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Signs of Infection After Spaying/Neutering a Dog

Spaying or neutering your dog is a significant decision, and you may be worried about potential complications. While the chances of a complication are low, our veterinarians at San Diego can provide information on what to expect from spaying/neutering your dog and the signs of complications or infection to be aware of.

What to Expect After Your Dog's Procedure

After the procedure, your dog may feel a bit queasy or tired, which is a common side effect of anesthesia. Your dog will be given pain medications to help ease any discomfort. During the first 24 hours, their appetite will be reduced. Your dog must wear a cone to prevent licking the incision site, and you should not bathe or allow them to swim for at least 10-14 days. It's important to keep the wound dry until it heals.

Limiting your dog's activities and ensuring they get enough rest until they recover is crucial. Even if they try to run or jump, this does not mean they will heal faster. Dogs do not understand the importance of rest, so you must restrict their movements. Keep your pup in a crate or a small room away from excitement to limit their movements (no running or jumping).

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

Signs of Infection and Complications in a Neutered/Spayed Dog

Remember that while complications following a spay/neuter procedure are extremely rare, any surgical procedure carries some risk. Therefore, it is crucial to follow your veterinarian's post-operative instructions precisely. Failure to do so may result in a longer recovery time for your dog and an increased risk of developing complications or infections. Some possible side effects of a spay and neuter procedure include:

  • Infection
  • Anestetic 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 should watch 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 foul smell coming from the incision site

Your veterinarian will give you more information about what to expect after the procedure, including minor swelling, lethargy, and vomiting. However, you should contact your veterinarian immediately if your dog exhibits any of the above complication symptoms.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If you would like to schedule your dog for spaying or neutering, or if your pup shows any signs of complications after the operation, please contact our veterinarians in San Diego today.

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