Post-Operative Care for Pets

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If you have any questions or concerns directly related to the surgery during the recovery period, please do not hesitate to contact your clinic.

For your pet's safety, please read and follow these instructions.

Keep your pet confined to a warm, quiet environment and separate from other pets and young children for the first 12-24 hours. 

No running, jumping, playing, or strenuous activity for 7 to 10 days following surgery.

Pets should stay indoors and be kept quiet. Walk dogs on a leash and keep cats inside.

Keep your pet dry for 7 to 10 days following surgery. No baths, or swimming. The top layer of the surgical incision may become infected and break down if the area gets wet.

Check the surgical incision twice a day. There should be minimal discharge, redness or swelling.

Male dogs may appear as if they still have testicles. This is fairly normal. The swelling will gradually decrease during the next few days.

Do not let your animal lick the area as the incision can be licked open and may become infected. If this occurs, you will need to purchase an elizabethan collar (cone of shame) and it may lead to additional costs a trip back to the clinic is required.

Do not clean or apply topical ointment to the incision site unless recommended by your clinic. This can cause the incision to open.

If you are told that your pet has skin sutures or skin staples, you will need to return in approx. 10 days to have those removed. For some pets the skin incision may be closed using absorbable sutures or tissue glue. As the wound heals, there may be a firm lump under the incision as the absorbable sutures break down. This is normal.

You may provide a small amount of food and water to your adult pet tonight, but he or she may not have a full appetite until tomorrow.

You should provide normal amounts of food and water this evening for any kitten or puppy less than 6 months of age. 

Unless instructed, do not change your pet's diet in the immediate post-operative period.

Give only prescribed medications. Do not give Nurofen, voltaren, aspirin or other human pain relievers, as they can be deadly to your pets. Your pet will have received pain medicine at the time of surgery. 

Some animals appear to feel 100% right away, while others recover more slowly. 

The occasional pet may have a slight cough for a few days post-surgery. However, if there are any concerning respiratory issues, please contact your clinic for advice.

Lethargy that lasts more than 48 hours after surgery, diarrhoea, or vomiting in any animal are not normal and you should contact your clinic.

If your pet was in heat, she should be kept away from males for at least 14 days following surgery. If a male tries to mate with her bleeding and trauma to your pet's reproductive tract may occur.

We may recommend that your animal receive a post-operative examination with a vet nurse 3-5 days after surgery. Please have the incision checked and discuss additional needs and follow-up care.

Surgical Complications

Spaying and neutering are very safe surgeries, however complications can occur. Please contact us immediately if you notice any of the following:

  • pale gums
  • excessive depression
  • inappetence > 24 hours
  • vomiting or diarrhoea
  • discharge or bleeding from the incision
  • wound opening or excessive swelling
  • difficulty urinating or passing faeces
  • laboured breathing

How we can help with complications

If the above post-operative instructions are completely followed our clinic should be able to manage at minimal cost, any post-operative complications resulting directly from the surgery.  Please contact us for an appointment as soon as you identify a cause for concern.

Your veterinarian will also address disease, illnesses, or injuries that are not a direct result of surgery. We cannot be held responsible for complications resulting from failure to follow any of the above post-operative instructions, or from any new or underlying health issues not known at the time of surgery.

In Case of Emergency

If your pet requires emergency care that does not fall within normal clinic business hours, please contact our after-hours number, or call your local emergency veterinary clinic for advice.

Massey University (Mon – Fri 6pm-8am)

Weekends (8am Sat – 8am Mon) – Totally Vets Accident and Medical After-Hours Emergency Clinic 06 324 -0812

You will be responsible for paying the cost of this visit directly to the veterinarian or emergency clinic. Our staff will review the report. If we determine that it's a spey/neuter surgery-related issue, we may help contribute to the cost of the visit. 


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