Post-op Instructions

If your pet has a surgically-related medical emergency, scroll down for instructions.

Spay and neuter surgeries are performed under general anesthesia. During this time, the patient is completely asleep and unable to feel or move. In female dogs and cats, the uterus and ovaries are removed through a small incision in the abdominal wall, which will prevent them from getting pregnant. In both male dogs and cats, the scrotum is not removed, only the testicles. Removal of the testicles prevents production of sperm and the male dog or cat will no longer be able to father puppies or kittens.

Pain Medication

Your pet received two doses of pain medication.  The second dose lasts for 24 hours.   DO NOT give you pet any over-the-counter pain medication such as aspirin, Tylenol, or Motrin, as these and other over-the-counter pain medications can be dangerous for your pet.  If you feel that your pet needs any additional pain medication, please call our office so that we can prescribe a medication that will be safe for your pet to take. If you feel that your pet is painful post-surgery, we will be happy to prescribe additional pain medication.

Surgical Procedure

Female dogs and cats have a mid-line incision in their abdomen. Male dogs have an incision just above the scrotum and male cats have two incisions, one in each side of the scrotum. The healing period for the incision is 7-10 days. Check the incision site at least twice daily for 10 days. What you see at discharge is what we consider normal. There should be no drainage. Redness and swelling should be minimal.

Male cats may appear as if they still have testicles. This is normal, the swelling should subside gradually through the recovery period.

DO NOT ALLOW YOUR PET TO LICK OR CHEW AT THE INCISION. If your pet is licking, you MUST get an e-collar (plastic cone) immediately.  We are not responsible for veterinary expenses incurred if your animal licks open the incision.   Do not put any topical ointment, including neosporin, or hydrogen peroxide on the incision, and do not cover the incision. 

In Heat

If your female dog or cat was in heat at the time of surgery, you must keep them away from unneutered males for at least two weeks. While they are unable to become pregnant, they will still attract intact males, for a short period of time, and will be injured if a male attempts to mate with them.


Unless you are told otherwise, your pet does not have external sutures. All sutures are absorbable on the inside and the very outer layer of skin is held together with surgical glue. Do not clean or apply topical ointment to the incision site. If you are told that your pet has skin sutures or skin staples, they will need to return in 7-10 days to have those removed. Male cats do not have any sutures.


Your pet has a small tattoo near the incision area. The tattoo will look like a small green line. This allows us, other clinics, and animal control groups to know that the animal has already been sterilized.


Some animals are active after surgery, while others are quiet.  The night of surgery, dogs may be groggy, and may whimper or feel restless.  This is a normal reaction to the anesthesia, and typically subsides by the morning after surgery.  It is typically not caused by pain.  Your pet received all the pain medication that they can receive for the day of surgery.  If this behavior persists into the next morning, please call our office for guidance.

It is very important that you limit your pet’s activity for the next 7-10 days and following the instructions below during that time period.  The healing process takes at least 7 days, and sometimes long.

 – Keep your pet quiet.  No running, jumping, playing, swimming, or other strenuous activity during the 7-10 day recovery period.
– Pets must be kept indoors where they can stay clean, dry, and warm.
– Do not bathe your pet during the recovery period.
– Dogs must be walked on a leash and cats must be kept inside.
– Limit going up and down stairs as much as possible. 

Dogs and female cats have internal sutures that provide strength to the tissue as they heal. Any strenuous activity could disrupt this healing process and can lead to serious complications. The PAWS Clinic is not responsible for any medical issues caused by failure to follow these instructions.

The healing process takes at least 7 days.


Dogs: Please offer only a small meal the night of surgery, since anesthesia can cause nausea. We recommend 1/4 of their normal portion.  If they appear hungry a few hours after the initial portion, and if they have not vomited, you may give them another 1/4 portion, but do not give them any more food than that the first night. You can return to a normal diet in the morning.

Cats: Your cat was offered a small meal the night of surgery and the following morning, and can return to a normal diet once home

Some animals display a lack of appetite after surgery. Their appetite should return gradually within 24 hours of surgery. Lethargy, poor appetite, diarrhea, or vomiting lasting for more than 24 hours after surgery is not normal and you should contact us immediately. Do not change your pet’s diet at this time and do not give junk food, table scraps, milk or any other people food for a period of one week. This could mask post-surgical complications.

Potential Complications

Spaying and neutering are very safe surgeries; however, complications can occur. Minimal redness and swelling should resolve within several days. If it persists longer, please contact us. Please contact us immediately if you notice any of the following:

  • pale gums
  • depression
  • poor appetite (lasting more than 24 hours after surgery)
  • persistent vomiting (lasting more than 24 hours after surgery)
  • persistent diarrhea (lasting more than 24 hours after surgery)
  • discharge or bleeding from the incision
  • difficulty urinating
  • labored breathing

 If you have any questions or concerns directly related to the surgery during the recovery period, please call this office at 313-451-8200 during business hours (Mondays: 8:00am–5:00pm, Tuesday and Wednesday 7:30am – 5:00pm , Thursday 12:00pm – 5:00pm).   The office is closed on Fridays, weekends, and holidays). Please leave a message if we do not answer, and we will call you back as quickly as possible during normal business hours.  If it is an emergency situation outside of normal business hours, please follow the instructions in “Medical Emergencies” below.  Our business hours are listed at the bottom of this page.

 If our veterinarian is available, The PAWS Clinic will treat at minimal cost any post-op complications resulting directly from the surgery if the above post-operative instructions are followed in full. Your regular veterinarian must address diseases, illnesses or injuries that are not a direct result of surgery. Please call for an appointment as soon as you see cause for concern. We cannot be held responsible for complications resulting from failure to follow post-op instructions, for pre-existing conditions, age or health-related issues brought on by the surgery, or for contagious diseases for which the animal was not previously properly vaccinated.

Medical Emergencies

If you have a medical situation or emergency that occurs during clinic office hours (Mondays: 8:00am–5:00pm, Tuesday and Wednesday 7:30am – 5:00pm , Thursday 12:00pm – 5:00pm), please call the clinic at 313-451-8200 and our staff will determine the best course of action.  Make sure to leave a message if we do not answer, and we will return your call promptly.  Note that we are also closed on Fridays, weekends and holidays.

If you have a true emergency situation that cannot wait until the following business day, please do as follows:

  • For medical emergencies that occur when The PAWS clinic is closed, please contact either Healing Care Animal Hospital or your regular full-service veterinarian on their business line.

Healing Care Animal Hospital
7430 Allen Road, Allen Park
Monday-Friday, 8am-7pm
Saturday, 9am-5pm

  • If the emergency occurs outside of the regular business hours of The PAWS Clinic, Healing Care Animal Hospital, and your regular veterinarian, please contact your local veterinary emergency clinic. In the Downriver/Detroit area, the emergency clinic is Affiliated Veterinary Emergency Service and can be reached at 313-389-1700. If you live in another area, please check your local yellow pages.  PLEASE DO NOT SEND A FACEBOOK MESSAGE FOR AN EMERGENCY SITUATION.  We do not monitor our Facebook account constantly.

You are responsible for paying the cost of this visit directly to the emergency clinic or private veterinarian.  Please call The PAWS Clinic at your earliest convenience to inform us that you have seen another veterinarian for surgery related issues. You can also have your vet contact us if you’d prefer. We would like to follow up with you and be able to communicate with the veterinary clinic if necessary about post-operative care and your pet’s well-being.

We cannot be held responsible for complications resulting from failure to follow the Post-Op instructions we provided to you, or if your pet contracts a contagious disease for which he or she was not vaccinated prior to arriving for surgery.

If your pet is licking his or her incision and it becomes infected, this is not considered surgery-related. To prevent this from happening, please purchase an e-collar from The PAWS Clinic or any pet store.  Make sure to take your pet with you when you purchase the E-collar so it may be properly fitted. The collar should fit snugly at the neck and be long enough to pass the snout in order to prevent licking entirely.

Please note that there are many cases when underlying health issues, which are present in your animal prior to surgery, can emerge after surgery, which are not related to or caused by the surgery.  These are not related to or caused by the surgery. Please see your full-service veterinarian to address these types of issues.

Thank you.

Clinic Hours:

Monday – 8:00am – 5:00pm
Tuesday and Wednesday –  7:30am – 5:00pm
Thursday – 12:00pm – 5:00pm

CLOSED on Fridays, Saturday, Sunday, and Holidays