It’s likely that at some point, your pet will need to undergo some kind of planned or emergency surgery. Vets on Balwyn have extensive surgery, intensive care and recovery facilities which are staffed by a skilled and passionate team of veterinary surgeons and nurses, so we can guarantee your pet will receive the highest possible standard of care at our clinic. However, the outcome of surgery doesn’t just depend on the procedure itself, but also on the recovery period at home.

On this page, you’ll find a rundown on the care your pet will need once they come home from surgery.

What do I do before the surgery?

When your pet is booked in for a procedure, take the time to talk with your vet and ask them all the questions you need to understand the type of surgery being performed, it’s purpose, and the recovery period.

Most of our surgical procedures are performed whilst your pet is under general anaesthetic to ensure they are comfortable. General anaesthetic does have some risks including airway obstruction because of vomiting. To minimise the likelihood of this happening, we advise you not to feed your pet after 10:00pm the night before surgery. It’s still fine to give your pet water right up until they are admitted.

Every pet’s post-operative care requirements will be different, but if you know your pet is undergoing a major procedure or is in a fragile state of health, it may be worth considering taking a few days off work to help them recover.

What happens at the admission appointment?

Your pet will be admitted to our hospital by a vet nurse who will be able to answer any last-minute questions, take you through the consent forms, and discuss extra care options.

It’s crucial that you provide us with a phone number where you can be reached throughout the day, as this is how we will contact you when your pet wakes up.

How can I make the surgery safer for my pet?

A pre-anaesthetic blood test is recommended so we have a complete picture of your pet’s current state of health before surgery. This test can be used to check organ function and sometimes results in the diagnosis of conditions which may require a modified anaesthesia dosage.

Our onsite pathology facilities allow us to process these tests and provide us with accurate results within the hour. Pre-anaesthetic blood tests are available at an additional cost of $90.

When will my pet be able to come home?

Standard procedures (i.e. de-sexing, lump removal, dental cleaning) are day procedures where your pet will be admitted in the morning and discharged in the afternoon. More complicated surgeries may require an overnight stay. When your pet wakes up, we will contact you and let you know what time they can be discharged.

Upon discharge, the vet or vet nurse will give you detailed instructions for when you can let your pet eat and drink again as well as how to administer any take home medications. A follow-up appointment will also be scheduled at this time.

How do I care for my pet when I bring her home?

When you bring your pet home, set them up in a warm, quiet room where they can stay whilst they recover. For the first 24 hours, cats should be kept indoors and dogs should only be let out for toilet breaks. Your pet may initially be groggy, a little unsteady on their feet, or uninterested in food but this is perfectly normal after a general anaesthetic. Sometimes a tube is inserted in your pet’s throat to assist breathing during the procedure and this can cause some windpipe irritation, resulting in coughing for a few days after surgery.

If your pet is hungry, we advise giving them half their normal amount of food for dinner. If they vomit this up, withhold food for 24 hours before offering another meal. Ensure fresh water is always accessible.

Once the first 24 hours is up, it’s still recommended you keep your cat indoors and refrain from walking your dog until the follow-up appointment where the stitches are removed.

What do I watch for? Is there anything I need to be worried about?

Call us immediately if your pet is repeatedly vomiting, you notice bleeding or discharge from the wound site, or if your pet is exhibiting signs of extreme lethargy or restlessness.

How do I stop my pet chewing out the stitches?

During the recovery period, it’s essential the surgical wound is kept clean and dry. If your pet is licking or chewing their stitches, it’s best to get an e-collar from the vet.

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