Surgery aftercare: What to do


Advices for owners that are taking care of a surgically treated pet.

Your pet left the clinic after a surgical intervention. You listened to the instructions given by your Veterinary Doctor but still you have some doubts of what to expect during the next days/weeks. We give here some general recommendations.


Convince your pet to rest. If you have other pets that might disturb this rest separate them. If children insist playing with the operated pet explain to them why rest must be encouraged even if the pet wants to play.


Fresh water must be available at all times. The dog or cat may feel the necessity to drink more water. Avoid that it drinks a great amount over a short period because the stomach's over dilation may induce vomiting in this period.
You must follow the veterinarian's recommendation regarding solid food (specially in the case of gastrointestinal surgery) but as a general rule an easy digestible diet to which your pet is familiar with should be given. You should also give de daily food dose in small amounts distributed over a day. Avoid that your pet eats large amounts in a short period of time.

Bandage Care

Bandages must be kept clean and dry. If the bandage is in a limb it would be a good idea to cover it with a plastic bag or cling film (used for wrapping food) when the pet goes to an outside walk. That will protect the bandage from getting wet. Don't forget to remove the plastic bag or cling film when you return home because they do not permit air circulation to the skin and can cause severe problems if left many hours covering the limb. If the bandage is wet in the outside layer it must be changed because humidity favors bacteria growth. 
Avoid to much time in direct sun light or excessively hot places for your pet because the skin under a bandage does not have the same temperature regulatory capacities  and it can cause discomfort , healing problems and infections.
Some bandages leave 2 or more fingers in the outside. The reason is that if some vascular problem occurs the fingers will swell and that will tell us the bandage must be changed or removed.
If you have any doubt regarding the pets comfort with its bandage you'd better have it changed sooner than scheduled.

Some of the situations we will next refer are a little bit common sense, but many pet owners are inexperienced or may feel that there are big differences between humans and cats or dogs regarding illness and recovery after surgery.
That is why we mention that after a surgery IT IS NOT CONSIDERED NORMAL:
- repeated vomiting
- continuous bleeding from the skin suture even if it is a small amount of blood at a time
- prolonged loss of appetite
- absence of urination and/or defecation by the pet
- inability to maintain body heat (measured by a thermometer)
- prolonged mental depression not explained by the medication given , specially if it is a progressive worsening depression
- accelerated breathing and/or prolonged panting associated with restlessness or with mental depression
- aggressive behavior or other behavior that is very abnormal for the pets personality (cats are sometimes more difficult to understand regarding post-surgical behavior)
- in cats the prolonged absence of self-cleaning routines usually are a sign that something is wrong , except when bandages or other devices (Elizabethan collars) do not let then do the cleaning.

They need us in these moments like we need then so often




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