After coming home from the clinic, your pet should be kept in a warm, dry, quiet and ideally indoor location in the 24 hours following discharge. If your pet is discharged on the same day that he/she had surgery, they may still be a little bit drowsy after they go home with you. There may also be some irritability or incoordination during this initial 24-hour period immediately after the surgery.
The shaved area on your pet's front or back legs is the IV injection, IV catheter and IV fluid site(s). Some bruising to this area may be seen when they go home with you; however, if this persists beyond 72 hours, please give us a call at the clinic. You may also find that the underside of their paw may have been shaved - this allowed the placement of blood pressure monitoring equipment, so that we could monitor their progress under anaesthesia closely.
The surgical site is located under the abdomen. Some pets may have a light bandage applied over their surgical wound after surgery, and this is usually removed at home about 24-48 hours after the surgery. Your veterinarian or veterinary nurse will advise you when is an appropriate time to remove the bandage at home.
There are several sutures present on the surgical site. It is helpful to count the number of stitches present when your pet first goes home with you, so that you will know if any goes missing before the wound is fully healed.
The surgical site should be checked daily for swelling, discharge or loss of sutures. It is important that you keep your pet in a clean and dry environment so that the surgical wound remains clean. Pets should not get bathed or allowed to get their wound wet in any way, until all the stitches have been removed. For cats - please only use shredded paper or non clumping litter in the litter tray to prevent the litter material from sticking to the wound.
It is also imperative that your pet is not allowed to lick at the surgical site because this may lead to the wound splitting open before it is fully healed and/or wound infections and/or other more serious complications. If you notice your pet licking or chewing at the surgical site, he/she will need to wear an Elizabethan collar to prevent this. E-collars may be purchased from our clinic reception. Ensure that pets are not allowed to roam outdoors without close supervision when they are wearing an E-collar, as this poses a choking hazard if it gets caught in a fence or branch.
If your pet underwent intestinal or stomach surgery in order to remove a mass, the excised mass will be sent away to an external lab for histopathology with your permission. A veterinarian will contact you with the results as soon as they are back from the lab – this typically takes up to 10 working days. Please ensure that your contact details are up to date so that we have a number to reach you at.
Strict confinement to a small room or indoor area is necessary until all the stitches have been removed. It is important that all dogs are toileted on a lead. Dogs should also only receive light lead exercise only until all stitches have been removed, then gradually increase exercise over the next 2 weeks. No off-leash or boisterous activity is recommended until all your pet's stitches are removed. Your pet should avoid excessive physical activity such as running around or jumping onto/off items of furniture. Cats should remain indoors until the surgical wound is fully healed.
We usually recommend that pets be fed small but frequent meals in the 5-7 days following intestinal or stomach surgery. Some pets may also have to be gradually weaned from a smaller meal portion to a larger meal portion in the first few days after the surgery - in this situation, your veterinarian or veterinary nurse will give you directions on how to gradually increase their meal portions appropriately.
Your veterinarian will also specify any special prescription diet, if necessary, your pet needs to be on after intestinal or stomach surgery. Ensure that you do not alter your pet's diet after the surgery without first talking to your veterinarian or veterinary nurse.
Monitor your pet closely for excessive salivation/drooling or vomiting during or following a meal, and contact us if any is seen. Do also contact us if your pet is excessively lethargic, or not wanting to eat their meals. It is also very important that you keep an eye on your pet's stools and that he/she is passing stools on a daily basis following surgery.
To optimise gut healing, do ensure that you adhere to your pet's written discharge notes closely, and phone us at (06) 3588675 if you have any concerns or questions regarding their feeding, diet or bowel movements after surgery.
Sutures are typically removed 14 days after the surgery. Occasionally, your veterinarian may decide to "stage" the suture removal in that half of the stitches come out in 14 days', with the remainder coming out 5-7 days' later. Please phone for an appointment to book your pet in for suture removal.
Your pet would have received additional pain relief medications after their surgery, and some pets may also have oral medications to go home with. Please administer all medications as directed on the label ensure that any antibiotics and pain relief medications are given with a meal.
Should you have any enquiries or further concerns about the post-operative care of your pet, please do not hestitate to phone us at (06) 3588675 to discuss.