Surgery After‐Care Instructions
(Please Read Carefully) Printable .pdf Version
- Your companion animal will act drowsy and unstable for several hours after surgery. The total effects of the anesthesia will not be gone until tomorrow. It is common for animals to shake and act uncoordinated when waking up after surgery. This is normal and caused by the anesthetic drugs. Older animals and physically stressed animals can take a longer period of time to recover.
- It is not unusual for dogs to whine or whimper the evening of their surgery as the anesthesia drugs wear off. This is not a symptom of pain, but a display of general anxiety over not feeling quite normal after the day’s events. Comfort them and remember that your companion animal has just had surgery and needs time to rest and heal.
- The surgical area may be slightly swollen and red for a day or so. A lump will form as the suture material begins to break down and scar tissue forms. This is normal if there is no redness or drainage, and the incision is not hot to the touch. Please call if you notice any of these problems with the animal’s incision.
The first few days after surgery follow these guidelines:
- Keep your companion animal quiet tonight and in a warm comfortable place. Anesthetics impede your animal’s ability to control its body temperature. Do not leave your companion animal outside in the cold and make sure to keep it cool in hot weather, until the anesthetics wear off.
- Keep your companion animal away from children and other animals. Surgical anesthetics can leave your companion animal confused or aggressive when waking up. It may not realize who is handling it, so use caution. Do not leave your companion animal where it could fall until the sedation wears off. Be especially careful with stairs.
- Because your companion animal received a general anesthetic today, give lighter amounts of water and food tonight. Feeding or watering your companion animal excessively may cause vomiting and/or diarrhea. If the animal does not want to eat, its appetite should return to normal within 24 hours of surgery.
- Please do not allow your companion animal to lick or chew at the incision! This can cause infection and may loosen or pull out sutures. GAP always recommends the purchase of an E‐collar. You must monitor your animal’s behavior carefully and make sure it is not excessively licking or chewing the incision.
- Unless specifically told otherwise, your companion animal will not need to have any sutures removed as they are beneath the skin and will dissolve.
- Do not allow your companion animal to get wet for 10 days after surgery.
- Do not self‐medicate your animal or give any type of pain medication such as aspirin or ibuprofen without your regular veterinarian’s permission to do so. (Without proper administration, over‐the‐counter pain medications can cause serious injury and even death to dogs and cats.) We provide every animal with a 24‐hour pain injection immediately after surgery.
- In case of an immediate medical emergency, call the Cherokee Emergency Veterinary Clinic at 770‐924‐3720. They are located at 7800 Highway 92, Woodstock, GA 30189. This facility will charge a fee to see your animal. Once your animal leaves our clinic site you are fully responsible for after care and all veterinary expenses.
- Should you have any questions or concerns about your companion animal, a Georgia Animal Project technician can be reached at 770‐710‐9599 until 9:00 pm the night of the surgical procedure. At any other time, call or text the Georgia Animal Project at 770‐704‐7297 and leave a message. Someone will return your call generally within 24-48 hours. While we are always willing to see an animal for aftercare issues, be aware that these contact numbers are for non-emergency questions. All after care is ultimately the responsibility of the companion animal owner.
THE NUMBERS ARE STAGGERING!
- Studies show that one female dog and her descendants can produce as many as 67,000 dogs in six years.
- In seven years, a single unaltered female cat and her offspring can produce up to 420,000 kittens. Sadly, most of these animals meet premature deaths as strays or euthanized in shelters.
Thank you for being a responsible companion‐animal owner! In our eyes, you are a hero!