What to expect
You may notice that getting your cat or dog fixed at a low-cost clinic is a little different than if you take them to a full-service vet. This is because we take in a large number of animals each day with the goal of completing the surgeries as inexpensively and safely as possible. Because we are a high volume, nonprofit clinic, you may find that our phonelines are often busy. With so many clients to attend to and a small staff, trying to reach us via phone is not always the best way to get in touch with us. If you have questions that our website cannot help with, try emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please read the detailed instructions below in order to be fully prepared for your pet's procedure both before and after surgery.
CAUTION: If your cat is going home the same day of surgery: your cat may still be under the effects of anesthesia and may display aggression. Please do not handle or let out of carrier until after 7 pm as it may result in injury to you or your pet.
What to look out for post-operatively:
- Stitches - The stitches that were used to close the incision are buried under the skin. They do not require removal and will dissolve on their own over the next 100 days. The skin has a layer of surgical glue for reinforcement. If the glue gets wet, it will dissolve and the incision will not heal properly. The incision takes 7-10 days to heal. It is extremely important that your pet wear the E-collar (lamp shade) to prevent them from getting to the incision. Minimal redness and swelling may occur and should resolve within several days. After 7 days, if there is no swelling or discharge near the incision site, the E-collar may be removed. Also, your pet should not get wet during this time period. We recommend you check your pet’s incision twice a day to check for changes including redness, irritation or drainage. If you have any questions or concerns please follow up with our clinic.
- Licking - If your pet is a dog, it is important that your pet wears an E-collar after surgery. The E-collar will prevent your pet from licking or chewing the incision. It is very important that the collar stays on at all times for 7 days. We recommend Bitter Apple Spray for cats to prevent licking, which is available for purchase at our clinic. Please contact us if the spray does not work for your cat and we may recommend an E-collar at that time.
- Food and Water - Your pet has just received anesthesia. We recommend that you feed a small portion (1/2) of your pet’s normal meal today. Your pet’s appetite should return gradually within 24 hours of surgery. Do not change your pets diet at this time, and if lethargy, poor appetite, diarrhea or vomiting persists for 24 hours, contact us immediately.
- Pain Medication - There is some discomfort associated with surgery; your pet recieved pain medication at the time of surgery; however, we highly recommend pain control for several days after surgery. This allows your pet to heal more comfortable and with significantly decreased risk of postoperative complication. We offer, pain medication (Meloxicam) for your cat and very small dog patients here at our clinic for a small additional fee. For our dog patients, pain medication (Carprofen) is available here at our clinic for a small additional fee. For our cat patients, an additional prescription for pain medication is included in your discharge packet. The prescriptions for cats (Buprenex) can be filled at Vital Care Compounder here in Hattiesburg or any compounding pharmacy. **IMPORTANT** Your pet will not need any pain medication for 24 hours after surgery; please do not dispense additional pain medication before this time. Do not give any other oral medications such as aspirin, tylenol, or any medicine not prescribed by our veterinarian as it may make your pet sick or even be fatal.
- Cat Litter - If your male cat was neutered, the incision is always left open to heal without stitches. Therefore, cat litter may get kicked up into the incision and cause infection. We recommend that you use shredded newspaper or a dust- free litter for 7 days after surgery. This is not necessary for female cats.
- Exercise - It is very important that you restrict your pet’s activity level to a minimum - short leash walks only for 7-10 days days after surgery. No running, jumping, playing, or swimming in order to allow the surgical site to adequately heal. Please keep your pet inside or confined during the next 7-14 days. Too much activity can lead to complications for your pet.
- Grooming - Do not give your pet a bath or have them groomed for 7 days after surgery. Water can cause the surgical glue to prematurely dissolve, and the incision will not heal properly. Do not clean the incision site or apply topical medications of any kind to the incision site. Do not use any type of bandage, diaper or clothing to cover the incision site. These can lead to infection and inhibit proper healing.
- Other Pets - The E-collar cannot prevent other animals from licking the incision site. We recommend that you separate your other pets from the patient until the healing process is over. We also recommend that you do not allow any rough playing that may cause harm to the incision. If your female dog or cat was in heat at the time of surgery, you must keep them away from intact males for at least two weeks. While they are unable to become pregnant, they will still attract males for a short period of time. If a male dog attempts to breed the female, it can cause serious, possibly life-threatening, damage to the female.
- Scrotal Neuters - If your pet is a male dog, he was neutered using a scrotal neuter technique. Male pets may look as if they still have testicles; this is a normal side effect and swelling should subside gradually through the recovery process. A small opening was left at each end of the incision to allow the surgical site to drain. A small amount of drainage is to be expected but should be clear to light pink in color. Drainage is necessary so that swelling does not occur. If you notice drainage that is any other color, or any swelling, please contact us.
- Tattoo - Your pet has a small green tattoo near the incision site.. This allows us, other clinics, and animal control to see that this animal has already been fixed.
What to look out for post-operatively:
- Urination/Defecation - Your pet may not urinate or have a bowel movement when he/she comes home. It is not uncommon for some pets to develop diarrhea or constipation post-surgery. If diarrhea persists after 24 hours, or if your pet has bloody stool, please contact us. Some cats may not use the litter box with the shredded paper. An alternative dust-free litter may be purchased at any pet supply store. If, after 24 hours, there is still no urine or normal stool, contact our clinic (601) 544-5678.
- Nausea - Anesthesia may cause upset stomach in some pets. It may take your pet up to 24 hours for the anesthesia to completely leave their system depending on age/health. If your pet is discharged the same day of surgery, do not be alarmed if your pet seems sleepy tonight. He/she should be back to normal by the morning.
- Incision - The incision was closed with dissolvable stitches. A small bump may be present due to the knot left under the skin which is normal and should resolve within about 100 days. Please check the incision daily. It is normal to notice a light amount of redness or bruising around the incision. It is not normal if you notice pus or blood oozing from the incision or if the incision has opened. If you notice any of this, please contact us.
- Hiding - Some animals will hide when they come home. We recommend that you keep your pet in a smaller room or crate to ensure that you can give their medication and check the incision daily. Hiding may indicate some pain and if your pet did not go home with pain medication, we recommend you contact us to speak about receiving pain medication.
- Vaccination reaction - Vaccinations given at the appropriate age and at the appropriate intervals will greatly benefit your pet and protect it against some life threatening diseases. Although most pets do not react adversely to a vaccination, some have had allergic or other systemic reactions after receiving a vaccine; occasionally the allergic reaction may be life threatening. If your dog develops facial swelling or your cat develops a lump under the skin following a vaccination, you should have it examined by our veterinarian as soon as possible as these conditions may be life threatening and may require extensive medical or surgical treatment.