Post Operative Care

  1. It is very important that you limit your pet’s activities for up to two weeks.  This includes no running or jumping, limiting outdoor activities to using the bathroom, and no playing with children or other pets.  Keeping your pet in a kennel or other confined space when left unsupervised is recommended.

  2. It is recommended that you use an Elizabethan collar (cone) until your animal’s incision has completely healed.  This should be approximately ten days.  The collar is necessary to prevent your pet from licking and/or chewing at the incision.

  3. DO NOT give aspirin, Tylenol or other pain relievers to your pet.  These medications can be deadly to pets!  If you purchased take-home pain medication, you can begin giving it to your pet the day after surgery. Dogs and cats over 6 months old are given pills that can be hidden in food.  Begin their medication after noon the next day.  Cats under 6 months old are given a liquid medication that is pre-dosed and in syringes.  You can give that to your cat by mouth the very next morning. Having trouble giving your pet medicine? Learn useful techniques for giving medication to your pet

  4. Generally, anesthesia will upset your pet’s stomach.  You can offer your pet food and water in small portions after 7 p.m. tonight. However, if you have a smaller animal (less than 6 lbs) please offer food right away to help your pet’s sugar levels. Be aware that the anesthesia may cause nausea and vomiting.  If your pet vomits after eating or drinking, pick up the food and water and offer small amounts a couple of hours after vomiting has subsided.  After 9 a.m. the day after surgery, your pet can have normal food and water.

  5. Anesthesia may wear off slowly, so your pet may appear drugged this evening but will become progressively more active and alert with time.  Pets may growl, claw at invisible objects, and act strangely for up to 24 hours.  Cats especially become aggressive as anesthesia wears off.  Pets do best in quiet, dark places such as the bathroom (with the toilet lid DOWN) or the laundry room.  It is necessary that they be monitored during their post operative recovery.

  6. Do not allow your pet to get wet or have a bath until the incision has healed.  If bathing is required, consult your personal veterinarian and minimize the amount of water at the surgical site.

  7. Monitor the surgical site daily for signs of bleeding or infection, i.e. weeping or oozing wounds, puffiness, bubble like masses under the skin, the incision is open, etc.  For the first five days, the main concern is to restrict the pet’s licking of the incision.  Licking can damage the incision itself.  Please return to one of our offices immediately if you notice any of these issues.

  8. Male dogs may swell after being neutered, sometimes this swelling may even be severe. It may take time (sometimes up to a month) and inactivity to resolve this swelling post-surgery. If swelling occurs, TCAP recommends purchasing Carprofen, which is a pain and anti-inflammatory medication. You can purchase 3 days worth of Carprofen at the time of surgery for $15. Antibiotics may also be recommended in some cases. TCAP can provide you with antibiotics for $15.

  9. Your pet has buried sutures (and male cats do not require sutures).  Your pet does not need to return for suture removal.  All sutures used will dissolve over time.

  10. If a female animal is spayed during her estrus cycle, she is still attractive to males for several days following her surgery and is still capable of mating.  Although no possibility of pregnancy exists, you MUST keep her away from all male animals for up to two weeks.

  11. Male animals are still capable of breeding for ninety (90) days or occasionally even longer after being neutered.  Even though the testicles have been surgically removed, hormone levels remain in the bloodstream and viable sperm remain in storage canals for an extended period of time.

  12. For tooth extractions: Some bleeding may occur. This could last for a few hours. Soft food is not necessary, but if there were numerous extractions, wetting down hard food may be more desirable. Resume normal feeding after a couple of days.

If you have post operative concerns about your pet, and would like one of our veterinarians to take a look at its incision, feel free to visit our clinics during walk-in hours.  A check-up visit at a TCAP program will be offered at little or no cost to you.

If you have an urgent concern or emergency post-surgery please call our 24-hour emergency line at 940-395-4306 and our Client Care Coordinator will assist you. 

If your pet has a LIFE-THREATENING EMERGENCY, visit your full-service veterinarian or your local emergency clinic for care at your expense.