Post Operative Instructions
Cats & Dogs
Now that your pets operation is over what you need to know is how to look after them so that they can recover as quickly as possible.
All pets, whether they have had an anaesthetic or only a sedative, will be sleepy. This sleepiness will last for 24 hours at the most and keeping them warm will help them to recover more quickly. It is also important to prevent them from hurting themselves at this time eg. by falling down stairs when they are still wobbly on their legs. You may notice a small area of hair loss on the front leg. Do not worry, this is only the place where the anaesthetic was administered.
When to Feed and Offer Fluids
Dogs and cats should be given a drink as soon as you get them home and then a small light feed can be offered about three hours later. (Feeding about a third of their normal food or a small amount of chicken is appropriate but we can supply you with a special ‘Recovery Pack’ that is designed for animals getting over their anaesthetic) They may not be interested in any food tonight and if so do not worry. However, if they are not eating tomorrow please let us know.
When and How Much to Exercise your Pet
It is important that your pet is rested completely for the first two days.
Dogs should be confined to the back garden and have no walks. From then on they should be exercised on a lead and taken for short walks only.
Cats, on the other hand, must be kept in the house until their stitches are removed (Remember to close the cat flap!) and so will need a litter tray. They may not be overly keen on using this at first but will eventually come to terms with the new routine.
Small Mammals (Rabbits, Guinea Pigs etc) and Birds
If your pet has had an operation or general anaesthetic they will need to be kept nice and warm for the first 48 hours. If they are normally housed outside bring them indoors for a couple of days.
If your pet has had an operation and has a wound, keep it on newspaper and not sawdust or shavings until it has healed.
Rabbits, guinea pigs etc. and all birds should be fed and given water as soon as they get home and will, in fact, have been fed in the surgery that afternoon.
Looking After Your Pets Wounds
It is important that stitches and dressing are not interfered with by your pet or any human!! If your pet licks or pulls at either the wound or dressing come down to the surgery and collect an Elizabethan collar (light shade arrangement) if you think it is likely that your pet will interfere with the wound or remove the dressing then it might be best to take a collar when you collect them. The collar should be kept on at all times, except when they are feeding or drinking, at which time they should be supervised.
If your pet does remove its stitches then there will be a fee for replacing them but more importantly the wound may become infected, another anaesthetic may need to be given and occasionally serious complications can occur. Its another case of prevention being better than cure!
Stitches are usually removed ten days after the operation. This is done either by the practice nurse for routine operations or the veterinary surgeon. An appointment will be made when you come to collect your pet.
If your pet has tablets or other medications to administer please follow the instructions carefully. The time that you need to start giving the tablets etc. will be printed on the container. All pets that have had an operation will have had pain relief but if you feel that they are in pain later that night or during the course of the next few days please do not give potentially harmful human medications. Simply phone us up and explain the situation and we will be able to prescribe a safe and effective pain killer. It is also important that we know that your pet is in pain as it may be an indication of a problem.