Skip to Content

Important Alert: Due to high demand, we are not accepting any spay neuter appointments for the remainder of the year.

Post-Operative Instructions

Behavior

Your pet has had a major surgery and was under general anesthesia, which means they were completely asleep and unable to feel or move. Being groggy and/or sleepy the night of surgery is normal as the anesthesia doesn't fully wear off until the next day. Some other common side effects of anesthesia are whining, vocalizing, shaking or trembling. These symptoms should resolve by the morning after surgery, but if you are concerned, please email us at surgery@standforanimals.org.

Feeding

Your pet may or may not feel like eating dinner this evening. Don’t worry. You can entice your dog to eat with plain cooked chicken and rice, canned dog food, lunch meat, etc. Cats may like canned food or tuna. If your pet won’t eat, just let them rest and try again in the morning. An isolated episode of vomiting or diarrhea the night of surgery is also common and usually resolves by morning. If your pet experiences multiple episodes of vomiting or lethargy lasting more than 12 hours, please contact us at surgery@standforanimals.org.

Pain Medication

Dogs

Your dog received an injection of an anti-inflammatory medication post-operatively that will last for 24 hours. Another anti-inflammatory and pain medication, Carprofen, is in your discharge packet. You should start this medication (which is labeled and cut up in the correct dosage) the morning after surgery. Male dogs should have 3 days of this medication and female dogs should have 5 days of this medication. Additional pain medication may be sent home with animals that had a more complicated surgery.

Cats

Your cat received a long-acting pain injection during surgery that lasts for several days. No additional pain medications are required.

Sutures

Unless told otherwise, your pet does not have external sutures. All sutures are internal and will dissolve over time. A protective layer of surgical skin glue is also placed on top of the incision. Male cat incisions are not sutured closed. They are left open and will heal on their own within a few days.

In the case that your pet did receive surgical skin staples (we will notify you if this is the case), you will need to schedule an appointment to have them removed in 7-10 days.

If you have a concern about the incision please do not hesitate to email a picture to surgery@standforanimals.org. When you email please be sure to include your name, your pet's name, and the location and date of the surgery.

Tattoo

All pets receive a small green tattoo near their incision site as a permanent identification that they have been altered. Male cat tattoos are placed on their abdomen near their umbilicus (belly button) and a small patch of fur has been shaved for this purpose.

Incision Care

Check the incision site at least twice daily. Some initial redness and swelling may be present but should be minimal and improve daily. The incision should look better each day. No bathing, swimming or grooming for 14 days after surgery as the incision needs to stay clean and dry. Do not apply topical ointment to the incision as it will encourage your pet to lick. If you notice excessive redness, swelling, bruising or the incision looks open or has any discharge, contact us immediately by sending an email, with a picture, to surgery@standforanimals.org.

DO NOT ALLOW YOUR PET TO CHEW OR LICK THE INCISION. It is strongly recommended that you purchase an e collar from us, or a pet store, to prevent your pet from licking their incision. Licking can cause an infection or the incision to open. If you are concerned about your pet’s incision, send us an email, with a picture, to surgery@standforanimals.org.

Activity

For female dogs, male dogs, and female cats, it is very important you limit your pet’s activity for 10-14 days after surgery. Male cats should be kept quiet for 5-7 days. Dogs should be leash-walked outside to go potty and should not be allowed to run, jump, or rough-house. Cats should not be allowed to jump. Over-activity can lead to swelling and opening of the incision.

FEMALE cats and dogs should be kept away from intact males for at least 14 days because it takes a while for the hormones to leave their system after getting fixed. It can be extremely dangerous and life-threatening if they are allowed to mate with a male.

If you notice any of the following, please contact us immediately:

  • Pale gums
  • Labored breathing
  • Extreme lethargy
  • Excessive vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • Discharge or excessive bleeding from the incision
  • Difficulty urinating

To Reach Us Regarding A Medica Concern

SEND AN EMAIL TO surgery@standforanimals.org (put URGENT in the subject line) a doctor will respond within a minimum of 3 hours prior to 10 pm. Please be sure to include your name, your pet's name, and the location and date of surgery.

After 10 pm, please call our answering service at 1-844-743-1222.

Stand For Animals will treat at our clinic, at minimal cost, any post-op complications resulting directly from the surgery if the post-operative instructions were followed in full. Your regular veterinarian must address illness or injuries that are not a direct result of the surgery. Please call for an appointment as soon as you see cause for concern. We cannot be held responsible for complications resulting from failure to follow post-op instructions, or for contagious diseases for which the animal was not properly vaccinated prior to entering our facility.

Back to top