Cutting through all the information

Due to illness, disease or trauma, your pet may one day require surgery. While potentially stressful (for both you and your pet) there are a few basic guidelines that you can follow that will make the process as complication-free as possible and put your pet on the road to recovery.

Depending on the type of surgery, wether minor or major, your veterinarian will advise you when your pet can resume his/her normal lifestyle.

Pre-surgical instructions

  • Your veterinarian will do a check-up on your pet before the surgery to determine if there are any pre-existing conditions that may interfere with the surgical procedure.
  • Make sure that your pet is up to date in his/her vaccinations.
  • Your veterinarian may suggest a blood test to screen for disease that is not apparent from a physical exam.
  • You may need to administer antibiotics several days prior to major surgery to increase your pet’s ability to fight off infection.
  • Usually no food after 10 pm the night before surgery. Consult your veterinarian on specific times.
  • You may provide water to your pet, provided your veterinarian has not specified otherwise. Consult your veterinarian about this.

Post Surgical Instructions

  • Chances are your pet will be weak or groggy after surgery. Do not let him/her get to excited.
  • Restrain your animal with a leash or put him/her into a carrier when leaving the clinic. This will protect them from injury.
  • Provide only small amounts of food and water until he/she readjusts to being home and is recovering. Too much food and water can lead to an upset tummy and or vomiting.
  • If a special post-surgical diet has been prescribed, follow all instructions carefully.
  • Limit your pets exercise. Climbing stairs, jumping or running may open sutures (stitches) and may possibly cause nausea.
  • Make sure his/her sleeping area is clean, warm and free of draughts.
  • Your veterinarian may prescribe medication to administer during your pet’s recovery. Follow all label instructions carefully.
  • Sutures (stitchers) are usually removed approximately 10 days after surgery. Check the area around the incision daily for any redness, swelling or discharge. If you detect any irritation, contact your veterinarian immediately.
  • Try to keep your pet from licking or chewing the wound. If this is difficult to do, you might want to provide a physical barrier by placing an ‘Elizabethan collar’ around his/her neck.

Reference: MERCK Animal Health

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