How to take care of your pet after an operation

Author: Canadian Living


How to take care of your pet after an operation

This story was originally titled "Post-Op Pet Care" in the September 2008 issue. Subscribe to Canadian Living today and never miss an issue!

Most cats and dogs bounce back quickly after minor surgeries, but it's important to monitor your pet closely after a surgical procedure to avoid any setbacks. Here's how.

• Get the post-op report.
Listen carefully to the veterinarian when you pick your pet up after the surgery. Your vet will tell you how to proceed with medications and any other special instructions for recovery.

• Keep your pet warm. Waking up from anesthesia can leave your pet disoriented and his body temperature may drop. Find a place in your home that is quiet, warm and comfortable, where he won't be disturbed. Give him lots of love but allow for quiet time.

• Restrict movement. Trips outside should be kept short and always on a leash. Carry your pet up stairs or guide him carefully if he has had abdominal or limb surgery, because it may put a strain on the wound. Cats should be confined to areas where they can't jump to high surfaces. Your vet may provide a plastic cone that goes around the animal’s neck to prevent him from licking or biting his wound.

• Limit food and water. Your pet shouldn't eat until the day following the surgery. On that day, feed him just half of what you would normally provide. If he drinks too much water or eats too much, he could become sick. Give him time to settle in and then provide a small amount of water once an hour for the first 12 hours.

• Watch for red flags. Monitor all incisions until healed. Touch the edges of the incision to make sure they are not inflamed or sensitive when touched. Watch the colour of his stool – darker than normal stool could mean bleeding from the stomach and intestine. If he refuses to eat, he may be running a fever.

• Finish all medications. Cats generally don't like antibiotics, so slip one into a soft treat or piece of cheese.

• Be prepared. Keep the number of an emergency veterinary clinic handy in case of complications.

Read more:
Green pets: How to make your pet eco-friendly

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How to take care of your pet after an operation