Most cats at some point in their lives will need a surgical procedure done by your veterinarian, whether that is for spaying/neutering, declawing, laceration repair, tooth extraction, the list goes on and on, the healing period in the days immediately following surgery is the most crucial. This is the period where most complications can occur so following your veterinarians after care instructions is vital to your feline friend healing properly.
Taking it easy: Most veterinarians do surgical procedures early in the morning so that your pet has plenty of time to recover from an anesthetic procedure. Our feline friends can feel the effects of anesthesia for hours following the procedure. You may notice your pet is a little and uncoordinated. If your pet is still a little sleepy after coming home this is very normal and confining them to a safe area in the home for recovery is helpful. The recovery area should have a nice fluffy bed for your pet to rest, keep them in an area on the floor with no high surfaces or stairs they can fall down. Have your pets food, water, and litter box easily accessible also. You will want to restrict your pet’s activity until their sutures are removed or at least cleared by your veterinarian.
Give the medications: Most surgical procedures require some medication post-op. Your veterinarian may prescribe pain meds, antibiotics, and probiotics and it is important to give the medications as directed on the label provided from their doctors. Pets can be painful without showing us much outwardly so even if you think they are doing well finish your medications as prescribed we don’t want to prolong healing due to not giving helpful medications. Always contact your veterinarian before discontinuing or changing how much of a medication you are giving. We don’t want to overdose or under dose our pets with out consulting the doctor first.
Check incision sites: Sutures and incision sites should be monitored frequently. We want to make sure that the incision looks better each day following surgery. If any redness, swelling, or other signs of infection are noted contact your veterinarian. An e-collar is usually recommended until sutures are removed this will prevent licking and chewing at the incision site. The incision should not be allowed to get wet, the skin will be sensitive and tender while healing so waiting to bathe or groom until sutures come out is recommended. Topical ointments and creams should not be applied to incision site as it does not need them to heal normally. It is also important to monitor your pets activity after surgery, too much playing, running, jumping could result in infection and opening up an incision site which could require another anesthetic procedure to repair.
Emergencies: Because the first couple days after surgery are most crucial it is important to know where to take your cat should an emergent situation occur. Always contact your veterinarian for emergency situations. If the emergency occurs after hours call your veterinarian’s primary phone line and they will direct you to the on call or nearest 24 hour emergency clinic.