Post Surgical After-care is critical for the rapid recovery to health of an animal who has undergone a surgical procedure. Different surgical procedures will have specific after-care requirements. For example: a dog which has been spayed has undergone a major abdominal procedure. Major vessels supplying blood to and from the ovaries and uterus have been tied off and severed enabling the removal of the ovaries and the uterus. It will take a few days for the body’s repair mechanism to permanently block off those vessels so they will not haemorrhage. Jumping or running around could dislodge a blood clot resulting in internal bleeding that could lead to a disaster.
Recommendation #1 – Recovering from the anaesthesia – Your pet was given a general anaesthetic which enabled the surgical procedure to be performed free of pain. First however your pet received a pre-anaesthetic drug which sedated him/her followed by gaseous anaesthetic administered via a tube placed in the windpipe. Because of the drugs used in this procedure expect your pet to be sedated and ‘not him or herself’ after the surgery. If they want to sleep after the surgery, let them. 24 hours post surgery most animals are much more ‘themselves’. If concerned, always notify your veterinarian.
Recommendation #2 – Attention to the Surgical Wound – The surgical wound site on the skin may show some redness and swelling as a result of the body setting in motion the healing process. Keeping the wound site clean and dry is important and can be accomplished with gauze swabs and Beta-dyne Solution. Significant swelling and/or weeping at the wound site should be reported as soon as possible.
Recommendation #3 – Regarding Exercise – Maintain your pet in a quiet, unstressed state for the first 48 hours post surgery. Reduce noise and other stimuli that may excite your pet. In the case of dogs, walk them quietly ‘on a leash’ three or four times in the first 24 hours post surgery so they can relieve themselves. Do not allow them to ‘run around’ even if they appear normal.
Recommendation #4 – Regarding Food and Water – If your pet has undergone a surgical procedure involving any of the organs in the abdomen, eg: stomach, intestines, liver, kidneys, uterus, ovaries or the urinary bladder, the diet may need to be altered. Your veterinarian will specify the details of the diet depending on the needs of each case. The diet of an animal that has undergone intestinal surgery will differ from the diet of an animal that has had bladder surgery. In any event, no food should be offered to your pet for several hours post surgery. Feeding a surgical patient too soon after surgery can result in unwanted vomiting that creates unnecessary stress on the patient. Drinking too much water too soon post surgery is also dangerous. Adequate hydration is important and can be maintained by offering your pet no more than 1/2 cup of water frequently. Smaller quantities for smaller animals. Most animals are eating and drinking normally 24 hours post surgery. For those patients hesitant to drink, offering chicken stock may do the trick.
Recommendation #5 – Suture Removal – In most cases where skin has been sutured or stapled closed, those sutures or staples will require removal, usually 14 days post surgery. If there is any variation to the timing of suture removal you will be informed by the veterinarian.
Recommendation #6 – If any questions arise, call 0427 077 044 for assistance.