After the Spay: Understanding and Treating Infections in Pets

Surgery is never anything a pet owner should take lightly, even if it’s a common procedure, like a spay or neuter for a dog or cat. Even though the overwhelming majority of cats and dogs that undergo a spay surgery return home to their owners the same day as the procedure, there are still potential complications that could pop up after surgery. 

And pet owners need to know what to look for, what to expect and when to seek treatment to avoid any unnecessary discomfort or potentially serious health consequences as a result. 

What To Look For After Surgery

surgical vet prepping for spay procedure

Although the chance of complications with a dog or cat spay are very low, they’re still possible. As a surgical vet, we at Dr. Kelly’s Vet perform hundreds — if not thousands — of spay and neuter procedures every year at our specialized clinics. Even with the volume of affordable spay and neuter surgeries we oversee, we still see very low rates of complications after surgery.

However, once in a while, infections may take hold. And pet owners need to be prepared to understand what they look like and how to handle them.

Recognizing Symptoms Of A Post-Spay Infection

Recovery from a spay surgery for a cat or dog can take some time; however, most animals are feeling much better within the first 24 to 48 hours after the procedure. A full recovery usually takes 10 to 14 days. 

Sometimes, dogs and cats may experience minor swelling at the incision site, a bit of vomiting or diarrhea and potentially some lethargy or fatigue. That can be normal, as part of the recovery process. It’s when those symptoms last longer, or are more extreme, that pet owners should take notice.

Signs of infection after a spay procedure include lethargy for more than two days, loss of appetite or refusal to eat, indications that the animal is in pain and if the site of the incision happens to reopen. 

In addition, if the incision site begins to bleed or produce pus, that should raise a red flag for dog and cat owners. If redness, swelling or bruising becomes worse over the course of a few days, or if vomiting and diarrhea last longer than 24 hours after a spay procedure, pet owners are encouraged to seek care before the condition becomes worse.

Treatment for a post-spay infection depends on the symptoms, but it’s important that pet owners pay attention to the physical indicators that something might be wrong. Generally, cats and dogs are looking to play and eat within a couple days of their procedure, so behavior that doesn’t fall in line with that expectation may be something to be concerned with. 

Are you looking for an affordable veterinarian to perform a spay or neuter in Arizona? Reach out to our team to ask questions and set up an appointment!

Dr. Kelly’s Surgical Unit is a trusted veterinary team serving the Phoenix, Peoria, East Mesa and Tucson metro areas, with accessible locations in each market, offering highly specialized surgery, quality spay and neuter procedures, and accessible dental care for pets. Contact us to learn more about our specialized services or to schedule an appointment.  

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