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After Care Instructions
For The Spay

Randy Walker DVM

Today we performed a spay (also called an ovariohysterectomy OVH or “getting her fixed”).  Although we expect no complications from the surgery, we ask that you follow these instructions:

1.  When you get home please give your pet a tiny amount of food (just a taste) and a small amount of water (a couple of swallows).  Then wait about one hour while observing the pet for nauseousness (upset stomach or vomiting).  The majority of patients do not experience nauseousness after anesthesia but some do, especially if they consume a large amount of food and water immediately afterward.

2.  Then, after waiting about an hour, give the patient light (small) amounts of food during the remainder of the day along with water free choice.  If the patient shows little or no interest in food today this is usually no cause for concern.

3. Beginning tomorrow, go back to the pet’s regular feeding schedule.  If inappitence or nauseousness persists, please contact us at (480) 895-7633.

4.  If any questions or problems should arise after hours, please call our emergency clinic, First Regional Animal Hospital , (480) 732-0018.

5.  Some patients (I estimate about one or two out of every 20) will experience some intermittent coughing after the surgery.  This is due to minor irritation of the trachea from our endotracheal tube we used with our gas anesthesia and is usually no cause for alarm.

If coughing persists, please give the patient ½ the recommended children’s dose of Robitussin cough suppressant once during the evening, unless you have been instructed otherwise.

If coughing persists into the next day please contact us at (480) 895-7633.  If coughing becomes exaggerated or severe please call our emergency clinic, First Regional Animal Hospital , at (480) 732-0018.

6.  Please watch for any licking or chewing of the incision line.  I estimate about 1 or 2 out of every 100 (about 1-2%) surgery patients will lick or chew their sutures so this is rare.  However, on those rare occasions when the patient does lick or chew the incision, they can do a lot of damage to my surgery site in a very short period of time so if you see this please call us immediately.

7.  Reduce activity for the next 7 days.  Jumping, climbing, “rough-housing”, extended walks and all other vigorous activity should be kept to a minimum.

8.  Please visually check the incision line once a day for the next 7 days.  Please do not tough or otherwise handle the incision.  Again, problems with the incision are rare but if you see any problems or have any questions please call us.

9.  Do not get the incision line wet for the next 10 days.  This includes bathing (no baths for the next 10 days).  If she gets dirty, you can give her a sponge bath but avoid getting the incision line wet.

10.  When you first get home, you may notice a small amount of “goopy” discharge from the eyes.  This is from the bland ophthalmic ointment we use during anesthesia and is normal.  You may use a clean cloth or paper towel to wipe away any excess ointment that may be on the face but please avoid wiping the eyes directly with the cloth.

About the incision…

  • Unless we specify otherwise, the abdominal incision was closed using several layers of absorbable sutures.  Since these sutures are absorbable and are buried under the skin, we won’t need to remove the sutures later.  (Note:  In those few instances when the pet does have skin sutures visible, we will need to remove them in 10-14 days).

  • Unless we specify otherwise, the primary abdominal closure was made with PDS II suture.  I use PDS II suture for this because I believe it does a superior job.  One characteristic of PDS II sutures is that while it is an absorbable suture, it will take several months to completely dissolve.  This means that even several months from now you may be able to feel some of the sutures under the skin.  This is normal and the PDS II sutures will dissolve with time.  This is not to be confused with steel or wire sutures which do not dissolve and which I do not use.

  • You may notice a small amount of dried blood near the incision line.  This is normal and is nothing to worry about.

  • You may notice a small amount of bruising near the incision line.  This is due to the sutures under the skin and is nothing to worry about.  This bruising will disappear in a few days.

  • You may notice a slight purple color on the incision line.  This is due to the surgical adhesive I sometimes use to reinforce the sutures and is nothing to worry about.  This purple color will disappear in a few days.

  • If you notice redness with swelling, discharge, or splitting apart of the incision line, then this is abnormal and you should call us.  This could mean we have chewing or licking (some patients can be very sneaky about this) or some other problem going on.  Again, problems with the incision line are fairly rare, but if any question comes up, please don’t hesitate to call.

  • If your pet has skin sutures (visible on the outside of the skin) then we need to remove them in 10-14 days.

Again, if there are any questions, please call us at (480) 895-7633.


- Randy Walker DVM
Sun Lakes Animal Clinic
May 17,2004



"Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened."
- Anatole France, 1921 Nobel Prize Speech -


Titlebar Image: The Gentle Doctor, 1937-38 by Christian Peterson (U84.179) - Iowa State University