Spay and neuter surgeries are performed under general anesthesia. During this time, the patient is completely asleep and unable to feel or move. In female dogs and cats, the uterus and ovaries are removed through a small incision in the abdominal wall. In both male dogs and cats, the scrotum is not removed, only the testicles.
Some animals are active after surgery, while others remain quiet for a while. Either way, it is very important that you limit your pet's movements during the 7 to 10 day recovery period, as strenuous activity, such as running, jumping or
playing, could disrupt the healing process and even cause the incision to become swollen or open. To help keep your pet from being too active:
● Place your pet in an adequately sized carrier, kennel, crate or small room when you’re not able to supervise him/her. The animal must be able to stand up and turn around in the housing unit.
● If your pet is small, carry him/her up and down stairs.
● Walk your pet on a leash to allow him/her to urinate or defecate.
● Do not take your pet for long walks or allow him/her to play with other animals or people. Also, do not allow your pet to jump on or off furniture.
To limit your cat’s activity, as well as help them feel safe and comfortable, place them in a quiet, confined area such as a bathroom, laundry room or kitchen. This provides a safe hiding place for them, where you can easily monitor their recovery. Remember to provide fresh food and water and a clean litter box.
After surgery, your pet’s appetite should return gradually within 24 hours. Give your pet a half-size meal when you bring them home, and then feed them their normal evening meal. Puppies and kittens may have an additional meal through the day. Water should always be available.
Do not change your pet's diet at this time, and do not give them junk food, table scraps, milk or any other "people food." Changes in their diet could hide post-surgical complications. Although patients' reactions to surgery can vary,
lethargy (lasting for more than 24 hours after surgery), diarrhea, or vomiting are
NOT normal, and you should contact us immediately if these occur. We can then assess if your pet needs to be examined by a medical professional. Do not remove the Elizabethan collar unless you are able to supervise your pet. If you do remove it for feeding, replace it immediately after your pet has finished eating.
KEEP THE INCISION DRY
Dogs and female cats have internal sutures that provide strength to the tissue as they heal; these will dissolve after approximately four months. Surgical glue has also been applied to the skin to seal the incision against bacterial penetration. Male cats do not have any sutures, and, unless you are told otherwise, your pet does not have external sutures. If you are told that your pet has skin sutures or skin staples, they will need to return in 10 days to have those removed. Do not bathe your pet during the recovery period (10 days), or apply topical ointment to the incision site—the surgical glue on the incision will dissolve too quickly if it becomes wet. Pets must be kept indoors where they can stay clean, dry, and warm, although dogs can be walked on a leash to relieve themselves. Prevent your pet from licking the incision site, which may cause infection, by distracting your pet with treats and by using the Elizabethan collar.
CHECK THE INCISION SITE
Female dogs and cats have a midline incision in their abdomen. Male dogs have an incision just above the scrotum, and male cats have an incision on the scrotum. Check these incision sites at least twice daily. What you see when we
discharge your pet is what we consider normal. There should be no drainage, discharge or odor in females, and redness and swelling should be minimal. Male dogs may have small amounts of drainage or discharge for up to three days. Male cats may appear as if they still have testicles; this is normal, and the swelling should subside gradually through the recovery period. If there are any bumps or bruises present, they should decrease in size and appearance through the recovery period. Do not allow your pet to lick or chew at the incision. Licking may cause the
incision to become infected or open, which will likely require follow-up visits at a veterinary clinic at considerable cost. If your pet is still able to lick the surgery site while wearing the Elizabethan collar, choose a larger collar or contact us at (574) 355-3444 for further assistance.
Our veterinarians employ a multi-modal pain management protocol; this means that different pain medications are administered before, during and after surgery. If your pet appears to be in pain after getting home, please call our clinic at the following: (574) 355-3444. Our staff can assess whether or not your pet needs to be examined. Do not give human medication to your pet; it is dangerous and can be fatal.
Unless you are told otherwise, your pet does not have external sutures. All sutures are absorbable on the inside and the very outer layer of skin is held together with surgical glue. If you are told that your pet has skin sutures or skin
staples, they will need to have those removed in 7-10 days. Male cats do not have any sutures.
KEEP IN-HEAT FEMALES AWAY FROM MALES
Keep neutered males away from un-spayed females. Neutered males can get an un-spayed female pregnant for up to 30 days after spay/neuter surgery. Keep spayed females away from un-neutered males for seven days. Animals returning from the clinic may also smell different to other animals in the household. This can cause the animals to fight, so be prepared to keep your pets in separate areas for a few days following surgery.
BE AWARE OF AND LOOK OUT FOR POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONS
Spaying and neutering are both very safe surgeries; however, as with all surgery, complications can occur. Minimal redness and swelling of the surgery site should resolve within several days, but if they persist longer, please contact us during normal business hours or your closest hospital after normal business hours:
● Night Owls Wellness and Urgent Care - Mishawaka IN - 574-259-8387
● North Central Veterinary Emergency Center - Westville, IN - 219-785-7300,
● VCA - Kalamazoo, MI - 269-381-6090
You should contact your local emergency clinic immediately if you notice any of the following:
● Pale gums
● Unsteady gait
● Loss of appetite or decreased water intake
● Discharge or bleeding from the incision
● Difficulty urinating or defecating
● Labored breathing
Always monitor your pet’s urine for blood; a small amount may be present in female animals during the first 24 hours after surgery. If this continues or occurs at other times, please call us or call your regular veterinarian, as your pet may have a bladder infection unrelated to surgery.
CALL IF YOU HAVE CONCERNS
Depending on your location, your pet’s symptoms, and the time of day, we may see your pet at our facility or refer your pet to be seen at a consulting veterinary clinic. Please call (574) 355-3444 as soon as you see cause for concern.
We cannot be held responsible for complications resulting from failure to follow post-operative instructions, or from contagious diseases, and you are financially responsible for the treatment of any medical concerns, conditions, or
complications that may arise.