As I slowly recover from my 2nd daughter’s birth, it brings to mind how all wounds require care and management, no matter what species.
Whether it’s from a bite, cut, or surgery there are certain steps that need to be taken by you as an owner to ensure that your pet heals properly. Otherwise you may end up making multiple trips to your vet and paying far more money than necessary.
1) keep the area clean and dry. Sometimes we send home special antiseptic washes to be applied to wounds, but one of your main jobs is to ensure fluffy doesn’t bound into the first dirty puddle she sees (or any body of water for that matter, no matter how clean it may look!) That wound needs to remain clean until stitches come out or otherwise advised.
Also, don’t let fluffy lick and clean the affected area herself! Stitches and scabs can be itchy! She could pull out her stitches, and/or excessive irritation and bacteria from her mouth may cause complications, so get a buster collar or bandage to act as a barrier between your pet and her healing wound.
2) Restrict activity. Don’t let fido run laps around the yard and chase squirrels directly after an injury or operation. Especially in the case of orthopedic or intra-abdominal surgery, like a spay. You wouldn’t be running a marathon after a major surgery, so don’t let your pet! Only resume normal activity once your vet lets you know it’s safe. (The amount of times we have to re-stitch or re-set a cast because of this is very frustrating for all involved!) so leash walks are your best bet to a speedier recovery.
3) know the medications your pet is given and how often they should be administered. Incorrectly dosing an injured patient may lead to pain, infection, and longer recovery times.
4) know when your vet wants to see fluffy again and when her stitches need to be removed. Don’t miss your rechecks. This is a time to catch a small problem before it becomes a big one! Also, get those stitches out if they aren’t absorbable; they can cause problems further down the road if left in too long.
5) Be aware of what to look for that isn’t normal during the healing process. Such as redness, swelling, gaping of stitches, missing stitches, oozing or pus from the area, discoloration of the skin, or any signs of systemic illness eg. Vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, not eating, excessive drinking, or pain. If Fido displays any of these signs check with your vet ASAP.