Spay/Neuter – 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.

  1. Pain Management: Today your pet has received medication for pain, infection and inflammation. They will need continued pain control for the coming days. Begin administering the prescribed pain medication tonight and continue as directed on the label. This will ensure your pet is comfortable and support 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 received an antibiotic injection today. Additional antibiotics may be needed on a case-to case basis. If additional antibiotics were necessary, follow the prescription label and finish all doses to prevent post-operative infection.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 surgical site. DO NOT allow housemates to lick or paw at the surgical site as this can result in costly postoperative complications. If your pet is scratching a loose t-shirt may be put on to prevent trauma to the incision. It is imperative during recovery to keep your pets’ E-collar on at ALL times, even when they are in a kennel. Typically the incision site is completely healed within 10 days. The E-collar may be removed once the incision site is completely healed –i.e. there is no scabbing/scab present and the 2 edges of the skin have healed together completely. If you have questions about if it is okay to remove the E-collar contact the clinic.
  5. Incision Site Care: You should not need to clean the incision site; it heals best if left alone. Some seeping may occur the first night; gentle pressure may be applied to the incision site with a clean towel or gauze. If you must clean the incision site during the recovery period use a small amount of warm water and dab, DO NOT wipe the incision. DO NOT apply any topical ointments, sprays, salves or bandages as this traps bacteria at the surgical site and can result in infection. Keep the area dry, no bathing or swimming for 14 days. If the incision continues to ooze, swell, excessive bruising appears or seems to be open contact the clinic for further instruction.
  6. Exercise: Activity should be restricted for the next 10 days until the incision site has fully healed. Leashed potty walks to the front/backyard and house confinement are approved activities. Your pet MUST be kept indoors. NO swimming, bathing, dog parks, running, jumping, climbing, off leash activity, or roughhousing. DO NOT use a retractable leash for potty breaks.
  7. Rechecks: A routine spay/neuter surgery does not require a re-check. However, if your pet has external sutures or staples you will need to return in 7-10 days for removal. If your pet had an emergency spay due to a pyometra or dystocia you will return for a recheck in 7-10 days. If you experience a complication or have concerns during the recovery period please contact the clinic toschedule a recheck or receive further instruction for your pet.
  8. After hours 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.