Be prepared for when it's all over. Your pet will be drowsy and looking sorry for itself. It may have a large surgical wound, bandages and an Elizabethan collar fitted. Although you may be very anxious to see your pet as soon as possible and get them home, it is advisable to speak to the veterinary nurse or veterinary surgeon prior to actually seeing your pet. This will enable complete and thorough postoperative instructions to be given to you, a check up appointment can be scheduled and the account settled. It is also an ideal time for you to ask any questions that you have thought of during the day.
Instructions for postoperative care will vary from surgery to surgery and will depend on the type of surgical procedure your pet has undergone. However, some basic guidelines are set out in the box on the facing page.
Once you are happy you have inwardly digested the instructions you may now have your pet back and can give him/her your full attention. It will be down to you perform the postoperative care yourself, not forgetting tender loving care in the comfort of your own home.
Following this protocol, your pet should make an uneventful recovery and return to the practice for a check up and suture removal.
- Your pet is likely to be drowsy for 24 to 36 hours. Keep it in a comfortable bed/basket away from draughts and noise.
- Vomiting may occur in the immediate postoperative period. Light palatable meals, given little and often, can help reduce the likelihood of this. If vomiting occurs, consult your vet.
- Exercise should be restricted until any sutures are removed. Cats must be kept indoors for at least 24 hours postoperatively and dogs must be exercised on a lead only.
- Check the wound daily. There is no need for you to bathe the wound, but it is very important that you prevent your pet licking it. Licking of a surgical wound can cause inflammation and introduce infection which may necessitate further medication. The pet may try to remove sutures while licking which could mean another general anaesthetic to replace them. Elizabethan collars, Bite-Not-Collars or bandages are ways of preventing self-mutilation (inquire at the surgery for any of these).
- Bandages should be kept clean and dry. They must be checked daily for signs of swelling above or below the bandage, or seepages/ discharges and so on. If at all concerned, contact your vet.
- Ensure medication is given at the stated dosage and that the course is completed.
- If you become at all concerned about your pet's health during the postoperative period do not hesitate to contact your vet.