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Post Surgical Care Instructions

Your pet  is recovering from surgery and anesthesia.  It is important to know that all pets respond uniquely to anesthesia and surgery and heal at different rates.  If you have any questions or concerns after reading this, please do not hesitate to call the office.  If it  is after hours, Dr. Bigelow is available on his cell phone at 619-733-4792 until 9:30 PM.  Our primary goal is for your pet to have as easy and successful recovery as possible.

 Medications:  Follow the instructions on your pets prescription labels to know how much to give.  Your pet may have been given antibiotics and pain relief.  It is important to give the pain medications so your pet can be comfortable and get plenty of rest.  If you are having difficulty administering medications to your pet, click here.

Feeding:  On the first night after surgery, give your pet a small meal about one-third of what you would normally offer.  If your pet eats this small meal, do not feed it anymore that evening. We want to avoid vomiting that occurs with some animals when they eat or drink too much after anesthesia.  The next day, you can go back to your pet's normal amount of food. If your pet hasn't eaten or drank by the morning after surgery, please call our office as soon as possible.  Remember, drinking water is much more important than eating initially after surgery.  If you elected not to give your pet intravenous fluids during their surgery it will recover slower due to dehydration and slower drug metabolism. 

Recovery/Activity:  Each animal recovers from anesthesia at a different rate.  Some animals are back to normal within 12-24 hours, while others takes as long as 3-4 days to recuperate.  Please keep your pet separate from other animals in your house the first night home so they can recover in peace.  On the day after surgery, you may start slow leash walks for dogs but no heavy running or playing can occur until sutures are removed!

The Surgery Site:  Monitor the site closely for any SWELLING, DISCHARGE OR REDNESS.  Sometimes after surgery a swelling may develop under the sutures.   This often is a seroma which  is a collection of serum and blood and is not dangerous to your pet.   The seroma will dissipate over a period of 4-8 weeks.  Please do not hesitate to call us if you are unsure if the surgical area looks normal.  We will be happy to check the site free of charge. 

Follow Up Appointments:  A follow-up appointment may be needed to have sutures removed, a bandage or splint changed or checked, a drain removed or a progress exam performed by the doctor. Once sutures are removed, you may give your pet a bath and they can resume normal physical activity. 

E-Collars: Keep the E-collar on at ALL Times until the sutures are removed.  If dissolvable sutures were used on your pet, keep the collar on for a MINIMUM of 7 days.

Declawed Cats:  Use Yesterday's News litter exclusively in the litter box for the next 5-7 days.