Post Operative Instructions
When your pet arrives home after surgery, there will things that you will need to remember to ensure that your pet remains safe.
Food requirements on the day of discharge from hospital
Your pet should be able to continue on with his/her regular meal, at the regular amount, at the regular time, unless instructed differently by your veterinarian. If you are able to take your pet home the same day as the surgery, from time to time some pets may be a little uninterested in food, due to the drugs being metabolised. If this is the case, don’t be concerned – this is usually very temporary and will pass within 12-18 hours.
Stitches / Sutures
In most cases, your pet will come home with sutures, closing the surgical area. These can be external, or internal, but in both cases, the instructions are similar. Until the surgical area closes completely and the skin heals, there is a risk of infection, so they must be taken care of. Pets, especially dogs, will investigate most things with their mouth and teeth. If they start to lick their sutures, they can be transferring bacteria from their mouth to their surgical area. Biting at the sutures before they heal can open the surgical area and prove very dangerous, especially for abdominal surgeries. Also, keep from washing or bathing the area for 10-14 days or until the sutures come out, so it is best to bathe your pet prior to the surgery.
Pets will usually need rest following their surgical procedure. The length of time can vary depending on your pet’s procedure, but is an important part of their healing. For orthopedic surgeries, once the initial problem has been fixed surgically and the pain levels have been decreased, dogs and cats can feel better than they have in a long time. This is great; but with increased exercise they can cause more damage to the area affected initially, causing more long-term damage. Do your best to stick to the ‘rest’ period recommended to you, and that will give your pet the best chance of rehabilitation.