Fracture Repair – Post Operative Instructions plus Splint Care
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.
- 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, please notify the clinic immediately as these symptoms can be a sign of a sensitivity to medications.
- Confinement and Activity Restriction: STRICT CRATE CONFINEMENT IS CRITICAL during this recovery. Short, leashed potty breaks to the front or back yard are the only “activity” your dog should be participating in. It is best to use a 2 ft.-4ft. leash. DO NOT use a retractable or long line leash. A towel/sling positioned under the belly in front of the back legs can be used for added support to help your pet when standing and walking. Be very mindful of slick surfaces such as wood or tile floors as they can cause your pet to fall/slip resulting in injury. It is okay to carry your pet to a potty spot, be careful not to put their full weight on the recovering leg when setting them down. Your recovering pet will need to be taken out alone for potty breaks, keep housemates separated during recovery. DO NOT allow your pet to use stairs, be off leash, run, jump, play, roughhouse, or be loose in the house. These activities compromise the surgical site and can result in complications including delayed healing, extended recovery time, additional costs and fracturing of the surgical site. The veterinary staff will let you know when your pet is cleared for house confinement.
- Feeding: Your pet may have an upset stomach the night of surgery as a side effect of the sedation. Offer ¼ to ½ 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 evening. Unless advised by the veterinary staff to feed a specific diet, use their normal food to reduce the likelihood of an upset stomach.
- E-collar: It is imperative to keep your pets’ e-collar on at ALL times, even when they are in the kennel. Licking, chewing, scratching or rubbing the incision prevents/slows the healing process and results in opening and infection of the incision site. DO NOT allow housemates to lick or paw at the surgical site either. DO NOT cut the E-collar. The size sent home is appropriate for your pet. The edge of the e-collar should extend 1.5 to 2 inches past your pet’s nose in order to prevent licking or digging at the incision site. If you cut the e-collar shorter you put your pet at risk for infection, opening of the incision site and additional recovery costs as well as prolonged recovery time. The veterinary staff will let you know when it is okay to take the e-collar off.
- Splint Care: If your pets’ splint/bandage is not maintained properly it can result in serious post- operative complications including the need for additional surgery, prolonged recovery and/or the loss of a limb. Please be diligent about keeping your pets’ splint/bandage CLEAN & DRY. Keep the e-collar on at ALL times to prevent your pet from damaging the splint. For a detailed account of splint/bandage care please refer to page 3 of this recovery packet.
- Medical progress appointments: Your pets’ first re-check will be 7-14 days following surgery. Through physical examination and X-rays Dr. Lewis will be able to evaluate and make activity recommendations according to the specific needs of 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 a 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. The after hours line is not checked during regular business hours.
When should I call after hours?
- Appetite has not returned within 24-36 hours after surgery.
- Report ALL vomiting or diarrhea. This could be a sign of 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.
- If the splint gets wet, begins to smell, is loose or if you are concerned it has slipped.
If your pet is experiencing a medical emergency and you are not able to reach us after hours please take your pet to the nearest emergency clinic.
General Splint and Bandage Care Instructions
Your pet has a splint or bandage needs to be treated with care and caution in the coming weeks. A splint/bandage is placed to protect and immobilize a limb for healing and/or stabilization. While your pet is bandaged/splinted it is imperative these instructions be followed closely, lack of care and attention to this matter can result in a variety of complications including severe infection and in some cases the loss of a limb
- Keep the Splint/Bandage Clean and Dry: Check the bandage throughout the day to make sure it is not wet or dirty. DO NOT LET THE SPLINT/BANDAGE GET WET!!! If the bandage is wet or has a foul smell you need to contact the clinic immediately to schedule a change, foul odor and discharge are signs of infection. When you bring your pet outside to potty put a plastic bag over the bottom of the splint to protect it from dew, rain, mud, sticker burrs or wet patches on the ground. Remove the plastic bag from the splint when you return indoors, DO NOT leave it on for a prolonged amount of time the splint/bandage does need to breathe.
- Toes: If the bottom of the bandage/splint is open and your pets toes are exposed check them for the following: discharge, foul odor, they should be neither cold nor hot, swelling, redness if any of the above is present contact the clinic as the bandage may have become too tight or an infection may be spreading.
- Slipping: The bandage/splint should remain in the original spot it was placed. Most commonly, slipping of the bandage is caused by too much activity or chewing. Your pet should currently be confined to a kennel or a small room in the home with minimal furniture depending on the veterinarians’ recommendations. If the bandage has slipped it may also be putting too much pressure in one spot resulting in decreased circulation to that area. Please contact the clinic so arrangements may be made to fix this.
- Chafing/Irritation: Monitor the top of the bandaged area for chafing, swelling and irritation. Contact the clinic for further instruction if needed.
- Urine/Fecal Matter: If you believe the bandage has become soiled with urine or fecal matter contact the clinic to schedule a bandage change.
- Chewing/Licking: IS NEVER OKAY! Chewing and licking at the bandage compromises the materials and your pets’ limb. Keep an E-collar on at all times to prevent this from happening. If your pet chews at the bandage material and opens spots in the bandage/splint it can cause tight and loose areas resulting in the instability of the limb compromising the healing process and can lead to uneven pressure, which may result in decreased circulation. If the bandage has been chewed contact the clinic to have it changed. DO NOT try to re-bandage or fix it yourself as this can worsen the effects of the damage. Duct tape is not the answer.
- Odor/Discharge: If there is a foul odor or any discharge coming from the bandaged/splinted area contact the clinic for a re-check.
- Bandage Removal: DO NOT take the splint/bandage off yourself unless specifically instructed to do so by our veterinary staff. If your pet removes the bandage contact the clinic immediately for a re-check.