General Surgery Postoperative Care

In order to continue your pet’s recovery at home, the video above can give you additional information and helpful instructions. If you have any questions or concerns, please call us.

  1. Food and Water – Allow nothing by mouth during the first couple of hours after returning home. Water, in small amounts, may be given. Food may also be given in small amounts later in the evening.  A decreased appetite is common after anesthesia, but it should return to normal within the first 24-36 hours.  Resume normal water and food consumption on the first full day home following surgery.
  2. Exercise – Provide a quiet resting area where your pet can rest following his/her surgery. Keep your pet warm following surgery and for the next 24 hours. Restrict all activity for 7-10 days (especially important for large breed dogs).  Leash walking is permissible, but DO NOT allow unrestrained running, jumping or playing.
  3. Incision – Check the incision at least twice daily. It should appear closed, clean, dry, and free of discharge. Excessive licking or chewing can interfere with healing and can cause redness, swelling, or opening of the incision site. An e-collar may be necessary to prevent licking and chewing.  Avoid bathing/grooming your dog and do not allow swimming for 14 days.

Your pet may have internal skin sutures that are buried and no removal is necessary. On the other hand, skin sutures or staples may have been placed externally and will need to be removed in 10-14 days.  Please schedule a no-charge recheck with us within that time.

  1. Weakness – Your pet may be weak or disoriented for a period lasting up to 24 hours, as an after-effect of the anesthetic. As a precaution, keep your pet away from areas that he/she could fall or be injured.
  2. Bandage – We place an IV catheter in your pet’s front leg to administer fluids during anesthesia. After surgery we remove the catheter and place a bandage on the area. If your pet still has this bandage around their leg when you get home, please remove it.
  3. Cautions – Call us if you notice any of the following:
    • Prolonged decrease in appetite
    • Repeated vomiting
    • Bleeding
    • Chewing or loss of sutures
    • Excessive swelling or discharge at surgical site
  1. Medications – We may send you home with medications to help control pain and/or inflammation.