-op. If either of these occur past 2 days or appear to be rapidly extending over the surgical site please contact the clinic.
- Scratching: Scratching at the incision site causes trauma and results in delayed healing. You may use socks over your pets’ feet or a loose t-shirt to help with this. If the incision site is on your pets’ neck a nonrestrictive, loosely tied bandana can serve as a cushion.
- Rechecks: Your pets’ first re-check with Dr. Lewis will be 10-14 days following surgery. At this time sutures/staples may be removed and further care instructions will be given. Through physical examination Dr. Lewis will be able to advise activity recommendations. If there is a discrepancy between the post op sheet and instructions you are given by the veterinary staff, please follow the instructions from the veterinary staff as they will have the most current recommendations for your pet.
- After hours emergency line: During your pet’s discharge you were provided with our after-hours phone number should any questions/complications arise during recovery that need to be addressed immediately. If you call, you will be asked to leave a detailed message and member of our medical team will return your call. This line also accepts text messages. You can also reach the clinic after hours by phone or email.
When should I call after hours?
- Appetite has not returned within 24-36 hours after surgery.
- Report ALL vomiting. This could be a sign of medication interaction, sensitivity.
- Diarrhea – a loose and/or bloody stool can also indicate a medication interaction, sensitivity.
- If your pet gets the e-collar off and has licked and/or caused damage to the incision site.
- Incision site is open and/or showing signs of infection: redness, discharge or swelling.