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PATIENT POST-SURGERY HOMECARE

Your pet has just had surgery and will require special attention to ensure progress is satisfactory. All surgeries cause pain and stress. Because stress can slow the healing process, the care you give in the first hours and days after your pet comes home is the key to a successful and comfortable recovery.

Our skilled surgeons take every precaution to minimize the pain of surgery. We employ the latest methods and products in a proactive approach that includes administering pain medication before, during and after surgery.
Still, surgery is invasive and animals can experience significant pain post-surgery. Because each pet is unique, the degree of pain your pet shows may vary. That is why we can develop an at-home pain management plan specifically for your pet. Depending on the type of procedure your pet had while here, our Doctors may recommend using Therapeutic Laser Treatment at the time of surgery as well as post surgical visits.

Upon leaving the hospital to go home, your pet will become excited which may result in excess thirst and gulping of food. Therefore, for two days, give small amounts of food and water 3-4 times per day. Please do not encourage activity for 5 days. Try to prevent jumping and stair climbing for an additional for the first 3-5 days as well

The incision should be examined once daily. (more info on suture care can be found here) A certain amount of swelling is normal, a large amount is abnormal. If in doubt, call the hospital. Drainage from the incision of more than a few drops is abnormal, so if this occurs please call the hospital. Also, call if any of the following occur:

  • - Not eating or vomiting
  • - Blood in the urine
  • - Rectal temperature rises above 102 degrees

If your pet sustained a fracture (broken bone):
The purpose of the skeleton is for support and your pet lost this support when the fracture occurred. Fortunately, the body has the ability to heal the broken bone if conditions are proper. The purpose of the surgery was to reduce (align) the broken bone and stabilize (fix) the fragments. The stabilization was achieved with a stainless steel implant. The type of implant used will vary depending on the type of fracture.

Your part in the post-operative care is as important as the surgery itself. Small degrees of movement at the fracture line may hinder the cellular healing response. Of course the purpose of the implant is to prevent this movement, but if your pet is allowed too much activity, movement at the fracture line will occur. In fact, the implant may loosen or break with continued stress and the purpose of the surgery lost.

Early in the post-operative period, the pain and discomfort your pet experiences will cause him/her to limit their own activity. However, with time (generally 2-4 weeks) the swelling and pain decreases and they will want to increase activity. It is extremely important to remember that the bone is not healed at this time and most stresses are still absorbed by the implant. You must continue to enforce rest and supervised exercise only. As a rule of thumb you should allow exercise on a leash only. We realize that enforced rest becomes more difficult with increasing post operative time, but you must continue this practice until the fracture is healed (usually 6-8 weeks). Radiographic assessment of the healing response may be needed from 4 to 8 weeks after surgery. The variance in time relates to the age of the patient, severity of the break and the location of the break (different areas of the bone will heal at different rates).

Physical therapy and general care of the incision are important. The skin incision should be checked daily for signs of irritation and/or drainage. If one of these does occur, please contact your veterinarian. Please avoid cleaning the incision of particles of dried blood. This is uncomfortable to your pet and not necessary. Occasionally they may excessively lick the sutures. This in itself will cause irritation and drainage. If this occurs, contact your veterinarian. As a rule, the sutures can be removed 10-14 days after surgery. Please make an appointment for suture removal at this time.

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