When you pick up your pet after surgery you will be given a chance to talk with our staff, and you will be given post operative instructions specifically for your pet and the surgery performed. These are the instructions to follow. The information on this page is good general information on other things to do at home, as long as they don’t contradict your post operative instructions.

When your pet first returns home from surgery let it have a calm and quiet spot away from other pets and children. Put it in a warm area without any drafts, and make sure it is able lay down on something comfortable.

It might be lethargic from anesthesia and the pain medication it has received, which is what we want so that it is comfortable and does not bother the incision site.

After it is home and settled, offer a small amount of water. Even though most pets are fasted prior to surgery, at our hospital they are given intravenous fluids before, during, and after surgery, so do not worry if your pet does not drink initially.

If it drinks, and does not vomit, offer small amounts of water periodically over the next several hours, and then offer small amounts of food the same way. Give it a chance to go outside to the bathroom several times.

Use all medication, especially pain medication, as directed. What might seem like pain can sometimes be confusion after the day’s activities and surgery. It is rare for a pet to be painful after surgery. We take special precautions so that does not happen. Some of these precautions include:

Preanesthetic pain patch and sedation

Local anesthetic at the surgical site

Laser surgery

Post operative pain injection

Post operative pain medication at home

Nurse anesthetist using the therapy (cold) laser on the incision after a surgery

We go overboard on pain control, and in addition to all the pain medications already mentioned, we use the cold laser (therapy or companion laser) to minimize swelling and post operative pain at the incision site while your pet is still under anesthesia. This cat is getting this treatment after its spay (OVH) surgery

Here it is in action after a dog neuter


 Indications that your pet is in pain include:


Excess panting

Unable to find a comfortable place to sit or lay down

If your pet seems painful several hours after returning home please call us. Our anesthesia page has more on pain control and the precautions we take to minimize pain.

Many pets will go home with an E-Collar (Elizabethan Collar) to prevent them from licking or chewing at the incision site. Leave this collar on at all times until sutures are removed, unless you are in direct supervision.

Some people take the collar off after a few days when healing is progressing well and the collar seemingly is not needed. This coincides with the itchy phase of the healing process, and pets can cause damage to the incision, or worse. Please keep the collar on until sutures, if any are present, are removed.

A staff member jokingly wearing an e-collar.

Make sure you put your E-Collar on your pet and not on yourself!

Observe the incision site several times per day. A minor amount of redness and swelling is usual. If it seems excessive call us and we can check it if necessary.

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