Veterinary Resources

Post-Surgical information

If you have any questions or concerns regarding your pets’ surgery or post-operative care, please do not hesitate to call us at 828-452-1868

Possible Post-Surgical Symptoms

  • It is normal for an animal to be lethargic, dizzy, nauseous, or have a lack of appetite following surgery. Generally, these resolve by the next day but may persist to the morning after their surgery. You may offer food but should not be concerned if your pet is not hungry or even vomits up to 24 hours after their procedure. Their appetite should return the day after surgery.
  • After surgery, it is not abnormal for your pet to experience mild pain and discomfort. We are sure to give each patient a long-acting pain injection to get them through the day of their procedure, however, it is important to make sure you administer their pain medication and antibiotics starting the day after surgery. Always follow the instructions listed for each medication and be sure to administer the entire course 
  • During surgery, an endotracheal tube is inserted into your pet’s trachea so we can safely administer oxygen as well as anesthesia. The endotracheal tube can cause inflammation in the trachea and may result in a sore throat with a cough that lasts for three to five days. If this cough persists for more than five days, please call us so we can help. 
  • Your pet may have received an intravenous catheter during their surgery and may have a band-aid on one of their legs when they go home. This bandage may be removed once you get home. Sometimes bruising can occur where the catheter was placed, but this will heal independently.

Incision Site and Suture Care

  • Your pet has two or three layers of sutures to close their incision site. The outer layer of these sutures is meant to be removed after two weeks (these are the only sutures you can see). If your animal received staples, they are also to be removed after two weeks. The appointment to remove these will be very brief and done by our technicians at no extra cost. 
  • It is very important to try and keep activity levels to a minimum for two weeks after your pet’s surgery. This can be difficult, especially with younger animals, but the surgical site must remain closed. Although it can seem cruel, crating your animal may be necessary to ensure they do not break their sutures or further injure the surgical site. 
  • During this time it is also very important to keep the surgical site clean and dry. Avoid bathing and swimming, as well as playing or lying in mud, dirt, sand, and debris. If the site requires cleaning, a washcloth dampened with warm, soapy water may be used to gently dab at the area around the surgical site. Be sure to dry afterward.
  • The surgical site can look intimidating depending on the surgery your pet has undergone, especially if you have not had an animal undergo surgery before. It is normal for the wound to seep a clear fluid, a small amount of blood, or a blend of both. This drainage is normal and a sign of the body healing, but if it becomes excessive or shows any sign of infection, please call us.
  • The surgical site will develop scabs as it heals, especially around the ten-day mark. Do not pull off your pet’s scabs, as they are a vital part of the body healing itself. Removing them can cause infection and can slow the healing process.

Post-Dental Care

  • After a dental cleaning it is not uncommon for your pet to experience some mouth soreness and mild swelling. You may offer your pet a small amount of their regular food once they get home. If your pet had extractions during their dental, you may consider adding a small amount of warm water to their food to soften kibble or to thin wet food. 
  • If your pet does not eat the day of their procedure or the day after, you should not be overly concerned. Inappetence can be caused by discomfort and/or anesthesia-induced nausea. If your pet does not eat 48 hours after their procedure, please let us know. 
  • If your pet had dental extractions, they may or may not have sutures in place at the extraction site. These sutures do not need to be removed. They are soluble and should slowly disintegrate over time as the tissue heals until they are gone. If you know for certain that your pet has oral sutures, we would recommend feeding softened kibble or wet food for up to 1 week after their procedure. 

Emergency Clinics

While we strive to provide comprehensive care for your beloved animals, please be aware that we are not an emergency hospital. Despite this, we do our best to work with emergency cases when we are able during our normal office hours, but there are times when we do not have the equipment or staff to handle certain cases. Your pet’s well-being is our top priority and we want to ensure they receive prompt attention in the event of an emergency, so we may have to refer you to an emergency clinic.

For urgent situations where time is of the essence, we recommend reaching out directly to specialized emergency veterinary hospitals where dedicated teams are equipped to handle critical cases 24/7. We recommend that you contact one of these hospitals directly:

Your trust in us is invaluable, and we want to ensure your pet receives the best care possible in an urgent situation, even if we are not the ones providing it. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact us during our regular hours, and we’ll be happy to assist you.

Specialty and Referral Clinics

In cases where specialized expertise or advanced diagnostics are required, we will collaborate with esteemed referral and specialty hospitals to ensure your pet receives the best care possible.

These hospitals, staffed with board-certified specialists and equipped with cutting-edge technologies, ensure that your pet receives the most comprehensive and specialized care possible. Whether it’s a complex surgical procedure, advanced imaging, or specialized treatments, our collaboration with referral hospitals allows us to extend the scope of care beyond the capabilities of a general veterinary practice.

If your pet requires a referral, we are here to guide you through the process, answer any questions, and work closely with the specialists to ensure a seamless and effective continuum of care for your pet.

Hospitals we often work closely with include:

Balsam Animal Hospital is aware of the vast amount of information available on the Internet. Our team has taken the time and evaluated the following sites. We trust the information the listed websites provide to you, our client, and member of our family.

American Animal Hospital Association

American Board of Veterinary Practitioners

American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine

American Kennel Club

American Veterinary Medical Association

Agility Information

North Carolina Veterinary Medical Association

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