What to expect after spay or neuter surgery with SNIP Central
Your pet has just undergone a major surgery and you may notice a few temporary changes. These changes can include your pet being groggy or sleepy for up to 24 hours after surgery. This is a normal side effect of anesthesia and it is important that you keep your animal confined to a small quiet area away from other animals or children where they can peacefully rest while they recover. Animals can also appear clumsy and uncoordinated so it’s a good idea helping them in and out of the car on the way home so that they don’t accidentally damage their surgery site. Avoiding stairs or elevated surfaces is recommended as well to prevent animals from falling and injuring themselves.
Often animals are not hungry after surgery, even though they have been fasted. It may take 12-24 hours for full appetite to return. You can offer ½ their normal serving of food and unlimited water the evening that they return home from surgery.
Remember to Monitor and Protect Your Pets Incision Site!
This is something that is easily done and can help ensure your pet has a safe and uneventful recovery. Unless told otherwise, your pet will not have any external sutures, and neutered male cats will not have any sutures at all. Your pet’s incision was also surgically glued to add an extra level of protection and security to their incision site.
You will notice that we have tattooed a very small line on their abdomen to indicate to others that they have already been spayed or neutered. If you brought in a feral cat, they will receive an ear tip instead of a tattoo. This is so caregivers can identify a sterilized cat from a distance.
We will show you your dog’s incision site before you go home. For cats, we do not want to take them out of their cages in the lobby due to stress, so please check the incision when you get home. At this time the site will appear as what we would call “normal.” It’s a good idea to look at your pet’s incision at least twice a day for the first two weeks to ensure the skin is healing properly. Protecting this area is of the utmost importance. Preventing your animal, or others, from chewing or licking at the site is essential to allow proper healing. It is recommended that all pets receiving surgery wear an Elizabethan collar to prevent licking for two week following surgery. We also recommend isolating your pet from other animals and children for a couple weeks after surgery.
Keeping the area of the incision clean and dry is vital to preventing infection. We recommend that you keep you animal indoors while recovering. Even allowing your animal to walk through tall wet grass outside can put them at increased risk for infection.
NEVER CLEAN THE INCISION WITH ANY LIQUIDS, ESPECIALLY HYDROGEN PEROXIDE. THIS WILL ABSORB THE SUTURES PREMATURELY AND CAUSE THE INCISION TO OPEN. Do not apply any ointments or creams to the incision as it will also cause the sutures to absorb prematurely. NEVER COVER THE INCISION WITH A BAND-AID OR BANDAGE. This will irritate the skin and cause bacteria and moisture to be trapped against the incision, absorbing the sutures prematurely.
It is critical to prevent your pet from running or jumping during the first 10 days after surgery. Limiting activity will help prevent unwanted complications such as inflammation, incision pulling open, bleeding, or development of fluid pockets in the tissues. Dogs should only be allowed outside on a leash to limit activity.
If your pet is a cat, it received a pain injection at the time of surgery. If your pet is a dog, it has been sent home with pain medication that should control any inflammation or discomfort from surgery. DO NOT ADMINISTER ANY ADDITIONAL OVER THE COUNTER OR PRESCRIPTION PAIN MEDICATION TO YOUR PET. DOING SO CAN CAUSE GASTROINTESTINAL ISSUES, ORGAN FAILURE OR DEATH.
When to be Concerned and to Call a Veterinarian
If you feel that your pet is not healing appropriately or notice any of the signs listed below, your pet may be having a post surgical complication. Please contact us as soon as possible at (541) 647-3188. If it is after hours, still give us a call and we will give you advice over the phone. If you are not able to reach us, do not receive a call back or you feel your pet’s life is at risk call the Veterinary Referral and Emergency Center at (541) 210-9200 or the Bend Animal Emergency Center at (541) 385-9110 or your regular veterinarian immediately.
Surgery and Anesthesia
Monitor your pet for any signs of abnormal recovery from anesthesia and/or surgery. These may include:
- Depressed attitude
- Difficulty breathing
- Pale gums
- Difficulty urinating
- Unsteady gait
- Decreased appetite for more than 24 hours after surgery
- Lethargy for more than 24 hours after surgery
- Excessive heat, swelling, redness, pain or discharge coming from the incision
- Cough lasting for more than 3 days after surgery
If your pet received vaccinations, monitor the site of vaccination (shoulder/hind leg) and check for the following additional signs:
- Swelling of face
- Pain or swelling at vaccination site (shoulder/hind leg)
Regarding Feral Cats: Both male and female feral cats can usually be released 24-48 hours following surgery. Ask for special instructions about female cats who are lactating. Place a towel or cloth over the trap to decrease the cat’s stress. Place a potty pad under the trap to absorb urine and feces. All skin sutures are absorbable and do not need to be removed. Monitor well to ensure that cat is breathing normally and is not bleeding from the surgical site or ear tip site. When the cat is awake, mix canned food with water, roll into ball, and drop it into trap. The cat needs to be fully awake and alert before it is released. Be sure that the cat does not require any further medical care before releasing it from trap and only release the cat during the daytime away from roads or other hazards. Fresh food, water, and shelter need to be made available to the released cat. After release, frequent visits should be made to the site to ensure that cat has fully recovered and there are no complications. Please seek medical care as outlined above if cat is not recovering well from surgery for any reason.