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Dog Recovering from Veterinary Surgery

Dog Recovering from Veterinary Surgery at Picayune Veterinary Clinic

Recovery after surgery is crucial to the success of the procedure. By taking adequate precautions and attending follow-up visits, you can help ensure the best possible outcome. Our veterinary surgeons in Picayune share some key information about surgery for dogs and what you can expect during the recovery process.

Your Dog's Recovery From Surgery

Undergoing a surgical procedure can be frightening and it is no different for your pet. Your pet surgeon is here to ensure that it goes as smoothly and successfully as possible. They will also ensure that recovery goes well by providing you with all of the information needed to properly care for your pet after the surgery.

Once your dog's surgery is complete, your vet surgeon will provide you with all of the information that you need for at-home care for your pet. These instructions are usually precise and will need to be followed closely, be sure to speak with your vet if you have any questions. 

Once you are home with your pet you may not remember some of the post-op instructions that you were provided, and if you need to ask any more questions or have anything clarified be sure to call your veterinary surgeon. Our vet surgeons in Picayune are dedicated to providing the best care possible for your pet.

How long does it take to recover from veterinary surgery?

The recovery time for your pet will depend on the procedure itself. Whether your dog or cat has orthopedic, spay, neuter, or another soft tissue surgery, your veterinarian in Picayune will provide you with an outline for their recovery.

When it comes to dog surgery, the recovery time is typically much quicker for procedures involving soft tissue such as spay or neuter surgery. Other surgeries that involve joints, bones or ligaments will usually take much longer to heal.

If your pet has undergone surgery on soft tissue then you should expect your pet to be feeling more like itself around two or three weeks post-op. However for your pet to be fully healed from surgery it could take around six weeks.

If your dog has undergone surgery that involves their bones, joints, or ligaments then you should expect the healing process to reach about 80% around 8 to 12 weeks into recovery. For your pet to fully recover from their surgery, it may take as long as six months.

The Use of Anesthetic for Veterinary Surgeries

It is most likely that your veterinary surgeon will require the use of an anesthetic for your pet during surgery.  This anesthetic will ensure that the surgery is safe and successful as your pet will be unconscious and be unable to feel the procedure. Once the surgery is finished your pet will need some time to recover from the effects of the anesthetic.

Some of the most common effects of general anesthetic are that your pet may be groggy or sleepy as well as unstable while standing. These effects are perfectly normal and after a short while and some rest your pet should be feeling normal again. It is also possible for a general anesthetic to cause a temporary lack of appetite, this should also return after a short while. If you have any concerns, please contact your veterinary surgeon. 

Does my dog need to eat a special diet while they recover?

Because of the use of a general anesthetic, your dog may experience a lack of appetite as well as possible nausea for a short while. It is a good idea during this time to only feed them a half portion of a lighter type of meal until they are feeling well again. 

You should notice that your dog's appetite returns to normal after about 24 hours. At this point, you can begin to feed your pet as you normally would. If 48 hours have passed and your pet still hasn't returned to regular eating habits then it is highly recommended to contact your vet surgeon as a loss of appetite is a sign of excessive pain or an infection in your pet. 

What are some ways to manage my pet's pain after surgery?

Your dog's surgeon will provide you with a prescription for pain medication and thoroughly explain what it does, what the dosage is and any other instructions that you will need to know about its administration. It is important to follow these instructions exactly as this will ensure that your pet recovers with ease and lowers the risk of possible side effects. If you have any questions be sure to reach out to your vet surgeon.

Some pets also suffer from anxiety and in these cases, your vet surgeon may also prescribe an anxiety medication to help keep your pet relaxed through the duration of the healing process.

Never give your pet human medications as these can be fatal to your pet.

Making Your Dog Comfortable

It is very important to provide your pet with a safe space that they can use to relax quietly and recover without being disturbed. Ensure that they are kept away from any excitement until they are fully healed such as children, household excitement and other pets. Providing them with a soft bed will allow them to lie down comfortably without putting pressure on the surgical site.

Once your pet is home from surgery it is important to keep them as calm as possible and restrict movement and play as any excessive excitement or jumping could potentially open the would and cause complications.

Most pets will do just fine without resorting to confinement. The main thing is just to avoid playtime and keep trips outdoors for necessary walks.

If your pet enjoys jumping up on the furniture then it is recommended to keep them in an area where they will be unable to do this.

Crate Rest During Recovery from Surgery

For most surgeries, it may be necessary to confine your pet. Some surgeries, however, such as orthopedic surgeries, may require confinement or crate rest to prevent your pet from moving and causing complications. If confinement is recommended for your pet after surgery then there are ways to ensure that this experience is still a positive one for your pet.

The crate should be large enough for your pet to comfortably turn around while having plenty of space for any dishes and their bed. It is important that they can move freely without knocking over dishes to keep their crate clean and avoid getting wet or dirty while wearing bandages.

Caring for Your Dog's Wound

Internal stitches will dissolve on their own and will not require a visit for removal, however, other types of stitches will need a veterinary professional to remove.

Stitches that are on the outside of the wound will need to bring your pet back in approximately two weeks to have these removed. Your veterinary surgeon will let you know what is required before you leave.

Protecting the Incision

Your dog may attempt to lick, chew or bite at the site of the wound. In these cases, it may be recommended to fit them with a cone-shaped plastic Elizabethan collar (available in both soft and hard versions) to ensure that this doesn't happen.

There are many different versions of this product on the market that will all provide the same result.

Keeping the Bandages Dry

Keeping your dog's bandages clean and dry will help speed up healing by preventing potential infections from occurring.

Covering your pet's wound in plastic wrap will ensure that the bandages are safe if your pet needs to go outside at all. Using plastic wrap will keep the bandages clean from dirt, grass and water. It is important to remove this plastic wrap as soon as you bring your pet back inside.

Signs of Complications After Veterinary Surgery

While complications are rare, there is still a possibility of the unexpected. If your pet experiences any of these signs, please contact your veterinary surgeon right away:

  • Straining or discomfort during bowel movements or while urinating
  • Vomiting
  • Shaking (In dogs that don't normally shake)
  • Seizures
  • Heavy or difficult breathing
  • Coughing
  • Depression
  • Runny nose with yellow or blood-tinged discharge
  • Infection

Signs of Infection

Your pet's veterinary surgeon will have ensured that all possible precautions were taken to minimize the risk of infection for your dog. Even so, it is important to know the signs of infection and when to contact your vet.

Not all infections are apparent from looking at your pet as infections can affect the internal structures and systems of your pet.

If the infection is affecting the internal systems of your pet you may notice:

  • Lethargy
  • Fever
  • Lack of Appetite
For infections of the wound, you may see signs such as:
  • The incision area could be red and painful.
  • Swilling or discharge in the area of the incision.
  • Your pet may not be moving around much.
  • Your pet is experiencing vomiting or diarrhea.

If you are concerned that your pet may be experiencing an infection or other serious complication, contact your nearest emergency animal hospital right away.

The Importance of Post-Operative Followups

Bringing your pet in for a follow-up exam with your veterinary surgeon in Picayune is important as it allows your vet an opportunity to monitor for any possible adverse effects from the surgery

During the follow-up exam, your vet surgeon will also take the time to re-dress your pet's wounds if needed and ensure that they are properly bandaged.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Is your dog showing any of the signs of complications or infections after their surgery? Contact our Picayune veterinary team right away.

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