After Surgery Information and Recommendations

Helping Your Pet Recover


  • Once surgical procedures are completed and after full recovery from anesthesia, animals are discharged from the clinic - typically the same day.
    • Any pet not picked up by their specified discharge time will incur a late fee .
  • Our doors are locked until discharge time.
  • Plan to be here approximately 10-15 minutes for discharge; however,  in the rare event of unforeseen circumstances or emergencies at the clinic there may be a longer wait.
  • We will review the After Surgery Instructions with you and answer any questions you may have. 
  • We will inform you of any conditions or medical issues the veterinarian may have found during the examination.


  • We strongly recommend you keep your pet confined in a crate or small room the night after surgery.
  • Because your pet was under anesthesia, he or she may be groggy upon returning home. Your pet will typically require 18-24 hours to  recover from general anesthesia. Most animals will be back to normal when  the anesthesia leaves their system entirely.
  • Your pet may sleep more than normal during the 18-24  hour time period following surgery.
  • Your pet may be a little agitated or aggressive due to the  after-effects of anesthesia. Avoid handling him/her too much as they may try to bite or scratch you.
  • Isolate the animal from children and other pets. He/She may  be more prone to snapping or nipping at other pets or even children due to the after-effects of anesthesia.
  • Your pet may have poor balance. This will make  climbing stairs or getting in and out of the car more difficult than  usual, so be ready to assist. Help your dog in and out of the car as  sudden movements can damage his/her sutures. 
  • Make sure your pet has a comfortable, confined/secured and      quiet area to sleep in. Once he/she is settled, they are likely  to sleep it off and will be fine upon awakening.


  • In female dogs and cats, the uterus and ovaries are removed  through a small incision in the abdominal wall.
  • In male dogs and cats, the scrotum is not removed, only the  testicles.
    • Male dogs have an incision just above the scrotum. 
    • Male cats  have two incisions, one in each side of the scrotum.
      • Male cats may appear as if they still have testicles. This is normal. The swelling should  subside gradually through the recovery period.
  • What you see on the day of surgery is what we consider  normal. There should be no drainage.  A very small amount of redness  or swelling at the incision site may occur.
  • Check the incision site daily for one week. Check for  excessive redness, swelling, discharge, blood or if incision site is open.
  • Do not clean or apply any topical ointments to the incision  site.


  • Unless you are told otherwise, your pet does not have  external sutures.
  • Male cats do not have any sutures.
  • All sutures are absorbable on the inside.The very outer  layer of skin is held together with surgical glue.
  • If you are told that your pet has skin sutures or skin  staples, he/she will need to return in 10-14 days to have those removed.


  • Anesthesia tends to make animals experience nausea, so your  pet may not want to eat when he/she gets home after surgery.
  • You need to re-introduce food slowly. Offer a small amount of food and water as soon as your pet is fully awake. If vomiting  occurs, wait until the next day to give more food. Provide your normal  amount of food and water to your pet on the day after surgery.
  • Do not change your pet's diet at this time and do not give  junk food, table food or milk for a period of one week. This could mask post-surgical complications.
  • Your pet's appetite should return gradually within 24 hours of surgery.


  • Licking or biting the incision could      cause the wound to re-open and become infected. To keep your pet from licking the incision during the healing process, we send home      an E-Collar to be worn during the recovery period. 
  • If you are having a difficult time with the standard collar, Putnam Animal Wellness does have a variety of E-Collars for your pet that may be more comfortable; you can purchase these collars at an additional cost at our office.


  • The healing process takes 7-10 days.
  • Any strenuous activity could disrupt the healing process.
  • Some animals are active after surgery while others are quiet. It is very important that you limit your pet's activity during the healing process.
  • Pets must be kept indoors where they can stay clean, dry and warm.
  • No running, jumping, playing, swimming, or any other      strenuous activities during the 7-10 days recovery period.
  • Do not bathe your pet or have him/her groomed during  the recovery period.
  • When outdoors, dogs should be on a leash and taken for short walks only for the next 10 days.
  • Non-feral cats should be kept indoors for the next 10 days.
  • Keep pets from playing with other pets in the household for  the next 7-10 days. Keep in mind that pets like to groom each other. If your pets have a habit of grooming one another, keep them separated for      the next 7-10 days.
  • Keep animal away from all hazards (including stairs).


Spaying and neutering are very safe surgeries; however, complications can occur. Minimal redness and swelling should resolve within several days. Please contact Putnam Animal Wellness immediately if redness and swelling persists, or if you notice any of the following:

  • Pale gums
  • Depression
  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhea
  • Discharge or Bleeding from the incision
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Labored breathing
  • Decreased appetite
  • Lethargy lasting more than 24 hours

We will re-check your pet at no charge at our clinic for any complications resulting directly from surgery. There may be a minimal cost for medication if needed.

Putnam Animal Wellness can not be held responsible for complications resulting from failure to follow post-operative instructions, or for contagious diseases contracted in the post-operative period.

If there is an emergency when Putnam Animal Wellness is not open, please call an emergency clinic