Your pet’s surgery

Just like for us humans, recovery post surgery can be an uncomfortable experience for our pets. As the owner it is up to us to make sure that our pets recovery is as comfortable as possible by making sure that they are warm and comfy, and safe by observing some simple things. As with any surgery, your pet has been given a general anaesthetic as well as generally some form of sedation. It is also common to provide pain relief to help with soreness after surgery, particularly for de-sexing operations.
The anaesthetic was administered through an IV injection in the front leg (you may notice a clipped area there) and/or by gas through a tube in the trachea or windpipe. This tube can cause some irritation, which can result in a mild cough following surgery. This usually clears up within 24 hours, if it continues we ask you to please contact the hospital.

My pet seems very sleepy, is this normal?

The general anaesthetic and sedation can take a number of hours to wear off and in some cases can cause patients to appear drowsy for a day or so. If their behaviour does not return to normal within a couple of days, you should call the hospital for advice.

Can I feed my pet tonight?

We recommend that you don’t force your pet to eat a normal meal on the first night after surgery. Your pet can feel ‘off colour’ and sometimes if you encourage them to eat this can result in them vomiting. However, if you notice your Pet is up and about looking for food, a small amount of food can be offered unless your Vet has specifically said not to feed your animal. Always ensure there is ample water to drink and meals can be returned to normal generally the morning after surgery again unless specified otherwise by your Vet.

How do I care for my pets wound?

During the post op period which (generally 10-14 days) your pets wound will need to be kept clean and dry. This means that you are not able to bath your pet nor let them swim for the recovery period. You need to regularly check wounds, sutures or “stiches” and dressings. If your Vet has inserted a drain tube near the surgery site, you will notice that it will ooze over the next few days. This is quite normal, and what the tube is designed to do. The drain tube has been put into place to encourage unwanted fluids to drain away from the surgery site, allowing for better healing opportunities. Our staff will give you instructions on how to care for the actual drain tube and site when you are discharged from hospital with your pet.

What should I do if my pet licks or chews the stitches?

If your pet has stitches they may chew or lick them causing harm which will most likely cause an unwanted infection. If your pet shows an interest in their wound we recommend using a Buster collar. They have the appearance of a bucket like device that is worn around your pets neck, which is attached using their collar.
There are things such as bitter tasting preparations that can be sprayed onto the wound. Please remember that you are responsible for your pet’s aftercare. Re-suturing of wounds may requires further anaesthetic and will incur additional cost.

Something’s not right, what should I do?

If you have any doubts at all about the health of your pet following surgery, please contact our hospital and speak to one of our staff who will help you.

Signs you may see that can indicate problems include:

  • Lethargy and/or vomiting (particularly after 24 hours)
  • Excessive redness around the surgery site
  • Swelling or lumpiness around the surgery site
  • Bleeding or discharge from the wound.
  • Continuous licking
  • Odour from bandage site
About the ‘Buster Collar’

Buster collars are easy to remove and place back on when necessary. Unless instructed by your veterinarian, the collar should only be removed when your pet is under your full supervision. Most pets will learn to eat, sleep and be quite happy after a day or so. The collars are clear plastic so your pet will be able to see through it. A few days of persisting with a collar you can markedly reduce the risk of any serious self-harm and prevent any further veterinary intervention.