Post Op Instructions


Post-op Instructions For Dogs & Cats

Pets must be kept indoors where they can stay clean, dry and comfortable. Please limit their activity; no running, jumping, rowdy play, swimming, or other strenuous activity during the 7-10 day recovery time period. No bathing during this period. Dogs must be walked briefly on a leash for urination and defecation purposes only.  Return immediately indoors for continued rest during the recovery period.

Please check the incision site several times daily. Female dogs and cats will have a mid-line incision on their abdomen. Male dogs will have an incision just above or on the scrotum and male cats have one incision on each side of the scrotum. There should not be any drainage. Redness and swelling should be minimal. Do not allow pet to lick or chew at the incision site. If this occurs, an Elizabethan collar or a product called Bitter Apple must be used to deter any licking and/or chewing.

Unless told otherwise, your pet does not have external sutures. All sutures are absorbable and the outer layer of skin is held together with surgical glue. Do not clean or apply topical ointment to the incision site. 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. Male cats do not have any sutures. As the wound heals, there may be a firm lump under the incision as the absorbable sutures break down.

Lethargy lasting for more than 24 hours post-op, diarrhea, or vomiting are abnormal and your pet should be examined by a veterinarian. Dogs may have a slight cough for a few days after surgery.

Your pet’s appetite should return gradually in the next 24 hours. Do not change your pet’s diet and do not give junk food, table scraps, milk, or any other people food during the recovery period since doing so could mask post-surgical complications.

Spaying and neutering are very safe surgeries; however, complications can occur. Minimal redness and swelling should resolve within several days. If it persists longer, please contact us. Please contact your veterinarian immediately if you notice any of the following:

* pale gums
* depression
* vomiting
* diarrhea
* discharge or bleeding from the incision
* difficulty urinating
* labored breathing

If your female dog or cat was in heat (estrus) at the time of surgery, you must keep them away from un-neutered males for at least two weeks. If a male tries to mate with her serious bleeding and trauma to the reproductive tract may occur, possibly leading to death.

Additional Instructions For Feral Cats

These post-operative instructions apply only to feral cats and should not be applied to pet cats for any reason.

Leave male and female cats in the same carrier/trap you pick them up in at the clinic. Keep the doors/gates firmly closed and locked. Do not transfer the cat from the trap. Allow the cat to remain in the trap until fully recovered and ready to release. All cats should be kept 24-48 hours in a temperature-controlled area. A garage may work if the weather is mild (not too cold or hot). Cover trap loosely with a large towel/sheet for shelter and warmth. Make sure to leave some space through which the cat can get fresh air. Throughout the evening, monitor the cat for breathing and possible bleeding. Do NOT stick your finger through the trap or try to touch or handle the cat. Feral cats are not vicious, but they are recovering from anesthesia and are not accustomed to people, noises, their environment, etc.

You may offer the cat water and 1/4-1/2 amount of a regular diet the evening of surgery as long as they are awake/alert. If the cat is still sedated/groggy, withhold food and water until alert. The cat may choose not to eat due to post-operative nausea or being nervous in their surroundings. Do not offer them table scraps, milk, etc. Do not over feed or over water the cat as this may cause vomiting.

Place newspapers or plastic on the floor UNDER the trap to catch urine, feces, and food that may fall from the trap. The trap may be carefully placed on bricks or suitable objects to be elevated from the floor so that the cat is not lying in its own waste.

Incision Area: A small amount of redness and swelling is normal. Excessive swelling or drainage is not normal; you should contact regular veterinarian to determine treatment. Opening of the incision or excessive bleeding is considered an emergency; you should seek immediate veterinary attention. Feral cats often pant, vocalize, roll, and may even beat their face on the trap; this is not an emergency and can be ‘normal’ feral cat behavior when they are confined. Fresh, red blood coming from the rectum of males and abdomen of females is an emergency.