Post-Operative Care Advice from New Lodge Vets
After the operation
We know that many owners may have concerns taking their pet home after an anaesthetic or surgical procedure. Please remember that you do not have to feel that you are on your own. Our trained staff are there to offer all the advice and support you may need.
Operations are carried out under a full general anaesthetic, this enables us to control airways, provide oxygen and additional drugs to ensure a comfortable recovery. After a pre-med injection that includes a calming agent and pain relief, the anaesthetic is introduced via a catheter in a foreleg vein. Some hair will have been clipped over this vein.
Stitches & wounds
After the operation the skin may be sutured (stitched) or surgically stapled. These sutures are usually dissolvable ones buried under the skin (and so cannot be seen), we also sometimes apply a layer of tissue glue to help close the wound. Sometimes we will use nylon sutures that need to be removed approximately 14 days after the procedure.
It is important that your pet does not lick its operation site – it actually slows down healing. Collars are usually provided after most operations and we recommend that they are used to prevent interference with wounds.
Please do not bathe wounds unless instructed to do so by our staff. Some surgical sites will be covered with a protective dressing. If this is present it will need to be gently removed 2-3 days after the operation – we can do this at the post-operative check.
Taking your pet home
When you come to collect your pet, the nurse will advise you of the post-operative care required and will make an appointment for a vet to recheck your pet in 2-4 days. There will be some pain relief medication for you to give your pet as required so they remain comfortable in the post-operative period.
Due to the anaesthetic, your pet may be sleepy and a bit unsteady for the next 12-24 hours. During this time they should be allowed to rest quietly in a warm (not too hot), comfortable, draught-free place. We offer a suitable recovery diet for your pet to eat while they are with us and usually a little to take home. We would advise you to offer a light meal but do not worry if they do not feel like eating when they gets home – normal appetite should return within 24-48 hours. Make sure fresh clean water is available at all times. (It is better to offer food and water little and often, rather than a large amount at one sitting).
Depending on the operation performed exercise restriction may be required to allow healing, reduce possible postoperative complications, and speed recovery. Toileting on a lead may be required. Please keep operation sites clean by avoiding wet or muddy areas, and remember to keep bandaging clean and dry. We will normally provide bandage covers to help garden excursions.
If your pet has not eaten within 48 hours of their operation, they are listless or unsteady, or you have any other concerns about their wound or their well-being please telephone us for advice.