Post Op

After Surgery

It's amazing how most of our patients recover to normalcy after just one or two days after surgery. Often after just a couple of hours.  Sometimes in under an hour.  It depends on the type of anesthesia and surgery.

But it's still important to take some sensible precautions:

Don't feed for at least 4 hours after surgery and feed small amounts at a time for the first day.  Don't feed "special treats" that are hard to digest (like PIZZA and TABLE SCRAPS) as part of your post surgery pampering.

Do consider post op electrolyte and nutrient replacement...either superior veterinary products made specifically for pets that your vet has to dispense...or helpful things like chicken broth, pediactric solutions, or Gatorade.
Sometimes a special diet or vitamin - mineral supplements will be recommended during recovery.

Encourage, or force if needed, restDon't play rough or active games.  Walk on a leash. etc.  Consider with your vet whether or not tranquillizers might be appropriate for your dog if an over active type.

Expect a little inflammation or swelling, but call your vet or come in for a recheck if you think something is obviously wrong with the incision site or anything else about the patient for that matter.  For you to know if there's a problem...take a close look at the incision on a twice daily basis for at least the first few days.

Keep the incision clean.  Squirt with a gentle antiseptic 2-3 times daily for the first few days.  Hydrogen peroxide is fine for most incisions.  I prefer chlorhexidine for sites with high risk of infections such as abscess wounds, draining incisions etc.  Your vet will automatically give you a wound cleaning topical prep if it's needed.  Keep your post op patient in a clean area.  Keep flies away.

Protect the incision.  Bandages, E Collars, antihistamines, mild tranquillizers or other methods may be needed to keep your pet from excessive chewing of the incision.  Some pets are very self destructive.

Consider extra pain relief
At our clinic, we routinely use a pretty potent pain medication combination (carprofen, acepromazine,  morphine, and Telazol) prior to surgery that has fairly good lasting effect. but for surgeries where I must cut through muscle or bone or handle intestines or bladder, I'll dispense pain mediciations to give for a few days after surgery. Other vets use different combinations to achieve excellent pain control and may recommend one of the different post op pain medications available.

We usually don't recommend aspirin or Tylenol though, as they cause side effects we want to avoid after surgery such as reduced clotting.  (Also; go to our page on poisons if you don't already know that Tylenol (acetominophen) is potentially deadly to cats.)

Consider a little extra love and time and affection spent with your recovering patient...maybe a new stuffed toy ...after all, your pet may be a little anxious about what's going on.

That's it, except that you need to bring the pet back to remove sutures or staples 10-14 days after the surgery unless dissovable sutures or surigal glue was used.

On this page:
Just a few common sense comments about taking care of your pets after surgery.

Surgery topics on other pages:

Our introductory page about surgery

Considerations BEFORE Surgery

Post Op Considerations

Spays (Ovariohysterectomies) in Dogs, Cats, and Other Pets

C Sections

Castration in Dogs, Cats, and Other Pets

Declawing Cats

Ear Cropping


Cancer and Mass Removal

Fracture Repair

Abdominal Surgery

Hernia Surgery

Using the Omentum

Soft Tissue Surgery

Descenting Ferrets, Skunks etc

About the Treatment of Injuries, Abscess', ETC

Cat with Feline Asthma
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Be careful of feeding tablet scraps and rich foods or treats right after surgery