Care at home/Discharge instructions

DISCHARGE INSTRUCTION HIGHLIGHTS

1: Keep your pet on a leash at all times when outside until Dr. Hay or Dr. Thomas or a member of our staff instruct you otherwise

2: Read the discharge instructions provided to you, especially the part on wound care

3: Make scheduled recheck appointments

4: Use our office as the only

resource when it comes to answering questions regarding your pets surgery

5: Inform other family members of the plan for care of your pet: especially the no off leash part!

6: Try to incorporate our recommendations with the least stress to your dog and your family. Call our office for advice if you are having a difficult time following our recommendations.

7: The office is staffed continuously from 8 AM Monday until 5 pm Friday and you can call anytime then to ask questions. If you call on weekends and leave a message we will return the call on the same day.

8: Use the E collar (“cone”) we provide to stop your pet from licking the incision.

 

The following are at-home care instructions specific to your pets surgical procedure.

You can also find these instructions as a download and printable format on our “General Patient Information” page.

Post operative care after fracture repair

Exercise Restrictions

Leash walk to urinate and defecate until radiographs have been made that show adequate fracture healing. We generally recommend an x-ray be taken at 8 weeks.

The first 4-6 weeks are critical: it is imperative that no off leash activity is allowed. Try to restrict your pet to a crate, pen or small area within the house.  Try to avoid allowing him/her unrestricted access to places where he/she may slip or fall (stairs, slippery floors).  You may need to support your pet with a rolled up towel slung in-front of the hind legs, as you are walking him/her. Provide a non-slip surface for your pet to walk on. Remember that your pet will probably want to use the leg more than they should, especially at around 1-2 weeks after surgery.  The repair should withstand controlled walking on the leg, but only to go to the bathroom.  Generally after 6 weeks it is safe to let your pet walk on leash for 5-15minutes.  It is highly recommended that you make an appointment after surgery for sedation and x-rays, the recommended time for x-rays is written on separate discharge instructions. Because your pet may need to be sedated for this procedure, do not feed him/her after 10pm the night before, water is OK. Allow up to 2 hrs for the recheck X ray.

Wound care

The incision and associated surgery site may become very swollen over the next few days.  Some of the swelling may move down the leg, which is normal.  In addition you will notice bruising that may become very dark red, and spreads out away from the skin incision.  All this is normal. You should become concerned that your pet may have an infection IF:

A: the wound becomes very swollen or discharges a yellow or green material

B: your dog suddenly stops using the leg or becomes very depressed or lethargic.

If these signs occur, you should contact us at 813 901 5100

Sometimes the wound will ooze some blood during the first 24-48 hours at home.  You should not be alarmed at this; you can hold a cotton sponge over it for 5-10 minutes to stop the bleeding. If necessary you can clean the wound with cotton sponges and warm water, or even a little hydrogen peroxide at the skin edges, being careful not to get it in the wound which can cause some minor irritation.

 

Basic Bandage Care

Check toes daily for coolness or swelling. If toes appear cool or swollen, call our office. The best way to check this is to use your pinky and work it up between the bandage and toes by about 1 to 1 1/2 inches to feel the haired skin on the paw.

Keep the bandage clean and dry. When taking your pet outside, cover the end of the bandage with a plastic bag or glove. Remove the bag or glove when inside to avoid sweating of the paw.

Call our office to have the bandage changed sooner than recommended if it slips, becomes wet or soiled, or if toes appear cool or swollen.

If your pet chews at the bandage, call our office for advice.
 

Post operative care of Dogs after Cranial Cruciate Ligament Surgery

Exercise Restrictions:

WEEK 1: When you are not at home – keep in a crate, pen, small room- bedroom or utility room or bathroom. When you are at home, it is preferable to keep your pet confined. It is absolutely essential to keep him/her on a LEASH when going to the bathroom. Going up and down stairs to go outside is OK as long as you have him/her on a leash. It is OK if your pet wants to get on a sofa or the bed as long as the distance to jump is 50-75% of the height of your pet from his toes to the point of his shoulder blades.

WEEK 2: The same as week 1, except that it is OK to let your pet do more in the house when you are home. This means he/she can follow you around, move at will from room to room. You must block off any stairs or area where he/she may gain access to the outside.

WEEK 3: The same as week 1-2 except, you can allow 5-10 minute leash walks; hold your pet back a little to force them to pull against you. This will allow them to start to toe touch or begin to use the leg. You can leash walk once or twice daily for 5-10 minutes each time. When you are not at home it is generally safe to allow your pet free access in the house- except you must block off stairs or avoid free access to the outdoors

WEEK 4: The same as weeks 1-3 except you can allow swimming for 10-15 minutes once or twice daily. A pool will work best rather than a lake or beach. Do not allow your pet to jump in the water- assist him or her in or out. If you do not have the opportunity to allow swimming, continue with leash walking at 10-15 minutes twice daily. Swimming can be done in addition to walking or instead of it.

WEEKS 5, 6 and 7: The same as week 4, except you can allow swimming for 20-40 minutes once or twice daily and or leash walking for 20-40 minutes once or twice daily.  STILL NO OFF LEASH ACTIVITY

WEEK 8: We recommend a recheck at our clinic at this time. Plan on it taking 10-30 minutes.

Significant red and/or purple bruising may occur at the surgery site and may spread up and down the leg.  Also swelling may develop and travel down to the ankle area and the ankle may swell to 2-3 times the size of normal (“Jelly-Leg”). This is all normal and should not be cause for concern. If the wound oozes a green or yellow material, please call our office.

 

Postoperative care after patellar luxation surgery

1 Exercise restrictions

First 3 weeks: carry outside if your pet is small or if he/she is larger roll up a towel and place it in front of his/her hind legs to act as a safety sling in case your pet slips.  After 5-7 days, you can generally stop using the towel.

Next 6 weeks: leash walk to urinate and defecate.  At 4 weeks after surgery your pet should be able to tolerate 5 minute leash walks, and at about 8-9 weeks 10-20 minute leash walks.

2. Some swelling of the wound is normal, as is some bruising which can be very dark red.  Often as healing progresses, the swelling can move down the leg to the ankle and the bruising can spread out.  You should become concerned that your pet may have an infection IF:

A: the wound becomes very swollen or discharges a yellow or green material

B: your dog suddenly stops using the leg or becomes very depressed or lethargic.

If these signs occur, you should contact us at 813 901 5100

Sometimes the wound will ooze some blood during the first 24-48 hours at home.  You should not be alarmed at this; you can hold a cotton sponge over it for 5-10 minutes to stop the bleeding.

You may also notice some swelling at the point of the knee, and you may be able to feel small pins at this site.  This is normal, since in some cases pins are used to re-align the knee cap, they are usually not removed unless they cause lameness and pain or migrate through the skin.

3. What is a normal postoperative course?

For the first 2-4 weeks your pet will probably hold the leg up most of the time and then start to place it and then progressively improve.  Small breed dogs such a yorkies, poodles etc. will often hold the leg up for longer (i.e. 3-4 weeks).  If you are concerned that your pet is not improving well enough, please call your Veterinarian for advice.  It may take several days before your pet has a bowel movement, this is normal, since anesthesia can slow intestinal movement.

 

Post operative care after fracture repair (Feline)

Exercise Restrictions

Keep inside until radiographs have been made that show adequate fracture healing. If necessary, use a large dog-crate with a litter box and food/water inside to confine your cat.

The first 4-6 weeks are critical: it is imperative that no outside activity is allowed. Try to restrict your pet to a crate, pen or small area within the house.  Try to avoid allowing him/her unrestricted access to places where he/she may slip or fall (stairs, slippery floors).  Remember that your pet will probably want to use the leg more than they should, especially at around 1-2 weeks after surgery.  The repair should withstand controlled walking on the leg, but only to go to the bathroom.  Generally after 1-2 weeks it is safe to let your pet walk more in the house.  It is highly recommended that you make an appointment after surgery for sedation and x-rays, the recommended time for x-rays is written on discharge instructions attached Because your pet may need to be sedated for this procedure, do not feed him/her after 10pm the night before, water is OK.

Wound care

The incision and associated surgery site may become very swollen over the next few days.  Some of the swelling may move down the leg, which is normal.  In addition you will notice bruising that may become very dark red, and spreads out away from the skin incision.  All this is normal. You should become concerned that your pet may have an infection IF:

A: the wound becomes very swollen or discharges a yellow or green material

B: your dog suddenly stops using the leg or becomes very depressed or lethargic.

If these signs occur, you should contact us at 813 901 5100

Sometimes the wound will ooze some blood during the first 24-48 hours at home.  You should not be alarmed at this; you can hold a cotton sponge over it for 5-10 minutes to stop the bleeding. If necessary you can clean the wound with cotton sponges and warm water, or even a little hydrogen peroxide at the skin edges, being careful not to get it in the wound which can cause some minor irritation.

 

Post operative care after neurological surgery (Continent)

Exercise

General nursing care is important to prevent scalding of urine and feces until he/she recovers. Try to keep your pet in a well padded area on a surface that is easy to clean. Generally a crate or blocked off area in the kitchen, garage or bathroom will work best. Check your pet daily for abrasions and scalding around his/her bottom and inner thighs. You can wash him/her off as necessary in the tub. After 2-3 days do not worry about getting the incision wet-there is a good seal on it. You may need to apply some Desitin diaper rash cream to the affected area. You can purchase this cream from any pharmacy.

It is generally safe to pick your pet up; a technician can give you advice if you are unsure.  It is always best to go slow. Large dogs that cannot be carried will need to be supported by forming a sling with a towel and placing it in front of the hind legs to support him/her.

Once your pet begins to walk or move the back legs you can let him/her do more in the house.  Be careful to block off any stairs to avoid them from getting into trouble.  Continue to use a leash when taking him/her outside so that they do not try to run around too much.  Once you judge that your pet is walking 90-95% of normal, you can allow resumption of normal activity. If this occurs within the first 1-2 weeks then your pet is doing exceptionally well, we would recommend restricting activity for 3 weeks to allow the wound to heal properly.

Time frame for recovery

Dogs take a long time to recover from neurologic injury.  One of the first things to return (fortunately) is ability to consciously urinate and defecate; followed by the ability to move the hind legs, then the ability to walk.  Generally, most patients improve in 2-4 weeks and recover by 8-10 weeks after surgery.  Some patients will remain wobbly (ataxic) on the hind legs for a long time or permanently as a result of the injury.

Wound care

The incision and associated surgery site may become swollen over the next few days.  In addition, you will notice bruising that may become very dark red, and spreads away from the skin incision.  All this is normal.

You should become concerned that your pet may have an infection IF:

A: the wound becomes very swollen or discharges a yellow or green material

B: your dog suddenly stops using the leg or becomes very depressed or lethargic

If these signs occur, contact us at 813 901 5100

Sometimes the wound will ooze some blood during the first 24-48 hours at home. You should not be alarmed at this. You can hold a cotton sponge over it for 5-10 minutes to stop the bleeding. If necessary, you can clean the wound with cotton sponges and warm water or a little hydrogen peroxide at the skin edges, being careful not to get it in the wound. Hydrogen peroxide in the wound can cause some minor irritation.

 

 

Post operative care after neurological surgery (Incontinent)

Exercise

Your pet may be incontinent as a result of the neurologic injury.  General nursing care is important to prevent scalding of urine and feces until he/she recovers.  Try to keep your pet in a well-padded area on a surface that is easy to clean.  Generally a crate or blocked off area in the kitchen, garage or bathroom will work best. Check your pet daily for abrasions and scalding around his/her bottom and inner thighs.  You can wash him/her off as necessary in the tub. After 2-3 days do not worry about getting the incision wet-there is a good seal on it.  You may need to apply some Desitin diaper rash cream to the affected area.  You can purchase this cream from any pharmacy.

It is generally safe to pick your pet up; a technician can give you advice if you are unsure.  Large dogs that cannot be carried will need to be supported by forming a sling with a towel and placing it in front of the hind legs to support him/her.

Once your pet begins to walk you can let him/her do more in the house.  Be careful to block off any stairs to avoid them from getting into trouble.  Continue to use a leash when taking him/her outside so that they do not try to run around too much.  Once you judge that your pet is walking 90-95% of normal, you can allow resumption of normal activity.

Do not confuse the presence of urine in the cage/blanket with an ability to urinate.  All this means is that urine is overflowing from the bladder.  It is important to try and express the bladder 2-3 times daily to minimize stretching of the bladder.   You can do this by pressing on the abdomen with both hands, while supporting your pet.  You have to press quite firmly to do this and it is quite difficult.  Once your pet appears to be consciously urinating (i.e. voids when taken outside), you can then stop expressing the bladder.  One of the technicians or your veterinarian at the hospital can show you how to do this.  Male dogs as a rule are harder to express than females. Do not be discouraged if you cannot express your dog’s bladder. He/she will hopefully recover quickly enough that it will not affect the long-term outcome.

Time frame for recovery

Dogs take a long time to recover from neurologic injury.  One of the first things to return (fortunately) is ability to consciously urinate and defecate; followed by the ability to move the hind legs, then the ability to walk.  Generally, most patients improve in 2-4 weeks and recover by 8-10 weeks after surgery.  Some patients will remain wobbly (ataxic) on the hind legs for a long time or permanently as a result of the injury.

Wound care

The incision and associated surgery site may become swollen over the next few days. In addition, you will notice bruising that may become very dark red, and spreads away from the skin incision.  All this is normal.

You should become concerned that your pet may have an infection IF:

A: the wound becomes very swollen or discharges a yellow or green material

B: your dog suddenly stops using the leg or becomes very depressed or lethargic

If these signs occur, contact us at 813 901 5100.

Sometimes the wound will ooze some blood during the first 24-48 hours at home. You should not be alarmed at this. You can hold a cotton sponge over it for 5-10 minutes to stop the bleeding. If necessary, you can clean the wound with cotton sponges and warm water or a little hydrogen peroxide at the skin edges, being careful not to get it in the wound. Hydrogen peroxide in the wound can cause some minor irritation.

 

 

Postoperative care after Perineal Hernia Repair

1. Exercise Restrictions

Leash walk to urinate and defecate for 3 weeks, try and avoid unrestricted activity outside, try to avoid playing with other dogs/pets inside the house.

2. Some swelling of the wound is normal, as is some bruising which can be very dark red. Often as healing progresses, the swelling can move outward and the bruising can spread out.  You should become concerned that your pet may have an infection IF:

A: The wound becomes very swollen or discharges a yellow or green material.

B:  Your dog becomes very depressed or lethargic

Sometimes the wound will ooze some blood during the first 24-48 hours at home.  You should not be alarmed at this; you can hold a cotton sponge over it for 5-10 minutes to stop the bleeding.

3. What is a normal postoperative course?

Your pet should want to drink, and may eat with a little coaxing.  He should be urinating normally, it may take 2-3 days for a bowel movement and when this occurs, there may be straining for the first few times.  For about 2 weeks you pet may be temporarily incontinent as a result of stretching the muscles during the repair.  This should improve, permanent incontinence is rare after this surgery, but is possible.  An occasional complication is rectal prolapse, where the rectum will pooch out after defecation, if it persists and will not go back in, please call for advice as soon as possible.

4. Dietary recommendations:  There are no special recommendations regarding diet.

 

 Postoperative care after perineal urethrostomy

1 Exercise restrictions

If your cat goes outdoors, you need to keep your cat indoors during the recovery phase (2-3 weeks)

2. Some swelling of the wound is normal,

You should become concerned that your pet may have an infection IF:

A: the wound becomes very swollen or discharges a yellow or green material

If these signs occur, you should contact your veterinarian

3 What is a normal postoperative course?

Your cat should urinate at least once per day.  If he appears to be having trouble urinating, please call for advice.  An Elizabethan collar will be in place on his neck.  It is very important that you leave this in place to stop him from chewing sutures out.  He should be able to eat and drink with it on.  If the collar comes off, it must be placed back on again.

4 Other information

The timing of suture removal is very important.  Generally sutures are removed in 10-12 days and most cats require sedation for this.  Plan to make an appointment with your veterinarian and fast your cat after 10pm the night before.  Water is O.K up until the appointment. You may need to place the Elizabethan collar back on for 1-2 days after suture removal especially if your kitty continues to lick excessively at the surgery site.

Recommendations about cat litter:

Some patients are sent home with a special paper litter to urinate in.  Regular cat litter is usually O.K; however, the litter may stick to the incision.  Generally this can be picked off lightly or washed off with a little water.  Your cat may not tolerate this well, and if you are concerned that there is excessive build up of litter at the incision, please call.  There is often build up of hair around the sutures; you should not try to remove this.

Long term considerations

Your cat will now urinate through a larger opening, which minimizes the chances of obstruction again.  Occasionally a stricture can form at the site, which may mean more surgery.  Fortunately this is rare.  Sometimes it is possible to minimize the chances of recurrence by altering your cat’s diet.  You should discuss this with your veterinarian.

 

Postoperative care after total ear canal ablation and lateral bulla osteotomy

1. Exercise restrictions

Leash walk to urinate and defecate for 3 weeks.

2. Some swelling of the wound is normal, as is some bruising which can be very dark red.  Often as healing progresses, the swelling can move outward and the bruising can spread out.  You should become concerned that your pet may have an infection IF:

A: the wound becomes very swollen or discharges a yellow or green material

B: your dog becomes very depressed or lethargic.

If these signs occur, you should contact your veterinarian

Sometimes the wound will ooze some blood during the first 24-48 hours at home.  You should not be alarmed at this; you can hold a cotton sponge over it for 5-10 minutes to stop the bleeding.

3. What is a normal postoperative course?

Your dog may shake his/her ears as a result of the sutures being present until they are removed.  Please continue to give the antibiotics as directed.  Once the results of a bacterial culture from the ears are known it may be that the antibiotics need to be changed or continued for longer.  These results take 5-10 days to come back and you should discuss the need for additional antibiotics with your veterinarian at suture removal.

Facial nerve paralysis may be present, which causes an inability to close the eyelids on the affected side.  This should not cause long term serious problems, however, if there seems to be an excessive discharge from the eye (either clear or cloudy) or your dog appears to be rubbing at the eye, please call for advice.  Sometimes a superficial ulcer or infection could develop and cause these signs.

 

 

 

Veterinary Surgical Specialists
7512 Paula Drive Tampa, FL 33615
P: (813) 901-5100 F: (813) 901-5102