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Home Care Instructions for the Post-Operative, -Anesthesia, -Sedation Patient

Your pet has undergone a procedure with an anesthetic. Please read the following instructions. Proper after-care is important to your pet’s recovery.

Offer water in 1 quarter cup to 1 cup amounts (depending on your pet’s size) until your pet no longer drinks it all. When thirst is quenched, return to the usual free choice water (usually by two hours after home, if not sooner.) If your pet is not drinking within 12 hours of going home, please call.

Offer food, about one quarter to one-half the usual amount and nothing too rich. Offer the second half two to eight hours later. By the next day you may feed normally. If your pet is not eating within 24 hours of going home, please call.

Sutures (stitches)
If external (skin) surgery has been performed, do not let your pet lick or scratch incisions. Take note of how the surgery site looks when you pick your pet up from the hospital. If your pet does start to lick or scratch, wrap the area (using a handkerchief, dish towel, stretchy T-shirt, sock, etc.) and call us. If your pet has shown any tendency in the past to lick or chew at sores or incisions, please ask us for an E-collar.

Your pet must have his or her sutures removed in 10-14 days. Please call for availability; There is no charge.

Your pet does not have sutures.
Your pet’s sutures are absorbable and do not need to be removed.

Keep bandages clean and dry. If a bandage becomes wet, it MUST be removed. Please call for a technician appointment to remove and re-bandage. If a bandage shifts or you notice any swelling or discomfort – please call immediately.

Drains must be kept free of dried debris which clogs the flow. Warm compress the area for 5 minutes three times a day and clean the openings twice a day. Flush twice a day if instructed to do so. Return for drain removal in ____ days. Keep your pet inside until the drain is removed.

Restrict exercise for all post-anesthesia patients. Increased motion may delay healing and increase the likelihood of complications. Remember, your pet will be convalescing for approximately 7 to 14 days. After orthopedic surgery, your pet will be convalescing for up to 2 months.

The effects of sedatives and tranquilizers can last for a few hours to a few days. Variations occur due to age, body fat, and metabolism, just as they do in people. If your pet seems sleepy or disoriented, protect your pet from falling off furniture, down stairs, etc. Be sure your pet is in a quiet place, away from the activities of the household, and keep young children away from our pet until your pet is back to normal. Pain medication (for example VAL with torb., torbugesic, buprenex, buprenorphrine or codeine) or a sedative (for example acepromazine) can also cause sleepiness. If you give this medication, and your pet seems excessively sleepy, please reduce the next dose or discontinue these medications and call us.

Please keep your pet inside the house, in a warm, quiet room for the first 24 hours.

Please keep your pet inside until after his/her sutures and or drain has been removed. Do not allow any roughhousing; if you have small children other pets, we recommend that you keep them separated while you are unable to supervise them. Dogs may be taken out for short walks, or to relieve themselves – but please use a leash. Please do not allow your pet to lie down outside.

Cats with an open incision or drain should use shredded paper in their litter boxes until incision is closed.

Call us if any of the following occur:

  • Loss of appetite for more than two days
  • Pain
  • Sutures come out
  • Discharge from eyes, ears or nose
  • Straining to urinate or defecate
  • Change in breathing
  • Refusal to drink water for more than one day
  • Depression
  • Excessive drainage from incision
  • Difficulty getting up or down
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhe
  • Swelling
  • Abnormal odor
  • Weakness
  • Chewing licking or scratching sutures

If an emergency develops after-hours, call the North Peninsula Emergency Clinic at 650-348-2575. Report anything that does not seem normal to you.

Medications and other dental care products 

In case of extractions or oral surgery, a slight tinge of blood in the water bowl after drinking water may be expected. If in doubt, give us a call.