Instructions for surgery / after care instruction from The Scottsdale Veterinary Clinic

Surgery After Care Instructions

After surgery multiple options exist to help with healing of the wound from the incision and to help prevent your pet from chewing at this incision. In general dogs tend to lick and chew at incisions more than cats.

1. Stitch Removal: stitches or staples should be removed 10-14 days after surgery. The stitches may remain in place longer if your pet has diabetes, cushings disease, low protein levels, or another disease that lowers the rate of healing. Ask your veterinarian for advice on the length of time for removal of stitches. Many stitches are absorbable and will fall out in 2-30 weeks, depending on the type of material that is used.
2. Itching /Licking at the incision- your pet is likely to lick and chew the incision 5-7 days after surgery. This is when the scar tissue is forming and when they feel the best after surgery. Make sure that you continue to monitor the incision and give the pain meds for at least one week after surgery. You can help prevent them from licking by distraction, pain meds, collars, etc.
3. Collars- Many different types of collars, ballons, tubes exist to prevent your pet from chewing at the incision. These are recommended to help prevent them from chewing out the stitches and drain tubes after surgery. The collar should prevent them from being able to reach the incision site. The e-collar should be attached with a collar that is snug to prevent them from pulling off the collar. You should be able to get 1-2 fingers under the collar. If you can get 3-4 fingers under the collar it is probably too loose. Some cats and animals will get depressed while wearing collars, make sure that your pet is eating, drinking, urinating, and defecating while wearing the collar.
4. Pain Medications: For example NSAIDS, Morphine, Tramadol may all be used to help reduce pain. If your pet is chewing at the incision they are in pain and they need these medications. Many pets will not cry in pain or limp with discomfort. If they are chewing or licking the incision pain meds are needed. If the incision is red and inflamed your pet is probably chewing while you are not around or at night. Make sure that you give the pain meds if the incision starts to look red or feels warm.
5. Sedatives: If you pet continues to lick the incision with pain medication, then sedatives may also be required. We used acepromazine and diazepam to help with sedation if needed.
6. Wound therapy: Aloe vera or curafil wound gel may help speed healing on the incision site. These should be applied 2-3 times per day.
7. Keep the wound / incision dry and clean. If the wound is leaking serum, lightly clean the area with a disinfectant that is recommended by your veterinarian.
8. Covering the incision: This can also prevent your pet from traumatizing the area. A shirt works well for incisions on the front ½ of the body. A bandage works well for incisions on the feet and legs. Make sure that the shirt and the bandage are dry and clean.