Post Op FAQ's

Common Questions & Potential Spay/Neuter Problems and How to Avoid Them 

Common Questions

I heard you have a free re-check. What does that mean?

If you are noticing any problems with your animals please give us a call! We will get your animals seen within 48 business hours. We waive the appointment/exam fee but any additional costs (surgery or medication) you may still be responsible for.

What is your refund policy?

Deposits are non-refundable. If you cancel or reschedule within 30 days of your appointment you may receive a refund for any additional money put down. After 30 days all payments received are forfeited.

My pet had tape on its head. What does that mean? Doesn’t it hurt my pet?

It does not hurt! It’s a very low adhesive tape. On a typical spay/neuter day doing up to 80 animals we need a system to keep all the black cats named “Luna'' (for example) separate. This helps keep your pet safe in their own cages & crates, services accurate, and keeps our functionality nice and smooth. Some animals wake up very quickly from surgery and are not always happy to be here. While we do our best to make sure every animal is comfortable with blankets and other calming techniques; some animals just are not having it! Our feral cats especially may wake up too fractious for us to safely remove the tape. The tape will fall off on its own in a matter of hours typically. It is safer for our staff and the animals to keep them as low stress as possible, therefore leaving the tape sometimes occurs.

What’s that orange stuff on their bellies? Is that fecal matter?

Nope! That’s a solution used during surgery to keep things sterile. Typically we do our best to clean up your animals during recovery but sometimes if the animal wakes up too quickly or the fur is extra stubborn we may not be able to get all of it off.

My dog and/or cat had urine or feces on it! Why don’t you guys clean them up?

We are so sorry to hear that. We truly do our best to make sure animals are clean on the way home. Urination and defecation (often diarrhea) is not uncommon post surgery. We have a system in place to check off after an exam, when an animal is ready to go home, and a last check. Sometimes animals are too fractious and stressed for us to clean or pull liners from cat crates. Again, we do our absolute best to make sure dogs and cats are clean going home and to communicate if we have any issues, but sometimes it is less stressful to let them go home and be cleaned by the loving hands they recognize. You can use a warm wet washcloth to spot clean your animal and give a full bath in 14 days.

Why did the price go up to include cones?

We believe in the importance of e-collars! E-collars, cones, or elizabethan collars are incredibly important to keep your animal from licking their surgical site. Licking can lead to infection which can lead to a longer recovery time, additional medications needed, or even be fatal. Please see how to put one on HERE. If you have any questions on how to use your collar, please let our runners know! Often we are trying to reunite pets with their family members quickly, but we are always happy to answer any questions you may have.

I think my cone is too small/too big. What do I do?

Oh no! We are so sorry. We typically use weights to standardize our cone fittings so it can go quickly. That may mean that occasionally a dog or cat may have an ill fitting cone. If you notice your animal is still able to get to their incision, please contact us right away and we will exchange the cone out! The cone should be going to the bottom of the neck and reach two inches past the nose.

Can my pet eat/drink with their e-collar on?

Yes. Although the e-collar can temporarily be removed if your pet is reluctant to eat/drink with it on. You can also try elevating the food.

Why are the “meloxicam tablets” so small? Did I get the right amount?

The pill is small, but mighty! Meloxicam is a NSAID (Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug) and it is an extremely powerful pain medication. While the small half or quarter tablets may seem small, we promise they pack a powerful pain medication. If you believe your animal may still be in pain, please contact us for a follow up appointment.

How did my animal’s surgery go? Why can’t I call for updates?

Because we have so many clients our general motto is “no news is good news”. Our veterinarians have your animal’s health in mind, and will contact you if there are any questions or anything suspicious found during the exams. Our runners may not know how every surgery went, but they are told when there is a special case so please be patient if all they can say is “the surgery went well”. “Well” is good news!

Common Problems You May See

My female dog is urinating blood, is this normal

Females can have blood-tinged urine for 1-3 days post-op. This can be normal and typically it resolves on its own. If you have any concerns, please feel free to call us!

My pet had surgery today and is still groggy. Is this normal?

It is common for your pet to be a little groggy the first night. Your pet may be drowsy for 24-48 hours from the anesthesia. Wearing an e-collar can also appear to be making your pet groggy as they may not want to move with it on.

My pet is vomiting after eating/drinking. Is this normal?

It is common to have some vomiting after anesthesia. limit the amount that you put in their bowl at one time if you are seeing vomiting. Continuous vomiting 24 hours after surgery means an animal should be seen, but if you have any concerns before then please call us!

Is it normal for my pet to be shivering or shaking a lot?

This is not uncommon and can be a side effect of the anesthetic wearing off, which should resolve within 24-48 hours; or it could be anxiety. Putting a warm towel around your pet may make them feel better. If you are still seeing the shaking, it may be due to pain and you should come back to the clinic.

My pet won’t lay down or rest. Does this happen often?

Your pet may be somewhat groggy, confused, uncomfortable, or not used to the e-collar, so being anxious is not uncommon. Provide your pet a comfortable place to lay down and try your best to not hover or push them into laying down. The e-collar can be extremely confusing to them and they may feel they are unable to move.

What if my pet’s incision is swollen? What if it’s opening or draining?

Gently touch the swollen area to see if it is hard or soft. If it is hard, it is most likely the suture material being absorbed. If you are seeing any draining we recommend coming in. If your female dog or cat’s incisions opens up completely and/or you see tissues protruding from the incision site, contact and/or visit the emergency clinic immediately. If you have any questions or concerns please call us!

It looks like my pet has a razor burn?

Your pet’s hair was shaved prior to surgery and there can be resulting mild/moderate “razor burn”. This looks like redness/bumps on skin. This will resolve within a few days.

Do I need to come back for a suture removal?

No. The sutures are internal and will be absorbed by the body over the next few months.

My cat and/or dog is acting more aggressive than usual (or seeing other behavioral changes). Is this normal?

Cats more so than dogs can have a change in temperament for the first few days following a visit to the vet. Please keep your cat in a quiet, non-stressful environment. It could also be pain, please feel free to call us with any questions or concerns.

I think my animal went into heat again, did you not spay it?

Oh no! This could be an ovarian remnant, which is a known complication for approximately 17% of cases. This occurs when ovarian tissue remains inside the body after a female is spayed. It is a If you believe this has happened please come in for a check up. We can discuss the options for additional surgeries to remove the remnant.

Please feel free to call us with any questions or concerns.

We will do our best to answer your questions or fit you in for an appointment.

Minor Complications Include: 

  • Depression 

  • Dehydration

  • Lack of Appetite

  • Vomiting after anesthesia

  • Diarrhea

  • Coughing from endotracheal tube

  • Lethargy from anesthesia

  • Red and itchy skin around the incision

Major Complications Include: 

  • Pale gums from blood loss

  • Discharge from infected incision

  • Abscess from suture reaction 

  • Suture failure resulting in tissue coming out of the incision

  • Hernia from abdominal contents coming through abdominal wall

  • Seroma from fluid accumulating under the skin

If you notice any of the above, please see a local ER immediately. For ER's local to the Madison area, see a list HERE. 

Older animals, or those in heat, especially those with additional health issues, have a higher risk and are more likely to have complications. Some of the most common postoperative complications include inflammation or infection of the incision, opening up of the incision, swelling under the skin at the incision site caused by fluid, and bleeding. Decrease the chances of these common complications by not allowing the pet to lick or chew the skin at the incision. Also please be mindful of playing too hard and exercising too much. For these types of complications, we recommend coming in for a follow up appointment right away.

Infection: An infection will make the incision site red and hot to the touch. It could also cause the incision site to ooze blood or puss. An infection could occur if your dog is excessively cleaning or chewing at the incision site. Do not allow any other pets in the home to lick the incision site either. Keeping the incision site clean may help minimize the possibility of infection. 

Open Incision: If there is an open incision there is a greater risk of infection. If you feel that the incision is opening please do not allow your  dog to lick and try not to manipulate the area yourself. Please come in.

Scrotal hematoma: If you have a male dog that is over 50 lbs, then there is a 50% chance that your dog can develop a scrotal hematoma. Cats are less likely than dogs to develop a hematoma, but it is possible. A scrotal hematoma is the collection of blood and fluids inside the scrotum. It occurs when bleeding resumes after closing of the incision site due to trauma or other conditions. The scrotum may swell, bruise, and is often painful. To prevent this: cold/ice compresses (if tolerated by the pet!) on the scrotum for 24 hours post-op. Apply an ice pack wrapped in a thin towel to the scrotum for 10 minutes, 3 times a day for the next few days.

Seromas: A seroma is a lump or blister that occurs at, near, or under the incision site. Seromas are usually filled with fluid that could be watery in texture and/or red in color. Oftentimes, seromas are painless and will clear up on their own. If you notice bumps or lumps that have oozing puss at your pup's incision site, you should call for a follow up appointment. If there is puss that emerges from the area, then your dog might have an abscess. Generally, oozing puss indicates an abscess. Abscesses can be painful to your dog and can indicate an infection that needs treatment.

Oozing or draining blood from the incision post-surgery (“skin bleeders”): Just like humans some animals may bleed more excessively than other animals. It typically resolves within 48 hours. This is more common in male animals. You can place a belly band on a dog, or come in for a recheck if you have continued bleeding over 12 hours.