On the Road to Healing: What to Expect After Pet Surgery

Recovering from pet surgery requires post-op pet careIt can be scary, loading your pet up in the car and heading home after a major surgery. You are expected to help him recover, but you may not feel all that prepared to do so. At Leon Valley Veterinary Hospital, we know that feeling confident helping your furry family member heal is important for you. We are here for you during the time before, during, and after a pet surgery.

How to Prepare to Bring Your Pet Home

During recovery, your pet should have a quiet, comfortable place to rest that is dry and clean. Be sure to prepare an area with food and water, and an easy to access place to relieve himself. A crate can make a great recovery den, if your pet is used to using one.

The area should be free of obstacles, such as stairs, that may pose a safety hazard to a pet who is under the influence of medications. Block off any potentially dangerous areas with a childproof gate or doors.

Be sure to take the time to educate all family members that your pet will need his rest and should not be disturbed. Recovery times vary with the surgery performed, but it is not unusual for a pet to need around two weeks of strict rest.

Have a plan to keep other family pets from bothering or rough-housing with your surgery patient.

Post Pet Surgery Care

Many times when a patient is discharged, he is still under the effects of medications and anesthetics, to a certain extent. There is likely some kind of surgical incision, as well, that needs to heal. Be it a spay or neuter, or something more intensive, your pet needs your help!

It is important to know what things you need to pay attention to, in order to get your best friend on the road to recovery. Before you leave our hospital, we will go over specific instructions for monitoring your pet after surgery. Be sure you understand:

  • How/if to monitor temperature, pulse, and respiratory rates
  • Proper care for any bandage or exposed wound
  • What medications to give and when
  • How, what, and when to feed your pet
  • How to monitor your pet for signs of pain
  • What exercise restrictions are in place
  • Whether your pet needs an apparatus, such as an Elizabethan (cone) collar

Also, be sure to have us show you the surgery area and what it should look like. Always give us a call if there are questions or concerns. Pay close attention to your pet’s appetite, elimination habits, activity level, and pain level, so that we can be alerted if there is a problem.

Knowing When to Call

The majority of the time, pets recovery from surgery with few or no issues. Sometimes, though, complications can arise. Be sure to let us know right away if:

  • Your pet develops a fever (>102.5 F)
  • You pet refuses to eat or drink
  • You are unable to administer your pet’s medications as directed
  • There is vomiting or diarrhea
  • Your pet seems to be in pain
  • Your pet’s incision is excessively red, swollen, has discharge, or missing sutures/staples
  • Your pet seems weak or very lethargic

It is vital that we know if your pet is having trouble postoperatively, so that we can help right away.

Taking care of a pet after surgery can be a little scary, but you know your pet best. Have no fear! We are here to be your partner in veterinary care, as we help your friend get back on his four feet.

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