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Signs of Infection After Spaying or 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 Pleasant Hill 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

The procedure may cause your dog to feel a little queasy or tired, which is a common side effect of anesthesia; however, we will give your dog pain medications to help alleviate the discomfort. They will experience a reduced appetite during the first 24 hours. You should make your dog wear a cone to prevent them from licking the incision site, and you should avoid bathing or allowing them to swim for at least 10-14 days. Keeping the wound dry until it heals is critical.

It's also critical to restrict your dog's activities and ensure that they get enough rest until they recover. 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 will need to limit their movements. Keep your pup in their crate or a small room away from any excitement to limit their movements (no running or jumping).

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 or Spayed Dog

Remember that while complications following a spay/neuter procedure are extremely rare, some risk is carried by any surgical procedure. Following your veterinarian's post-operative instructions to the letter is critical. If you don't, your dog's recovery will take longer and other complications or infections may develop. The spay and neuter procedure may cause some possible side effects, such as:

  • 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 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

The veterinarian will provide you with more information about what to expect after the procedure, which may include experiencing minor swelling, lethargy, and vomiting. However, if a complication is exhibited by your dog with any of the above symptoms, 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 Pleasant Hill vets today. 

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Diablo View Veterinary Medical Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced veterinarians are passionate about the health of Pleasant Hill companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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