After Surgery

While sterilization surgeries are routine and safe, they are still considered major surgery. Post-surgery, your pet requires special care and attention. You can help your pet have a smooth and happy recovery by following all after-care directions. If you have any questions or concerns, please call our post-surgery hotline at 319-826-0201.

When You Get Home:

General Care:

  • Your pet may seem sleepy or less active. Confine your pet to a small indoor room. Keep it warm and comfortable. Do not let it rest on cold, hard floors. Provide a blanket to prevent chills.
  • Check the incision twice a day for redness (some redness is normal), swelling, or discharge. If you find any of these symptoms, please contact us.
  • Restrict your pet’s activity for 7 days – no strenuous exercise.
  • Your pet may lick initially to clean the surgery site. It is important that you do not allow excessive licking, which could cause infection. If this is a problem, we recommend Bitter Orange Paste for dogs, which is available at the clinic. To apply, place your finger over the incision and, using a cotton ball, spread the paste around it. Do not get any directly onto the incision – it will sting! If this does not deter your pet from licking, an e-collar MUST be used to prevent him from being able to reach the area. These are available at our clinic and at most pet stores. For cats, ask for recommendations on preventative measures at the time of checkout.
  • Do not give your pet a bath for 7-10 days. Keep your pet in a clean and dry environment during this time. Do not bathe her during the recovery period.
  • Do not apply any topical ointment to the incision site.

Food and Water:

  • The lingering effects of anesthesia may cause your pet’s appetite to be off. Do not change your pet’s diet during this time. Offer small amounts of food and water at first.
  • Your pet’s appetite should be back to normal within 24-48 hours.

Monitor their Pain Level:

  • Our veterinarians use a multi-modal pain management protocol. This means that different pain medications are administered before, during, and after surgery. Dogs are also sent home with oral pain medication for first two days of recovery. Please follow the instructions for that medication carefully.
  • If you pet appears to be in pain after returning home, please call our post-surgery hotline at 319-826-0201, so we can assess whether you pet needs to be examined.

Sutures (stitches):

  • Females have internal sutures (stitches) that will absorb on their own. Surgical glue was used to connect skin over the stitches, so you may not be able to see them. Females may develop a hard bump under the incision site 5-7 days after surgery. This is normal as long as it is firm and not painful.
  • Male Cats will have one or two incisions on the scrotum. These are left open, with no stitches or glue. They may drain for 24-48 hours and scab.
  • Male Dogs marked “scrotal” on the yellow discharge form will have one incision on the scrotum and may or may not have buried sutures. Any sutures will absorb over time. They will have surgical glue.
  • Male Dogs marked “neuter (castration)” on the yellow discharge form will have one incision just above the scrotum with buried sutures and surgical glue.