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How do I prepare for my pet's overnight stay?
When leaving your pet for surgery, be sure to not feed any food past midnight the night before, give water only.  If your pet is currently on medications, please be sure that you have received instructions on withholding medications the night before surgery.  If your pet is on medication that you would like to continue during hospitalization it is best to bring it with you at the time of drop off.  Our hospital provides comfortable beds and blankets for your pet's hospital stay, but you are welcome to bring a special blanket or toy from home if you prefer.  If your pet has any food allergies or sensitivities, please bring your own food to continue through hospitalization.
Does my pet really have to wear the E-collar that was sent home?
Yes, even when you are sleeping.  Contrary to popular belief, licking the incision does not induce healing and actually promotes infection.  Even a small amount of licking can introduce bacteria, cause infection, and delay healing.  The only time you should remove your pet's E-collar is under direct supervision.
My pet will not leave the E-collar on.  What should I do?
If your pet is trying to remove the E-collar you can try tying your pet's regular collar to the E-collar or weaving it through the loops in the E-collar for a tighter fit.  Always be sure you can get at least 2 fingers underneath the E-collar when it is on to ensure it is not too tight.  If your pet is still able to get the E-collar off, it may be necessary to tie the E-collar to a chest harness.  It may also be helpful to reinforce the seams of the E-collar with duct tape.
Can I cut down or alter the E-collar?
No.  As frustrating as the E-collar can be, they are an important part of the initial healing phase.  A properly fit E-collar should reach a few inches past your dog's muzzle to be effective.  Our staff has taken this into consideration prior to sending your dog home.
When should I expect my pet to have a bowel movement after having surgery under general anesthesia?
Taking into consideration that your pet was fasted without food prior to surgery and that many animals do not eat well while hospitalized, it may be expected that your pet will not have a bowel movement for a few days.  This normally does not require intervention unless your dog is squatting and straining without producing a bowl movement.  If this occurs, you may supplement a small amount of fiber (such as canned pumpkin or sweet potato) and contact your regular veterinarian for further treatment options.
My dog seems painful.  What should I do?
Your dog may have moderate discomfort the first few nights after surgery even while on pain medication.  First, ensure that you are giving the proper medication dose as directed on the bottle.  Second, ice packs can be placed for 10 to 15 minute intervals every 3 to 4 hours if needed.  Most dogs will relax and sleep when confined to an area without stimulus or distractions.  Do not alter the medication dose prescribed without a veterinarian's authorization!  If you feel your dog is still painful, please contact Cascade Veterinary Specialists or your regular veterinarian for further options.
I ran out of pain medication.  Should I get a refill?
Most dogs do not require a refill after 5 days.  However, if you feel your dog is still showing signs of pain you may contact our office for a refill.  Signs of pain may be restlessness/unable to get comfortable in bed, whining at night, sudden loss of appetite once pain medication is stopped, and trembling.
What should I expect for the tranquilizer Acepromazine?
Acepromazine is intended to help keep your dog from being too active during the recovery phase.  It should be given twice daily on an as needed basis.  If your pet is lazy and not trying to run around then you do not have to give the medication.  The medication may take 30 to 60 minutes to take effect.  You may notice your dog's eyes appear red and droopy while on Acepromazine.  This will subside as the medication wears off.  If your dog is reluctant to stand or is wetting the bed, decrease the dose by at least 1/2 tablet.  If at any time during the recovery process the medication does not seem to be effective, please call for further options.
Can I continue to give my dog a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) prescribed by my regular vet?
If your pet was prescribed an NSAID prior to surgery such as Rimadyl, Deramaxx, or Novox you should call the prescribing veterinarian to ensure it is safe to give with any other medications your dog is currently taking.  If your pet develops any vomiting or diarrhea discontinue the NSAID immediately and contact your regular veterinarian.
Can my dog go up and down stairs after surgery?
It depends.  There are some general factors to consider when deciding if it is safe for your pet to climb stairs: the size of your pet, the amount of time since surgery, and the personality of your pet.  If you have a small dog who has to bunny hop or jump up each stair, it is best to avoid stairs.  If your pet is painful or has a difficult time navigating in the E-collar, stairs may be too difficult until those issues are resolved.  If you have a dog who always goes full speed, then it is important to prevent the risk of slipping and falling.  Consider putting a leash on your dog and escorting the dog up and down the stairs.  You may loop a towel or sling under your dog's belly to provide support and to help prevent slipping and falling. 
Is bruising normal?
Bruising can be seen typically 24 to 72 hours after surgery.  Bruising after this point should begin to improve and not look worse.  If you are concerned for any reason always feel free to call our office and/or have your pet rechecked with Dr. Fry.
My pet's ankle looks swollen.  Should I be concerned?
It is common to see swelling around the ankle within the first 24 to 72 hours and in some cases up to a week after surgery.  Typically this is swelling that was around the surgical site that has been pulled down to the ankle by gravity.  It will usually reabsorb over the next few days.  However, you should monitor the area for increased redness or swelling.  If the area does not seem to be improving, your dog becomes more painful, lethargic, or begins to not use the limb, you should contact us for a recheck to ensure there is not an infection present.
How long does my pet have to be in a bandage?
In general it takes skin wounds about 2-weeks to heal, but it may take about 6 to 8 weeks for bone to heal.  If the bandage care at home is not ideal and your pet develops skin ulcerations during the recovery, additional bandages may be necessary.
How often should the bandage be changed?
With good bandage care, typically the bandage will be changed once every 7 to 10 days.  However, in some cases the bandage may need to be changed more frequently.
My pet's bandage got wet.  Is this an emergency?
No.  If your pet's bandage has become wet or soiled it is not always necessary to rush into an emergency clinic for a new one.  However, you should call our office or contact your regular vet to get the bandage changed as soon as possible.  In most cases if this happens after hours, confine your pet to limit movement of the limb until a new one can be placed the next day.
My pet chewed his  bandage.  What should I do?
If your pet chews the bandage it should be replaced as soon as possible.  If the area above the bandage looks red or swollen or if the toes appear to be swelling, then you should first call and alert Cascade Veterinary Specialists, then carefully remove the bandage to prevent further constriction of the limb.  It is imperative that you keep your pet strictly confined to a very small area until a new bandage can be placed.
The bandage has slipped down my pet's leg.  What should I do?
Depending on your pet's breed and activity level, some bandages may slip on the limb.  If this happens you should call to have the bandage replaced and monitor the area above and below the bandage for redness and swelling.  If swelling occurs, you may need to remove the bandage and strictly confine your pet to a small area until a new one can be put on.