Operations – Afterwards

We know that many owners may have concerns taking their pet home after an anaesthetic or surgical procedure. Please remember that you do not have to feel that you are on your own. Our trained staff are there to offer all the advice and support you may need.

Most operations are carried out under a full general anaesthetic. After a pre-med injection that includes a calming agent and pain relief, the anaesthetic is usually introduced via a foreleg vein. Some hair will have been clipped over this vein. The area of the body where the operation was carried out will also have been clipped to ensure maximum surgical sterility. Hair will usually grow back within 2-3 months.

After the operation the muscle and skin is sutured (stitched). Skin sutures may be dissolvable ones that are buried under the skin (and so cannot be seen) or nylon stitches that will need to be removed by us – usually in about 10 days.

It is important that your pet does not lick its operation site – it actually slows down healing. Collars are available from Reception that can be used to prevent interference with wounds. Please do not bathe wounds unless instructed to do so by our staff. Sometimes wounds will be covered with a self-adhesive dressing that we will remove at the post-operative check.

When you come to collect your pet, the nurse will advise you of the post-operative care required and will make an appointment for a vet to recheck your pet in 2-4 days.

Due to the anaesthetic, your pet may be sleepy and a bit unsteady for 12-24 hours. During this time your pet should be allowed to rest quietly in a warm (not too hot), comfortable, draught-free place. Offer a light meal but do not worry if your pet does not feel like eating when it gets home – normal appetite should return within 24-48 hours. Make sure clean fresh water is available at all times. (It is better to offer food and water little and often, rather than a large amount at one sitting).

Unless there are specific instructions regarding rest, dogs should only be offered gentle lead exercise in a clean area for the next 7-10 days. Cats should be kept in (you will need to provide a litter tray) until the post-operative check at least. Our staff will advise you when it will be appropriate to let them out.

Please ensure that you are clear about any medication that you need to give your pet after its operation. These may commonly include antibiotics and pain relief.

If your pet has not eaten within 24-48 hours of its operation, or you are concerned about its well- being in any way then please telephone us for advice.