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Signs of Infection After Spaying/Neutering a Dog

Spaying or neutering your dog is a big decision, and you might be concerned about the complications that could arise. Although the chances of a complication are slim, our Fairfield, NJ veterinarians discuss what to expect from spaying/neutering your dog and the signs of complications or infection to watch for.

What to Expect After Your Dog's Procedure

Your dog may feel a little queasy or tired after the procedure, which is a common side effect of anesthesia; however, your dog will be given pain medications to help alleviate the discomfort. During the first 24 hours, their appetite will be reduced as well. Your dog will need to wear a cone to avoid licking the incision site, and you should not bathe or allow them to swim for at least 10-14 days. It's critical to keep the wound dry until it heals.

It is essential that you limit the activities of your dog and make sure they get plenty of rest while they are recovering from their illness. Dogs do not understand the significance of rest, so you will need to limit their movements as much as possible. Even if they try to run or jump, this does not mean that they will heal any faster. To prevent your canine companion from engaging in high-energy activities like running and jumping, confine them to a confined space like their crate or a small room.

The procedure for a spayed female dog is also more complex than neutering male dogs, but their recovery time should be about the same which is approximately 10 - 14 days. It's essential to keep their cone on, the incision site dry, and their activities limited until they make a full recovery.

Signs of Infection and Complications in a Neutered/Spayed Dog

It is important to keep in mind that any surgical procedure carries some risk, even though complications following a spay or neuter procedure are extremely uncommon. As a consequence of this, it is extremely important to adhere to the post-operative instructions provided by your veterinarian to the letter. If you don't do that, it will take your dog much longer to get better, and he could end up with additional complications or infections. The following is a list of some of the potential adverse effects of having your pet spayed or neutered:

  • Infection
  • Anesthetic complications
  • Self-inflicted complications
  • Poorly healed wound
  • Scrotal bruising/swelling in males
  • Incontinence problems
  • Hernias in female
  • Internal bleeding
  • Ovarian remnants in females

Below are the signs of infection and complications you need to keep your eye out for:

  • Lethargy for more than a couple of days
  • Refusal to eat more than a couple of meals
  • Signs of pain for longer than a week (shaking, hiding, drooling)
  • Acute redness, swelling or bruising at the incision site
  • Bleeding or pus from the incision site
  • Vomiting or diarrhea longer than 24 hours after the procedure (some immediately after can be normal as a result of anesthesia)
  • The incision site reopens
  • A bad smell coming from the incision site

Your veterinarian will give you more information about what to expect after the procedure, which may include minor swelling, lethargy, and vomiting. However, if your dog exhibits any of the above symptoms of a complication, you should contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.

If you have any more questions about what you can expect from your dog's spay or neuter procedure, or if your pup is showing any signs of a complication, contact our Fairfield, NJ vets today. 

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