Post-operative advice will vary depending on what procedure your pet has undertaken. However, the following covers basic advice for most procedures.
When you get your pet home from the clinic
- Your pet may still be a little drowsy and even sleepy. This is quite normal.
- Give them access to a quiet, warm bed away from loud noises and other distractions.
- If your pet hides, let them. They may feel more comfortable where they feel secure, but make sure you are able to monitor their wound and eating habits.
- Your pet will have had pain relief at the clinic but may be uncomfortable, particularly around any surgical sites, so prevent young family members from touching or fussing them.
- The effects of an anaesthetic can take time to fully disappear, therefore all cats should be confined indoors with easy access to a litter tray – ideally in the same room as their bed.
- Some pets can develop a cough after surgery. This can be due to the endo-tracheal tube inserted into their airway and is a mild irritation which should resolve in a few days.
- Water should be available and easy to access.
- Ensure bedding is comfortable – this is particularly important for rabbits. Straw and hay can have sharp ends which could irritate any wounds, so replace with a softer bedding until wounds have healed.
- Offer a small meal to cats and dogs, ideally something bland like chicken or a pre-prepared diet we can provide at the clinic.
- Some pets will not eat straight away, give them time and once they feel safe they should welcome food.
- Rabbits should eat straight away as they need to keep their gut working. If your rabbit refuses to eat please call us immediately for advice. We can provide a liquid recovery diet which can be syringe fed to them.
- Dogs can go on very short walks for the toilet on the lead only, for the first few days. The advice given by the clinic when you collect your pet will specify if this can be gradually increased or whether strict rest is advised.
- Take a look at any wounds so that you will know what it should look like.
- Any medication given by the clinic should be administered as directed.
- Post-op t-shirts or collars should be kept on to prevent any interference of the wound.
The next few days
- All post-op check appointments will be booked before you leave the clinic. We usually see your pet twice after surgery, to check that the wound is healing and that their appetite and toilet habits are returning to normal.
- Check the wound daily for any redness, swelling, discharge or bleeding. If any of those do happen, please contact us.
- You should not need to do anything with the wound, no cleaning or bathing.
- Please complete the course of any medication given.
- Your pet must not be allowed to lick at the wound. This can cause infections or delay the wound healing process.
- Exercise should be limited until your pet is signed off by the vet or nurse at their post-op checks.
- We would usually say that normal exercise can resume around 10–14 days post-op. This is because even though the skin may look like it’s healed well, the muscle layer underneath takes longer to heal, so we need pets to avoid overdoing things until that time.
- Some pets will need strict rest and this will be discussed when you collect them from the clinic. It is advisable to use a pet crate to limit exercise in some cases.
- All surgical sites must be kept clean and dry, so no swimming or bathing until sutures are removed or your pet has had their final post-op check.
- If your pet was sent home with a dressing on, please make sure the dressing stays dry at all times. For cats we would advise keeping indoors until the dressing has been removed. For dogs, if they need to go out in wet conditions, you can place a plastic bag over the dressing to protect it but this bag must be removed immediately when they are back home to prevent condensation making the dressing wet.
- If your pet is bothered by the dressing – shaking the leg it is on, licking at it or they seem uncomfortable, please contact us straight away.
- If your pet had an anaesthetic for a dental procedure, we can arrange nurse clinics to monitor tooth brushing at home once the mouth has healed.
- If your pet was neutered, we advise rethinking their diet as their calorie requirement will now differ. Speak to one of our nurses for more information.