After Surgery FAQ

Frequently asked questions about after your dog or cat's surgery

If you still cannot find an answer and are concerned about your pet, bring directly to our clinic between 9am and 3pm on Tuesday-Friday or 9am to Noon on Saturday. There is no examination fee at Spay and Neuter Kansas City to look at your pet within 10 days of the surgery.

If you pet’s condition appears to be life threatening, please call your nearest emergency veterinary clinic. We recommend the following: 

VCA Mission Animal Referral and Emergency Center
5914 Johnson Dr. Mission, KS
P: 913-722-5566

You are responsible for all costs associated with your pet’s emergency care

General Post-Surgery FAQs

My pet had surgery today and is still groggy. Is this normal?

It is common for your pet to be a little groggy the first night. Your pet may be drowsy for 24-48 hours from the anesthesia. Wearing an e-collar can also appear to be making your pet groggy as they may not want to move with it on. If you think your pet is groggy, try putting a few dabs of corn syrup, honey or pancake syrup under the tongue. This may help raise your pet’s blood sugar level. If your pet is still extremely groggy, contact the after hours emergency phone number on your take home instructions or visit your closest after hours veterinary hospital (at your own expense). Please keep in mind that cat surgeries are done after dog surgeries, therefore, they may appear to be more sleepy because of the time frame for the anesthetic to wear off.

My pet is vomiting after eating/drinking. Is this normal?

When your pet gets home from surgery, you should offer water and ¼ of a normal meal. Give your pet about an hour to digest that meal and if they are able to keep that down, you may offer more. However, if your pet is having repetitive vomiting after eating the day of surgery, then take away the food and try feeding again the next morning. It is common to have some vomiting after anesthesia. You may leave the water down for your pet to stay hydrated, but be sure that they are not gulping the water, as excessive amounts can lead to vomiting as well. If your pet is gulping the water, limit the amount that you put in the bowl at one time. Lethargy lasting for more than 24 hours post-op, and continued diarrhea and/or vomiting are not normal and your pet should be seen by our clinic (with no exam fee) or your full service vet clinic (at your own expense).

Is it ok that my pet hasn’t eaten or drank any water?

It is not uncommon for your pet to not be hungry after surgery. If your pet refuses to eat, you may give them a hard boiled egg, boiled chicken/hamburger meat, or cooked rice (all bland food with no seasoning) as this may help increase their appetite. To entice a pet to drink water, you may add small amount of low or no sodium beef or chicken broth to the water. If your pet continues to refuse water or food after 24 hours, please visit one of our clinics to assess your pet.

Is it normal for my pet to be shivering or shaking a lot?

This is not uncommon and can be a side effect of the anesthetic wearing off, which should resolve within 24-48 hours; or it could be anxiety. Remember, your pet does not understand he or she had surgery. Try your best to not hover over your pet as that may increase their anxiety. You may also apply a warm towel from the dryer on your pet for comfort. If you did not purchase additional pain medication you may come into the clinic to purchase additional pain medication to help your pet recover.

I think my pet is in pain. What should I do?

ALL pets (dogs & cats) and feral cats are given a standard 12 hour pain injection the day of surgery (or if you purchased a 72 hour pain injection, that has already been administered). If you purchased additional pain medication to go home, please follow instructions on the label. The dosage is adequate for your pet and will allow them to recover comfortably. Do not give more than the recommended dose. If you did not purchase additional pain medication you may come into the clinic to purchase that additional pain medication to help your pet recover. If your pet is out of pain medication and you believe he /she is still in pain, please bring into our clinic the next open business day. DO NOT give any human pain medications or medications prescribed for other pets.

My pet won’t lay down or rest. Does this happen often?

Your pet may be somewhat groggy, confused, uncomfortable, or not used to the e-collar, so being anxious is not uncommon. Provide your pet a comfortable place to lay down and try your best to not hover or push them into laying down. The e-collar can be extremely confusing to them and they may feel they are unable to move. However, your pet will lay down and rest eventually. If you feel the issue is due to the e-collar, you may visit PetCo or PetSmart to purchase other types of e-collars that may be more tolerable for your pet, but please be sure to utilize an e-collar during post-op healing for the wellbeing of your pet.

What do I do if my pet hasn’t pooped or peed?

It can be normal for your pet to not poop or pee the day of surgery. You have withheld food the night before surgery, therefore, there may not be any food for them to break down in their system currently. Additionally, we often express the bladder just before surgery and/or your pet has peed or pooped already at our clinic. Also, your pet may feel “off” or anxious due to the e-collar. You can temporarily remove the collar to allow your pet to eliminate, but make sure to put it back on when finished. If your pet has not pooped/peed within 48 hours after surgery, you should visit our clinic during business hours or you should seek out a full service vet clinic (at your expense).

What should I do if there is a lot of swelling in the scrotum?

If you have a male dog that is over 50 lbs, then there is a 50% chance that your dog can develop a scrotal hematoma. Cats are less likely than dogs to develop a hematoma, but it is possible. A scrotal hematoma is the collection of blood and fluids inside the scrotum. It occurs when bleeding resumes after closing of the incision site due to trauma or other conditions. The scrotum may swell, bruise, and is often painful.

It is very important that you restrict your pet’s activity. No running, jumping, rough housing allowed. Walk your pet outside on a leash to urinate and defecate. Do not let your pet run around the yard. An e-collar should be kept on your pet at all times. You may purchase one from our clinic for from a pet store such as Petco or PetSmart.

To help prevent issues associated with a hematoma, it is recommended to use cold/ice compresses (if tolerated by the pet!) on the scrotum for 24 hours post-op. Apply an ice pack wrapped in a thin towel to the scrotum for 10 minutes, 3 times a day for the next few days.

If swelling continues and the scrotum is growing larger and is dripping blood, you should visit our clinic immediately. Please do not feed your pet in case the veterinarian needs to surgically repair the site. If our clinic is closed, contact the emergency clinic immediately. You are responsible for paying the cost of this visit and all treatments directly to the emergency clinic or private veterinarian.

What if my pet’s incision is swollen?

Gently touch the swollen area to see if it is hard or soft. If it is hard, it is most likely the suture material being absorbed. This is not uncommon and will eventually go away. It can take several months for the material to be completely absorbed by the body. If the swelling is larger than a grape, or if the swollen area is soft, it should be looked at and you may bring your pet into our walk in clinic. Our walk in clinic hours are Tuesday-Friday from 9 am – 3 pm and Saturdays 9 am – 12 pm. (We offer a free examination for any pet who received surgery with SNKC within the past 10 days who is exhibiting abnormal behaviors/concerns.)

It looks like the incision is opening or draining. What should I do?

It doesn’t take much for your pet to do damage to the incision site. If your pet does not have an e-collar on, you should purchase one from our clinic or from Petco or PetSmart. Running, jumping, or excessive activity can cause stress on the incision site. Dogs should be leash walked only (no running loose or rough housing) for one full week after surgery. Cats should be kept indoors if at all possible for one week. You may utilize a pet crate or small room with the door closed to keep your pet’s activity to a minimum.

A few drops or slight draining may occur at the incision site, however, he/she needs to be looked at. If you feel the bleeding or draining is not life threatening, bring your pet to our clinic during regular business hours. If it is a Saturday afternoon, Sunday or Monday (hours that we are closed) we encourage you to call the emergency clinic.

Major bleeding that appears to be life threatening is serious and you should call the emergency number provided on your post-surgical instructions packet immediately or take your pet to the nearest emergency clinic. If your female dog or cat’s incisions opens up completely and/or you see tissues protruding from the incision site, contact and/or visit the emergency clinic immediately. You are responsible for paying the cost of the visit and all treatments directly to the emergency clinic or private veterinarian.

My female pet was pregnant before surgery. Should I pay special attention to her?

Yes. Due to the stresses of both surgery and pregnancy, your pet is at a higher risk for metabolic changes and pain-related issues. Please ensure she is eating and comfortable especially the first 1-3 days post-op.

My pet's face is swollen and they had vaccines today. Is this normal? What should I do?

This sounds like an allergic reaction to the immunization(s). Typically a patient who is experiencing a vaccine-related reaction will show symptoms within the first 4 hours following immunization. You can give your pet Benadryl to help remedy the symptoms. Please contact us for the appropriate dose. If your pet has severe allergic symptoms (ie-trouble breathing, weakness, collapse) please return here immediately or to a full-service veterinarian for care.

What should I do if my pet’s e-collar is scratching the incision site.

If the e-collar is scratching the incision site or your pet can reach the incision site with the e-collar on, you should either bring the pet into our clinic get a larger collar OR PetSmart and Petco carry other types of e-collars that may work better for your pet.

I have other pets in the house. Do I need to separate them from my pet that had surgery today?

That depends on your pets’ behaviors. If you have another pet that wants to nurture your surgery pet, they may want to “clean” their incision site for them, which makes the e-collar on the surgery pet ineffective. Also, other pets in the house are feeling fine and may want to entice the surgery pet into playing, which is something that should be avoided for 7-10 days. Your pet who has had surgery, may also be feeling grumpy or uncomfortable and may not want the additional attention from other pets. In all of these cases, you should separate your surgery pet from the others, especially when you are not there to supervise.

It looks like my pet has razor burn.

Your pet’s hair was shaved prior to surgery and there can be resulting mild/moderate “razor burn”. This looks like redness/bumps on skin. This will resolve within a few days. If your pet is licking the area, you should apply an e-collar on your pet. You may also apply topical Hydrocortisone cream to the skin (not on the incision) 4 times daily.

Should I bandage/cover the incision site and/or put on Neosporin?

No. Healthy skin will heal on its own and bandage placement or neosporin could cause more skin irritation.

How is the green line tattoo applied? If my pet licks the ink, will it hurt them?

A superficial skin incision is made near the surgery site, green tattoo ink is applied along with tissue glue. This is a universally recognized tattoo that identifies your pet has been spayed or neutered. The ink or glue is non-toxic and should not hurt your pet if licked.

Can my pet travel or go into boarding while recovering?

No. Please no travel or boarding your pet until 10 days post-op. It could delay recovery due to stress.

What if my pet gets dirty after surgery? Can I bathe them?

No. If the incision should become dirty, gently clean the area with a cotton ball and mildly soapy water. You must not allow your dog or cat to get wet for at least 7 days after surgery. For this reason, bathing is also prohibited for at least one week after surgery.

Can my pet eat/drink with their e-collar on?

Yes. Although the e-collar can temporarily be removed if your pet is reluctant to eat/drink with it on.

My pet had some teeth pulled today. Should I feed them wet food for awhile?

To help alleviate discomfort, you can soften your pet’s regular dry food with water for 2 days post-op

Do I need to come back for a suture removal?

No. The sutures are internal and will be absorbed by the body over the next few months. If you are seeing suture material protruding from the incision site, please visit our clinic on the next available business day for a free examination.

My male pet was neutered today. Can he still impregnate a female?

Potentially. To eliminate this risk, please keep your neutered dog away from intact female dogs for 30 days after surgery.

Dogs - Post-Surgery FAQs

What are the chances of my large breed male dog getting a scrotal hematoma?

If you have a male dog that is over 50 lbs, then there is a 50% chance that your dog can develop a scrotal hematoma. Cats are less likely than dogs to develop a hematoma, but it is possible. A scrotal hematoma is the collection of blood and fluids inside the scrotum. It occurs when bleeding resumes after closing of the incision site due to trauma or other conditions. The scrotum may swell, bruise, and is often painful.

It is very important that you restrict your pet’s activity. No running, jumping, rough housing allowed. Walk your pet outside on a leash to urinate and defecate. Do not let your pet run around the yard. An e-collar should be kept on your pet at all times. You may purchase one from our clinic or from a petstore such as Petco or PetSmart.

To help prevent issues associated with a hematoma, it is recommended to use cold/ice compresses (if tolerated by the pet!) on the scrotum for 24 hours post-op. Apply an ice pack wrapped in a thin towel to the scrotum for 10 minutes, 3 times a day for the next few days.

If swelling continues and the scrotum is growing larger and is dripping blood, you should visit our clinic immediately. Please do not feed your pet in case the veterinarian needs to surgically repair the site. If our clinic is closed, contact the emergency clinic immediately. You are responsible for paying the cost of this visit and all treatments directly to the emergency clinic or private veterinarian.

My female dog is peeing blood and she had surgery today. Is that normal?

Females can (rarely) have blood-tinged urine for 1-3 days post-op. This can be normal and typically it resolves on its own. If the blood continues after 3 days or if your pet if lethargic, anorexic or is urinating straight blood, please see a full service vet to address.

Cats - Post-Surgery FAQs

My cat is very angry and is hissing at me and/or hiding from me. Is this normal?

Yes. Cats can have a change in temperament for the first few days following a visit to the vet (or surgery at the vet!). Please keep your cat in a quiet, non-stressful environment during this period and check daily to ensure he/she is eating and drinking.

Should I change my cat’s litter box with another material?

No. This is not necessary and could lead to issues relating to inappropriate elimination. Remember: cats prefer UNSCENTED CLUMPING litter.