Resource  |  Pet Health

Post-Op Instructions

Post-Operative Care Instructions

For the safety and well-being of your pet, we recommend you follow these post-operative instructions:

  • Keep the animal in a confined area for a day.
  • Restrict your pet’s activity for 7 to 14 days after surgery.
    • Discourage running, jumping and rough play.
  • Do not wash or clean the incision.
    • Some animals may have a blue glue-like material over the incision; this is the surgical adhesive that holds the incision closed. It will slough off on its own.
  • Keep the incision dry for at least 7 days after surgery.
    • The stitches will dissolve over time (unless otherwise stated) and getting them wet will cause the stitches to dissolve too quickly.
    • Bathing and swimming are not advised.
  • Check your pet’s incision daily until it has healed.
    • A small amount of blood seepage is normal immediately after surgery.
    • Some redness and swelling of the incision is expected and normal.
    • If you have questions or concerns regarding the general health of your pet, please contact your veterinarian.
  • If you feel you need EMERGENCY help, please go to the nearest animal emergency center.
    • If you seek medical care, please note that the Maryland SPCA is not financially responsible for your bills.
    • All efforts should be taken to prevent post-operative issues; re-anesthetizing post-operative patients for re-suture carries inherent risk.
    • If issues arise that are directly related to the pet’s spay/neuter surgery, please contact the Maryland SPCA during our regular hours of operation at 410-235-8826, ext. 160.
  • Keep your pet from licking the incision.
    • If you are not sure you can manage this, we recommend that you purchase an E-Collar.
  • Your pet will not require suture removal (unless specifically stated). The sutures will dissolve on their own over time. Male cats do not require sutures and the incision is left open.
  • Your pet may still be under the effects of anesthesia and/or pain management medication.
    • You may see dilated pupils, unsteadiness or lethargy, lack of appetite, moodiness or appearance of drunkenness. These are usual reactions when the pet is coming out of anesthesia.
    • It is best to allow your pet to recover in a quiet, safe place in your home.
    • It is also advised that the pet not be over-handled.
    • If your pet is a cat, let the cat come out of the carrier on her own.
  • Your pet may have had a protective eye ointment placed in the eyes during surgery.
    • This may make your pet’s eyes look glazed for a short period of time.
  • Do not give aspirin or Tylenol to your pet for pain relief.  These medications along with others can be deadly.  Never prescribe medication for your pet on your own.
  • Males remain fertile for 3 to 4 weeks after surgery.
  • Females that were in heat when spayed may try to breed for up to 10 days after surgery. Females should be kept from males.
    • Do not allow a female to mate after surgery; it can be life threatening to the pet.
    • Females that were in heat may have some bloody vaginal discharge for a few days; this is caused by their hormone levels and is normal.
  • Please take measures to re-hydrate your pet when you get him back home.
    • Your pet has been anesthetized for a good part of the day and will need water.
    • The Maryland SPCA does provide canned food and water for your pet when she wakes from surgery, but it is recommended that you offer her plenty of water and a small amount of food when she gets home.


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