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Spay and Neuter Post-Op Care

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Spaying and neutering are surgical procedures performed under general anesthesia. Most dogs and cats recover quickly. However, as with any surgical procedure there is a recovery period during which your “patient” will require some special attention. Here are the basics:

Incision care

Female dogs will have a single surgical incision on their abdomen. Male dogs will have an incision on the abdomen between the scrotum and the penis; male cats will have two incisions, one on each side of the scrotum. These incisions should be checked twice daily. If you see any oozing or drainage or more than minimal redness or swelling, call your veterinarian.


Do not allow your pet to lick or chew at the incision site. Your veterinarian will have suggestions as to how to deal with that problem if it should occur. Some pets will need to wear a collar for a short period to prevent this.

What about post-surgical pain?

Most pets do not suffer from significant post-operative pain. Your veterinarian will administer pain medication prior to discharge and additional pain medication may not be needed. If you believe that your pet is in pain, call your veterinarian. Do not administer any pain medications without first checking with your pet’s vet.

Are there surgical sutures that will have to be removed?

This will depend on the preference of the surgeon. Some surgeons use self-dissolving sutures that require no removal. Others, however, prefer to use external sutures or staples that will have to be removed in a follow-up visit.

Are there any restrictions on my pet’s activities after the procedure?

Some animals resume a normal level of activity soon after their surgery. Others require a longer period to get up and running again. In general, you should limit your pet’s activity for seven to ten days after the surgery. This means no strenuous activities such as running, jumping, playing, or swimming.


Keep your pet indoors during this period. (Dogs may be taken for short walks: on-leash only!) Do your best to keep your pet quiet during this timeframe.

Are there special feeding requirements?

No special changes to your pet’s diet are necessary during the recovery period. However, it is normal for pets to have a diminished appetite for the first 24 hours after surgery. If diminished appetite persists beyond this period, contact your veterinarian.

Are complications possible? What should I be on the lookout for?

Although most pets recover uneventfully from spay/neuter surgery, complications are possible. Contact your veterinarian immediately if you notice any of the following:

  • pale gums
  • difficulty urinating
  • bleeding or oozing at the incision site




 

Credit: Reviewed by Amy Attas, VMD
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