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How To Care For Your Pet After Surgery

After your pet has surgery, it is important that you provide them with the proper aftercare so they can fully heal. Today, our Argyle vets offer tips on how to give the best post-op care to your furry companion. 

Always Follow Surgery Post-Op Instructions

In the days after surgery, both you and your pet may be feeling some stress. Understanding how to care for your pet after they settle in at home is critical to helping them get back to their routine as soon as possible.

Your vet will provide you with clear, detailed instructions on how to care for your pet after their procedure. Be sure to follow these steps carefully as they will be vital to a safe, successful, recovery. If there are any instructions you don't understand, clarify them with your vet before you head home. You can always call our Argyle vets with any questions that come up after you have returned home. 

Effects of General Anesthetic

Your vet will likely use general anesthetic to keep your cat or dog unconscious and prevent them from experiencing pain during surgery. The anesthesia may take some time to wear off and can make your pet drowsy or lethargic for a day or two after surgery.

Feeding Your Pet After Surgery

It is normal for your pet to lose their appetite temporarily after surgery. In addition to nausea, this is a common after-effect of the anesthetic. You might consider offering a half-size portion of a light meal. For dogs, chicken and rice are a good option. For cats, you can try a smaller portion of their regular kibble or offer them some wet food. 

After their operation, your pet’s appetite should return within about 24 hours. You can then begin to gradually reintroduce their normal food. If it’s been more than 48 hours and your pet still won’t eat after surgery, contact your veterinarian (or vet surgeon if you’ve been referred to one). Loss of appetite can be a sign of infection.

Managing Your Pet’s Pain After Surgery

Following surgery, your veterinarian will take time to explain any pain relievers or medications they need to prescribe for your pet so you can prevent infection and manage post-surgery discomfort or pain.

The vet will brief you on the dose needed, how often the medication should be administered, and the best way to administer the medication. To prevent unnecessary pain as your pet recovers and to eliminate the risk of side effects, be sure to follow these instructions carefully. If you are unsure of any instructions, ask follow-up questions.

Some pets may experience anxiety post-surgery. If this is the case for your pet, your vet may also prescribe anti-anxiety medication or sedatives to help your pet remain calm while they heal.

It is important that you never give your pet human medications without consulting your veterinarian first. Doing so could be extremely dangerous to your pet's wellbeing.

Set Up a Quiet, Comfortable Space

Your pet will need a space to rest and recover. You should set up a quiet space for them to recover that is removed from the rest of the household, particularly other pets and small children. You should provide them with a soft bed and blankets. Hard surfaces may put undue pressure on bandaged or sensitive parts of your pet's body. 

Pet Shaking or Coughing After Surgery

Have you noticed your pet shaking or coughing after surgery? If your pet had a tube placed in his or her trachea (windpipe) while receiving anesthesia, this may have caused mild irritation and a slight cough. A mild post-surgical cough will usually diminish over the next few days. Contact our hospital if coughing persists or worsens.

Typically, if a pet is shaking after surgery, this won’t be due to a cold or pain but after-effects from anesthesia or pain control medication. Have your pet frequently eat small amounts of food, and offer them lots of extra love and attention. Extra reassurance from you goes a long way to helping your pet feel better. 

Restrict your Pet’s Movement

For a specified period after surgery, your vet may recommend limiting your pet’s movement and physical activity. Sudden stretching or jumping can disrupt recovery and cause incisions to reopen.

Depending on the surgery, you may not need to take significant measures such as cage or crate rest to confine your pet. If your pet does not require crate rest, it is still a good idea to keep them confined to a small room/area of the house where they won't be tempted to do too much running or jumping.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Argyle Veterinary Hospital offers a range of surgeries for pets. We strive to provide complete surgical care and are here to help your pet with any post-operative needs. Contact us today to learn more

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