Please follow these instructions to ensure your pet has a smooth recovery:
1. SURGICAL PROCEDURE: Your pet had major surgery with general anesthesia, which means he/she was unconscious during the operation. In female cats, the uterus and ovaries are removed through a small incision in the abdominal wall. In male cats, the scrotum is not removed, only the testicles. 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 (7-10 days).
2. ACTIVITY: Your cat may be groggy when you get home. Typically, anesthesia will leave their system within 18-24 hours. Most animals will be back to normal once the anesthesia leaves their system entirely. Your pet may sleep much more than usual for a day after surgery. The healing process from a spay/neuter surgery typically takes 7-10 days.
· Your cat might have poor balance. This will make climbing stairs or getting on the couch more difficult than usual, so be ready to assist.
· Cats must be kept inside where they are clean, dry, and warm. Make sure your cat has a comfortable spot to sleep in a quiet place. Once she’s settled, she’s likely to rest and will be fine upon awakening.
· BARN/FERAL CATS: Barn and feral cats must be kept from accessing the outdoors for at least 48 hours after surgery. Feral cats may need to stay at PAAWS until they are recovered enough to be released.
3. INCISION SITE CARE: What you see on the day of surgery is what we consider normal. There should be no drainage. A very small amount of redness/swelling at the incision site may occur.
· If your cat allows, check the incision site once daily for a week. Check for excessive redness, swelling, discharge, blood, or if the incision site is open.
· Do not clean or apply any topical ointment to the incision site.
· Do not bathe your cat for 7-10 days.
· All sutures are absorbable on the inside. The very outer layer of skin is held together with surgical glue. Sutures will absorb on their own over a period of 2-8 weeks. Male cats do not have any sutures.
· Do not allow your pet to lick or bite the incision. If your female cat is licking at her incision please contact PAAWS to get a cone or purchase a cone at a pet supply store. Male cats can lick without cause for concern.
· EXTERNAL SUTURES: If you have been told that your cat has external sutures, these sutures will dissolve within 2-8 weeks. If they are bothering your cat (or you!) you can call PAAWS to set up a time to have these removed, free of charge.
4. FEEDING: Anesthesia can make cats nauseous. Your cat’s appetite should return gradually within 24 hours.
· Re-introduce food slowly. Offer a small amount of food and water as soon as you bring your cat home. If vomiting occurs, wait until the next day to give more food. Provide the normal amount of food and water the day after surgery.
· Do not change your cat’s diet at this time. Only offer foods your cat has eaten in the past without stomach upset (vomiting). Do not offer table scraps, milk, or any other people food for at least a week.
If you have any questions or concerns directly related to the surgery during the recovery period, please call the Minn-Kota PAAWS office during business hours 8:00 – 5:00 Monday-Friday at (701) 356-0523 and a staff member will advise you on the best course of action. Please leave a message if we do not answer, and we will call you back as quickly as possible. For emergencies, call 701-793-0602 and leave a message.
If our veterinarian is available, Minn-Kota PAAWS will treat at minimal cost any post-op complications resulting directly from the surgery if the above post-operative instructions are followed in full. Your regular veterinarian must address diseases, illnesses or injuries that are not a direct result of surgery. Please call as soon as you see cause for concern. We cannot be held responsible for complications resulting from failure to follow post-op instructions, for pre-existing conditions, age or health-related issues brought on by the surgery, or for contagious diseases for which the animal was not previously properly vaccinated.