Post-surgical care and recovery are as important as the surgical procedure itself. After your pet’s procedure you will receive post-operative care instructions regarding:
- Exercise Restraints
- Food and Water Intake
- Incision/Wound/Bandage Care
- Medication Instructions
- Recheck Appointments
- Physical Therapy
It’s important to remember that although your pet may seem to return to normal shortly after surgery they are not finished healing. We cannot see the healing that is taking place inside which is why most of these restraints are in place. Complying with your pet’s restraint directions allows their body to heal more quickly and ensures a shorter recovery time.
Food and Water Intake
Some surgeries involve food cut backs due to decreased activity levels. If activity decreases—calories should decrease too. Other surgeries, such as intestinal ones, require special diets, reduced amounts, or no food at all.
Caring for the incision is important for many reasons. Allowing your pet to lick or chew at their incision can result in opening the surgical site back up or introducing bacteria that can cause infection. Bandage care is important because you cannot see underneath the bandage. If the bandage gets wet, damaged, or slips it can cause infection, skin disease, skin sloughing, or even death of the limb.
Discharge instructions will provide you with a list of your pet’s medications, how often to give them, and the corresponding doses. It is very important to give antibiotics until they are gone. This will help reduce possible infections and promote healthy healing. Pain medicine allows your pet to heal with less discomfort. Limping, lethargy, not eating or drinking, and crying out are some signs of pain—all of which can be avoided by giving their pain medicine on time and until gone.
Different surgeries have different reasons for rechecks that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Rechecks allow the doctor to monitor recovery and allow for more activity or the freedom to do whatever your pet wants to do again.
Physical therapy, when needed, is very beneficial. Proper physical therapy can encourage movement, muscle growth, blood flow, healing, and more. Not adhering to regular physical therapy sessions can delay healing, cause damage, or result in lack or misuse of the affected area.
Following your pet’s post-surgical directions is important to ensuring the success of their surgery and providing your pet with a comfortable recovery.