While the odds of infection are minimal following dog spay and neuter procedures they can happen. Here our Westminster vets discuss what to expect from spaying/neutering your dog and the signs of infection to watch for.
After Your Dog's Spay/Neuter Procedure
Following spay or neuter surgery your dog will likely feel tired and a little nauseous. These side effects are normal reactions caused by anesthesia used during the surgery. Pain medications administered to your pup after surgery can also produce these side effects.
When your pup is released from hospital and is ready to head home, your veterinarian may prescribe antibiotics and/or pain meds to help your dog recover well. Your dog will also have to wear a cone to keep them from licking at the incision site and you shouldn't bathe them or allow them to swim for at least 10-14 days. It's critical to keep the incision site dry until it heals.
It's also essential to limit your dog's activities and make sure that they get plenty of rest until they have recovered. Even if they try to run or jump, it doesn't mean they are healing quicker, dogs don't know that they need to rest so you will have to restrict their movements. Limiting your pup's movements (no running or jumping) could include keeping them in their crate or a small room away from any excitement.
The procedure for spaying female dogs is also more complex than neutering male dogs, but their recovery time should be about the same which is approximately 10 - 14 days. It's essential to keep their cone on, the incision site dry, and their activities limited until they make a full recovery.
Signs of Infection & Complications
Remember it's very rare for there to be any complications following a spay/neuter procedure but, with every surgical procedure, there is some level of risk involved. This makes it very important to carefully follow your veterinarian's post-operative care instructions. Disregarding the post-op instructions provided to you can put your dog at risk for a longer recovery period and possibly other complications and infections.
Some of the possible complications following a spay and neuter procedure include:
- Anesthetic complications
- Self-inflicted complications
- Poorly healed wound
- Scrotal bruising/swelling in males
- Incontinence problems
- Hernias in females
- Internal bleeding
- Ovarian remnants in females
Below are the signs of infection and complications you need to keep your eye out for:
- Lethargy for more than a couple of days
- Refusal to eat more than a couple of meals
- Signs of pain for longer than a week (shaking, hiding, drooling)
- Acute redness, swelling or bruising at the incision site
- Bleeding or pus from the incision site
- Vomiting or diarrhea longer than 24 hours after the procedure (some immediately after can be normal as a result of anesthesia)
- The incision site reopens
- A bad smell coming from the incision site
Your veterinarian will provide you with detailed information on what you can expect after your dog's procedure including some minor swelling, lethargy, and vomiting immediately afterward. However, If you see any of the above signs of a complication in your dog it's important to call your veterinarian as soon as possible.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.