To help your pet to recover from their spay operation as quickly as possible without complications, follow these tips from our Stuart vets.
Why Spaying is Important
Spaying your pet, otherwise known as "fixing" your animal, are elective surgeries that involve sterilization.
The ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), estimates that about 6.5 million animals end up in shelters or rescue systems annually across the United States. Of those animals, less than half are adopted as pets, meaning that millions of healthy cats and dogs are euthanized each year because there is no space for them.
An effective way for you to do your part in reducing the number of unplanned puppies and kittens born every year (and lighten the load of rescues and shelters) is to book your pet's appointment to spay your pet.
What To Expect When Your Dog Gets Home
When your female dog is spayed, its uterus and ovaries are removed through a small incision in the abdominal wall so that your pet is no longer able to become pregnant.
Following this surgery, your pet will need a little extra love and attention to ensure that they recover well.
It is very important to prevent your pet from licking or chewing at its incision site. Your vet may recommend an e-collar or recovery suit (surgical onesie) to block your pet from being able to reach the area. Female pets will have a mid-line incision in their abdomen. It is important to check your pet's incision site daily. There should be no sign of redness or oozing, and swelling should be minimal.
If you see any signs of infection contact your vet for further instructions.
Most dogs will have internal absorbable sutures, with the outer layer of skin held together with water-soluble surgical glue. Do not wash the area, or apply any ointments. Follow the post-op instructions provided by your vet.
If your dog happens to have external sutures or staples, they will need to be removed at the end of the recovery period. It's a good idea to book your dog's follow-up appointment when you pick them up on surgery day.
Every dog is different and some are more energetic than others. Nonetheless, as challenging as it may be, it's important to limit your dog's activity for about 14 days following its surgery.
Stretching and strenuous activity could cause the wound to open, disrupting the healing process and possibly leading to infection. So, that means no running, jumping, playing, or swimming. Dogs should be kept on a leash when outdoors.
Baths are also not allowed during this 14-day recovery period.
Female dogs that were spayed while in heat should be kept well away from male dogs that could still be attracted to them.
It should be noted that spaying does not calm a dog down. Spaying does not have any effect on a dog's personality whatsoever. Each dog has its own positive and negative social habits.
Your dog will be given general anesthesia as part of the surgical process. When your dog first comes out of surgery the after-effects of general anesthesia can leave them feeling a little nauseous and lethargic.
Expect your dog to gradually recover their normal appetite about 24 hours after surgery. Begin by offering smaller portions at first before moving to full-size meals.
If after 24 hours your dog is still lethargic or has symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhea, call your vet immediately for further instructions.
Signs of Potential Complications
Spays are common veterinary surgeries and are considered safe for pets. Complications, however, can occur on occasion. Your dog's incision site will be a little red (same as surgery day or less) but should not get worse. If your dog's incision site does not show signs of healing, contact your vet right away.
Symptoms that can indicate a problem are:
- Lethargy or lack of normal energy more than 24 hours after surgery
- Discharge or bleeding from the incision site
- Pale gums
- Trouble urinating
- Heavy breathing, panting
- Open incision site
- Pet sitting or laying in an unusual position
- Restless behavior
- Shaking or trembling
- Constant or repeated whining
- Relentless attempts to lick or chew incision site
- Hiding or other unusual behavior
A Dog's Recovery From Spaying
Every dog is a little different and your dog's recovery time will depend upon several factors, including their age, size, and overall health. Generally, dogs are good to resume their normal activities after about two weeks of recovery time. Your vet may recommend a follow-up appointment before allowing your dog to resume strenuous activity.
Be sure to follow the post-op instructions provided by your vet and contact your veterinary clinic right away if your pet is taking longer than expected to recover from its surgery.
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.