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FAQs After Surgery, Anesthesia and Procedures

How do I provide postoperative care for my pet?
Personalized aftercare instructions are provided after your pet’s surgery.  The instructions will cover medications, feeding instructions, wound care instructions, allowed activity levels and when your pet needs to return to VSC for staple removal, recheck or radiographs.

It is vital that the postoperative instructions are followed closely in all cases.  Failure to do so may result in complications such as wound breakdown (dehiscence), infection, or breakage of implants (plates/screws etc.).

A copy of your pet’s discharge instructions is sent to your family veterinarian when your pet is discharged from VSC.  If you have any questions about the instructions you have received, please contact VSC at 321-610-1999.

Who do I contact with an after-hours emergency?
Please call VSC at 321-610-1999.  Please note that VSC is not affiliated with any of the emergency clinics in our area.  If your pet is under our care and has visited an emergency clinic over the weekend or overnight, please contact VSC on the next business day so that we can provide continued care at our hospital if needed.

Care of Bandages
Download our Care of Bandages PDF for detailed information.

My pet has not had a bowel movement yet…
Defecation is frequently abnormal after anesthesia and surgery. This is due to the combination of drug therapy, low-grade surgical pain or discomfort, and environmental changes. Your pet may not defecate for several days after a hospital stay. This should not cause a great concern, providing your pet is not straining to defecate. If no stool is seen within 4 to 5 days of discharge, please contact VSC during regular business hours (8am to 6pm M-F).

My pet is not eating as well as usual…
After anesthesia, surgery and a hospital stay it is not unusual for your pet to have a decreased appetite due to the combination of recent anesthesia, pain medications, antibiotic treatment, environmental changes and a decrease in activity level.

If your pet has no special dietary instructions from the doctor, it is acceptable to entice them with a special food (like boiled chicken and rice) in small quantities. This should be offered in combination with your pet’s normal diet. Please avoid foods that are “rich” or high in fat content, and do not feed any “people food” apart from the bland chicken and rice mentioned above.

My pet is restless, whimpering, or cannot get comfortable…
This is not uncommon in the first few hours or days after discharge from the hospital. This may be due to the recent hospital experience, anxiety, changes in the normal home environment (e.g. confinement if they are not used to a crate),changes in their usual routine or low grade pain. If your pet calms down when you pet and talk to them, the behavior you are seeing is most likely not due to pain. If you feel your pet’s pain management is not adequate, please call VSC during regular hours (8am to 6pm M-F).

My pet was using the operated leg well, but has suddenly stopped doing so…
This may occur because of overuse of the surgery leg, or is sometimes seen after removal of a bandage. If your pet stops using the operated leg (in the absence of evident pain or deformity of the limb) restricting their activity for 24 hours may help. Continue pain medications and anti-inflammatories as directed. A warm compress directly to the surgical site may help.

If your pet does not improve with rest after 24 hours, or if you are concerned, please call VSC during regular office hours to speak with a technician to arrange a recheck for your pet.

The incision is red, inflamed or has a discharge…
If your pet is licking or chewing the incision and causing irritation use an Elizabethan collar to prevent this. If you do not have one, you can pick one up at VSC, your family veterinarian or your local pet store.

All surgical incisions should be clean and dry – any discharge is abnormal, and you should call VSC as soon as possible to arrange a recheck.