Post-surgical instructions

  •  Your pet will probably be weak and groggy after surgery. Do not let him/her get too excited.
  • Provide small amounts of food and water until your pet has fully recovered from the anaesthetic. Too much food and water can lead to an upset stomach or vomition.
  • Limit your pet’s exercise. Climbing stairs, jumping or running may cause sutures or wounds to tear open.
  • Make sure the sleeping area is clean, warm and free of draughts.
  • The vet may prescribe medication to administer during your pet’s recovery. Follow the label instructions carefully and finish the course of medication unless told otherwise.
  • Drains are normally left in for 5 days or until drainage has mostly stopped. They are kept in place with sutures that has to be taken out when removing the drain. The small wounds left by the drains will heal within a few days. They do not need to be stitched up.
  • Sutures are usually removed approximately 10 days after surgery unless you are instructed otherwise by the vet or nurse. Check the area around the incision daily for redness, swelling and drainage. If you detect any problems, contact your vet immediately.
  • Try to keep your pet from licking excessively or chewing on the sutures. If it is a problem you might want to provide a physical barrier by placing an Elizabethan collar around the neck. A thick towel wrapped lightly around the neck and secured with cable ties can be used as a substitute collar. Make sure that you can fit the width of 2 fingers between the towel and your pet’s neck.
  • Some animals dislike the taste of aloe extracts which are commercially available in sprays like Avert or Footsack. You can use this on wounds.
  • 20ml citronella in 250ml water can also be used as a deterent. This however does not work for all animals.
  • Bandages can be used in certain cases to limit access to a wound. The bandage needs to be removed after no more than 48 hours. Plasters do not work as they cannot stick on an animal’s fur.
  • It the animal is scratching an area with a back foot, you can cover the foot with a light bandage or sock to prevent the nails from doing damage.

Written by Sr Adri Nel