Post Surgery Spay and Neuter FAQ

Dr. Courtney Hurst Bridgeman, D.V.M.
Dr. Courtney H. Bridgeman

Frequently Asked Questions (post surgery):


My pet doesn’t want to eat, what should I do?

If it’s been less than 24-48hrs and your pet is an adult, this is probably normal. If a young animal, try something tasty and that smells good. If more than 48hrs or your pet is also vomiting more than once or twice, call a veterinarian.

It’s been 3 days and my male dog’s incision looks open, is this a problem?

In most cases, the answer to this is no. As long as the incision still looks nice, healthy, and pink and the discharge, if any, is clear or slightly pink, the healing process is still on-going. If the incision is red, or the discharge is yellow or white, please call a veterinarian.

It’s been over a week since her surgery and my female pet is acting normally. She does have a little “ball” or swelling under her incision. The incision itself looks ok. Is this normal?

In short, yes. Many animals have a reaction to the suture used to close the incision. With a little excess activity this reaction turns into a firm “ball” just beneath the surface of the skin. As long as your pet continues to act normally, there is no redness or heat, and the ball cannot be made to disappear with gentle pressure, it is completely normal and will progressively get smaller. The process may take up to 1 month post surgery to completely go away.Kisses

My pet has been vomiting or had large amounts of diarrhea since his surgery. It’s been over 2 days. What should I do?

Seek Immediate Medical attention. This is not normal and your pet can quickly become dehydrated and compromised. Allowing this to continue could be disastrous.

My pet’s testicles appear to have “come back”. Is it possible that he was not neutered?

Unless there were notes made that the surgery was not routine, chances are good that your pet was successfully neutered. Occasionally, dogs can form a “hematoma” or blood clot in the sac that held their testicles. This may give the impression that the testicles are still present. Most of the time this will resolve on its own without treatment. Continue to watch for signs of infection like fever, lack of appetite, or discharge.

My pet won’t stop licking at his/her incision. This is ok right? Their mouths are cleaner than ours right?

This is an incorrect statement. Dogs and cats have many bacteria that permanently live in their mouths. These bacteria do not cause them harm there, but when allowed to infest wounds can cause major problems. Please get an e-collar immediately.

My pet only licks at their incision once in a while and I stop them. This is enough right? I’m home all the time.

Probably not. A dog or cat will learn that they cannot lick their wound while you are watching. When you are sleeping or run to the store, they are free to do all the damage they can manage. Please get an e-collar. Though they may not like it, they will only have to wear it for one week.

My pet is lying around a lot more than normal. Their surgery was 3 days ago. Is this ok or should I get more pain meds?

In most cases, it can take an animal up to 5 days to return to normal behavior. These surgeries are considered routine but are a major beating for the animal’s body and immune system. As long as your pet is not panting, crying out in pain, or refusing to eat or go to the restroom they will probably heal very well. If any of the former are true, please call a veterinarian.

Mr July