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Post-op care - General

An information sheet for the pet owner.

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Surgical wound
  • The wound itself should not swell, weep or show any signs of breaking down (opening). A degree of bruising is inevitable, but this shouldn’t get any worse in the days after surgery. If you have any concerns about the wound, please contact your vet immediately.

  • You may have been given an Elizabethan collar to prevent your pet interfering with the wound. Please follow your vet’s instructions in its use. Animals will lick a wound if they are given the chance, but shouldn’t want to chew or bite at it. This is a sign of discomfort and again you should seek advice if you are concerned.


Generally you will have been prescribed three kinds of medication.

  • Antibiotics to prevent infection.
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs to treat pain and swelling. These should always be given with food.
  • Analgesics to treat pain (Opioid painkillers e.g. Tramadol or Vetergesic)

All medications can have side effects. The most common of these is vomiting and diarrhoea. If this happens, stop the medications immediately and consult your vet. Continuing to give anti-in ammatory drugs to dogs or cats with stomach upsets can lead to life threatening ulcers. Tramadol may cause drowsiness and lethargy. If you are concerned this may be happening, please contact your vet who may want to adjust the dose.

Exercise restriction

Following orthopaedic surgery, it is vital you follow exercise instructions. The majority of procedures require strict rest following the surgery for anything up to eight weeks.

• Cats: This means a cage! The cage should be large enough to have room for a bed, litter tray and food and water bowls. If possible it should be large enough to allow a little bit of space between the food bowls and tray otherwise the cat may be reluctant to use its tray.

• Small dogs: Again this means a cage, especially when the dog is not supervised. A pen is not a good idea, as some dogs will try to jump out of it if there is no roof to dissuade them. For toileting, carry your dog out into the garden and keep him/ her on a lead at all times.

• Medium to large dogs: These should be restricted to one room only, and they should not have the opportunity to jump on and off furniture. Again, toileting should be on the lead only.

During the period of exercise restriction, stairs should be avoided unless they are essential (to get to the garden for example).