Recovering from surgery isn’t fun for humans or for pets. However, pets don’t understand what just happened or why they’re uncomfortable. It’s up to you and your family to make sure your pets get the care they need to be warm, comfortable and make a full recovery.
Note that during the surgery, we usually administer general anaesthetic to keep your pet comfortable. This anaesthetic can be administered intravenously through the foreleg (you may notice some clipped fur) or by gas through a tube inserted in the windpipe. If your pet had the latter kind of sedation, he or she may develop a slight cough after the surgery. Usually this clears up in 24 hours, but if it doesn’t, contact us right away.
Taking Care of Your Pet
Keep the following tips in mind to provide the best care for your pet after surgery:
- Your pet may be sleepy for the next day, as the anaesthetic takes time to wear off. This sleepiness is normal, but if you are concerned, please contact our staff.
- Your pet may or may not feel like eating after the surgery, and eating may cause vomiting. Try offering a small amount of food if your pet seems hungry and make sure there is plenty of water. Usually your pet can return to a normal feeding schedule after a day, unless the veterinarian instructs otherwise.
- Keep your pet’s wound clean and dry. Check the bandages, casts and sutures daily, and keep your pet out of water (no baths or swimming). Make sure to also check your pet’s wound for excessive swelling, discharge, gaping or self-inflicted damage.
- Your vet may insert a drain on the surgery site. Don’t worry if you see ooze over the next few days, as this is normal and beneficial. If the drain or wound looks dirty, use salt water to cleanse it unless otherwise instructed.
- Watch your pet closely to see if he or she licks or chews the stitches. If this happens, we recommend using an Elizabethan collar (a cone or bucket-like device worn around the neck). Your pet will soon learn to eat, sleep and be his or her normal self, even with the collar. We can also provide bitter-tasting topical preparations to spray on the wound.
- Remember you are responsible for your pet’s aftercare. Re-suturing and additional veterinary care will come at your cost. Good aftercare and prevention are always best.
- Sometimes, pets don’t react well after surgery, even if you’re doing everything you can to take care of them. Call our team if you notice any of the following problems:
- Continuous licking
- Discharge or bleeding from the wound
- Excessive redness at the surgery site
- Lethargy (after 24 hours)
- Lumpiness or swelling around the surgery site
- Odour from the bandage site
- Vomiting (after 24 hours)
You want your pet to make a full recovery, and so do we! Let us do what we can to help your pet feel better after surgery. Don’t hesitate to contact our team if you have any questions. We’re here to help.