After your pet has undergone surgery it is essential to have a plan of action in order to help them recover as quickly as possible. Your vet will be able to provide you with information that relates to your pet’s specific condition, including instructions about any post-surgical medication and check-up dates. In addition to the medical side of things there a few things you can do at home to help your pet get well soon.
When taking your pet home make sure that the car is warm and that your pet is settled and comfy. You may need some help getting a dog into the car depending upon their size. If so, do not be afraid to ask a member of the veterinary practice staff to help you. If you have a cat or smaller dog then it may be a little easier as they can be taken home using a transport box.
Peace and Quiet
Give your pet a room or area of the house that is draught free, warm and somewhere they can be left to rest without being disturbed, this is even more important if you have other pets or small children. Provide a bit more insulation than normal to help keep your pet as comfy as possible.
After waking up from a general anaesthetic your pet may feel nauseous and have a poor appetite. To encourage your pet to eat try warming the food and offering very small portions. If your pet feels sick and vomits then do not feed them for 24 hours, making sure they have plenty of fresh water at all times.
Keep an Eye Out
It is not unusual for a pet to seem a little hazy and wobbly on its feet after coming out of a general anaesthetic and they may also sleep for longer than usual. However, if your pet is still extremely subdued after 24 hours then speak to your vet. You may also notice that they have a cough for a few days; this will be as a result of the tube that is put down your pet’s throat during the anaesthetic to help it breathe. Keep an eye out for any signs of bleeding, discharges or swelling of the wound area, as well as any sustained retching or vomiting. If any of these signs occur then contact your vet immediately.
Check your pet’s wound on a day-to-day basis to make sure that it is not showing any signs of a problem. If your pet has had stiches then they will usually have them taken out around 10 days, although it must be noted that this timeframe will differ depending on the operation and the location of the wound. Your pet may have had internal stitches which will dissolve naturally on their own, be sure to check with the vet what type of stiches your pet has before you take them home. If the vet has applied a dressing to the wound then it is important to keep bandages dry at all times and change them regularly.
If you see your pet trying to consistently gnaw or lick their wound then contact your vet who may give you an Elizabethan collar to stop them from doing this. Ensure that the collar doesn’t hinder your pet’s ability to eat and drink at meal times and if they become too distressed by wearing it then inform your vet who will need to look into other options.
Cats should be kept indoors whilst recovering and dogs should only be allowed outside in the garden to relieve themselves. Once the anaesthetic has worn off and your pet seems to be sprightlier, you can let them move about, but nothing too robust as you do not want to aggravate the stitches or wound. Ideally cats should be kept indoors until the their stiches have been removed, whilst dogs can start to have a light walk on a lead around the garden once they are feeling up to it.
Your vet may prescribe antibiotics or painkillers to help prevent infection and keep them comfortable. It is important to make sure that you stick to the dosage instructions and keep track of it all. If you have a large amount of medication to administer then it can help to make a schedule and tick off each time you give a dose.