General Post – Operative Care 

The following points are very basic and broad in nature and are meant to provide only the most basic of information the first evening after an anesthetic procedure. If in doubt – call or come in.

  • The best way to ensure that everything is being done correctly is to refer to the paperwork you were given at your pet’s discharge: This will typically be in the form of discharge instructions placed in a folder you were given when you picked up your pet, or it may be a note included in the printout of your invoice. Please contact the hospital if you have any questions about care for your pet after the procedure.
  • Most patients will be tired for the rest of the evening; the older or very young patients may take more time to completely recover from an anesthetic episode.
  • A small amount of food and water can be offered in most cases the evening of discharge from the hospital. Some patient will require a soft diet (Dental procedures including extractions, upper airway repair including soft palate resection, upper GI studies). The length of a soft diet requirement will depend on the specifics of the case. Contact your veterinarian if your pet is not eating by the morning following discharge from the hospital.
  • Exercise restriction is paramount for most post – operative procedures (Spay, Neuter, Foreign body removal, Fracture repair, upper airway repair, Laceration / Wound repair, and ALL emergency surgeries). The length & extent of exercise restriction requirements will depend on the specifics of the case.
  • Medications dispensed need to be administered on schedule. Typically, these will include pain control meds and possibly antibiotics for most elective procedures. Generally speaking, the antibiotic can be started the evening of discharge and the anti-inflammatory can be started the following morning. It is important to give the full course of treatment with these meds to provide for optimal healing and comfort for your pet after the procedure. Any pet seemingly in pain needs to be re-examined by your veterinarian.
  • Some mild blood spotting in the water bowl may be seen after drinking when a dental procedure including extractions has been done; any active bleeding from the mouth warrants an immediate recheck at the hospital.
  • Any active vomiting or refusal to eat or drink warrants an immediate recheck at the hospital.
  • Any over swelling or discharge from an incision warrants an immediate recheck at the hospital.
  • Bottom line: If your gut tells you your pet needs to be re-examined, then it does need to be seen. We would rather deal with a possible post-procedure complication as early as possible to prevent it from getting any worse if in fact anything is in need of corrective care.

Written by:  Renaud Houyoux