What to expect after surgery

Dogs and cats are truly amazing to watch after surgery.

They are almost always 100% positive throughout the process.  There is nothing more rewarding than seeing a dog wag its tail or a cat purr and do a little head butt the following day after a major surgical procedure. However, we have to remember that they are in pain and continuing to tend them is very important. Your job as a pet owner is to try and see things from the animal’s point of view as well as being their “brain” for them so as to provide the best environment possible for healing.

The procedure for pick up from our office is:

1. Arrive at the pre-arranged discharge time.

2. Approach the front desk and let them know who you are.

3. The receptionist will give you the remainder of the bill to pay.

4. One of our technicians will come find you within 5-10 minutes, and you’ll proceed to the one of the exam rooms where the technician will go over discharge instructions, medications, and address any questions you have. They can show you any X-rays that have been made during treatment of your pet. Our technicians have considerable experience and we encourage you to listen to what they have to say and ask questions! The doctors are generally not involved in the discharge process and it is not routine to meet with the doctor at that time. If you feel that you need to talk to the doctor please let Debbi know that when she is setting the discharge time with you. Our doctors are generally consulting with patients during discharge hours and it may be necessary to have them call you.

5. You may need to make any recheck appointments.

6. The technician will bring your pet to you and provide assistance getting to the car if needed.

Your pet’s transition home

It is very important to have a plan for what needs to be done at home to prepare for your pet’s arrival. Please inform other family members regarding your pet’s care.

Do you need a crate? Will your pet rest in a crate or is it better to make a pen or keep them in a small room? Your pet will want to go back to a routine, but in some cases this may not be possible for a while.

If they sleep in bed with you, is the bed too high? Can you take the mattress and box springs out of the frame to lower everything? Will your pet rest more peacefully if put in a crate next to your bed?

How does your pet behave when you are away from the house? Will they paw at a door to get out? How slippery are the floors in your house? Can you use area mats or rugs to provide a better walking surface? Are you prepared to keep them on a leash? Will you have to carry them up stairs? Will you have to block off stairs to ensure your pet’s safety?

We want your pet’s routine to be as normal as possible without causing harm to what we have done surgically. It’s almost always the case that we recommend keeping your pet on a leash when going outside. This provides you control over their activity level which is very important for the best healing to occur. You should only let your pet off of the leash after we tell you that it’s appropriate to do so.

It is very important tha your pet rests as much as possible inside the house with the least amount of stress. If they will crate, and are happy in there, it will really help. However, if putting your dog in a crate is counter-productive i.e: he/she paws at the door, paces, barks and will not settle down, then it is necessary to find an alternative. Will they rest in a small room? Will a blocked off section in the family area work? Think about what it is that your dog does all day and try to allow them to do that in a smaller space.

You will need to keep an eye on the skin wound. Do a visual check of it at least twice per day and remember it will change. There is often purple bruising that develops distant to the incision after your pet goes home. Read the discharge instructions that were provided to you and if you still have questions, don’t hesitate to call us for advice.

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