|Operation Spay Bay||
Your pet has had major surgery and will need to be well cared-for afterwards to help prevent complications. Following the instructions below will help ensure your pet has a successful recovery.
1. Limit Activity
Some animals are active after surgery, while others remain quiet for a while. Either way, it is very important that you limit your pet's movements during the 7–10 day recovery period. Strenuous activity, such as running, jumping, or playing puts stress on the incision and may cause it to open or development painful irritation.
2. Keep them on their Regular Diet
Your pet may have a half of their normal meal at 8pm or later after you pick them up from surgery, and their appetite should return gradually within 24 hours. Do not change your pet's diet at this time, and do not give them junk food, table scraps, milk, or any other "people food" for seven days. Changes in their diet could hide post-surgical complications. Although patients' reactions to surgery can vary, lethargy (lasting for more than 24 hours after surgery), diarrhea, or vomiting are NOT normal, and you should contact us immediately if these occur. If we are not open, contact Animal Care Center at 850-235-2877.
3. Keep Their Incision Dry
Dogs and female cats have internal sutures that provide strength to the tissue as they heal; these will dissolve after approximately four months. You do not have to come in to have them removed. Surgical glue has also been applied to close the external incision. Male cats do not have any sutures. Their incisions are left slightly open so they may drain, so a small amount of blood tinged drainage is normal. If you are told that your pet has skin sutures or skin staples, they will need to return in 7–10 days to have those removed.
Do not bathe your pet during the recovery period, or apply topical ointment to the incision site—the surgical glue on the incision will dissolve too quickly if it becomes wet. Pets must be kept indoors where they can stay clean, dry, and warm, although dogs can be walked on a leash to go to the toilet.
4. Check Their Incision Twice Daily
Female dogs and cats have a mid-line incision in their abdomen. Male dogs have an incision just above the scrotum, and male cats have two incisions, one on each side of the scrotum. Check these incision sites at least twice daily. What you see when we discharge your pet is what we consider normal. There should be no drainage, and redness and swelling should be minimal. Male cats may appear as if they still have testicles; this is normal, and the swelling should subside gradually through the recovery period.
Do not allow your pet to lick or chew at the incision. We recommend that all pets go home with an e-collar, which prevents them from reaching the incision. They are available here for $5. You can also purchase Bitter Apple or Bitter Orange spray from the pet store to deter licking and chewing (place your finger over the incision and spray around the area – do not spray directly onto the incision—it will sting!). If your pet is allowed to lick, chew or scratch their incision, it may open up and cause potentially serious complications. Keeping them from doing this is perhaps the most important thing you will do to keep them safe.
5. Monitor Their Pain Levels
Our veterinarians employ a multi-modal pain management protocol—this means that different pain medications are administered before, during, and after surgery. If your pet appears to be in pain after getting home, please call our clinic at (850) 215-1022, so that our staff can assess whether or not your pet needs to be examined.
6. Keep In-Heat Females Away From Males
If your female dog or cat was in heat at the time of surgery, you must keep her away from un-neutered males for at least two weeks. While she is now unable to become pregnant, she will still attract intact males for a short period of time. If a male dog attempts to breed a female at this point, it can cause her serious, possibly life-threatening, damage.
7. Look Out for Complications
Spaying and neutering are both very safe surgeries; however, as with all surgery, complications can occur. Minimal redness and swelling should resolve within several days, but if they persist longer, please contact us. You should also contact us immediately if you notice any of the following:
8. Call if You Have Concerns
If you have any questions or concerns directly related to the surgery during the recovery period, please call us at (850) 215-1022. If you have questions about your pet outside of our office hours, call our nurse hotline at (850) 332-4OSB (4672). If it is an emergency, contact your regular veterinarian or the Animal Care Center (850-235-2877) or the Niceville Emergency Veterinary Clinic (850-729-3335).