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Post Surgery Info from Spay Bay

Your cat has had major surgery and will need to be well cared-for afterwards to help prevent complications. Following the instructions below will help ensure your cat has a successful recovery.

1. Limit Activity: Some cats are active after surgery, while others remain quiet for a while. Either way, it is very important that you limit your cats movements during the 7–10 day recovery period. Strenuous activity, such as running, jumping, or playing puts stress on the incision and may cause it to open or develop painful irritation. 

2. Keep them on their Regular Diet: Your cat may have a half of their normal meal at 8pm or later after you pick them up from surgery, and their appetite should return gradually within 24 hours. Do not change your cats diet at this time, and do not give them junk food, table scraps, milk, or any other "people food" for seven days. Changes in their diet could hide post-surgical complications. Although patients' reactions to surgery can vary, lethargy (lasting for more than 24 hours after surgery), diarrhea, or vomiting are NOT normal, and you should contact us immediately if these occur. If we are not open, contact Animal Care Center at 850-235-2877.

3. Keep Their Incision Dry: Female cats have internal sutures that provide strength to the tissue as they heal; these will dissolve after approximately four months. You do not have to come in to have them removed. Surgical glue has also been applied to close the external incision. Male cats do not have any sutures. Their incisions are left slightly open so they may drain, so a small amount of blood tinged drainage is normal. If you are told that your cat has skin sutures or skin staples, they will need to return in 7–10 days to have those removed. Do not bathe your pet during the recovery period, or apply topical ointment to the incision site—the surgical glue on the incision will dissolve too quickly if it becomes wet. Cats must be kept indoors where they can stay clean, dry, and warm.

4. Check Their Incision Twice Daily: Female cats have a mid-line incision in their abdomen and male cats have two incisions, one on each side of the scrotum. Check these incision sites at least twice daily. What you see when we discharge your cat is what we consider normal unless we tell you otherwise. There should be no drainage, and redness and swelling should be minimal. Male cats may appear as if they still have testicles; this is normal, and the swelling should subside gradually through the recovery period. Do not allow your cat to lick or chew at the incision. You can purchase Bitter Apple or Bitter Orange spray from the pet store to deter licking and chewing (place your finger over the incision and spray around the area – do not spray directly onto the incision—it will sting!). If your cat is allowed to lick, chew or scratch their incision, it may open up and cause potentially serious complications. Keeping them from doing this is perhaps the most important thing you will do to keep them safe! 

5. Monitor Their Pain Levels: Our veterinarians employ a multi-modal pain management protocol—this means that different pain medications are administered before, during, and after surgery. If your pet appears to be in pain after getting home, please call our clinic at (850) 215-1022, so that our staff can assess whether or not your pet needs to be examined.  If you have questions about your pet outside of our office hours, call our nurse hotline at (850) 332-4OSB (4672).

6. Keep In-Heat Females Away From Males: If your female cat was in heat at the time of surgery, you must keep her away from un-neutered males for at least two weeks. While she is now unable to become pregnant, she will still attract intact males for a short period of time. If a male attempts to breed a female at this point, it can cause her serious, possibly life-threatening, damage.

7. Look Out for Complications: Spaying and neutering are both very safe surgeries; however, as with all surgery, complications can occur. Minimal redness and swelling should resolve within several days, but if they persist longer, please contact us. You should also contact us immediately if you notice any of the following:
- Pale gums
- Depression
- Vomiting
- Diarrhea
- Discharge or bleeding from the incision
- Difficulty urinating
- Labored breathing

8. Call if You Have Concerns: If you have any questions or concerns directly related to the surgery during the recovery period, please call us at (850) 215-1022. If you have questions about your pet outside of our office hours, call our nurse hotline at (850) 332-4OSB (4672). If it is an emergency, contact your regular veterinarian or the Niceville Emergency Veterinary Clinic (850-729-3335).

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