Getting a spay incision of your canine could be hard on your pet, and her sad state could make you feel bad but to make it worse, sometimes, the area gets infected and causes more trouble to them than anyone would have initially imagined.
Ideally, a spay incision should be a straight wound that may appear swollen or reddish around the edges. However, it should not cause too much trouble for your pet and should not cause her unbearable pain. In case she can’t bear the pain, it is best to take her to the doctor.
There are some do’s and don’ts that you need to keep in mind with fresh incision wounds, like avoiding water, not applying any foreign material, etc. Your dog’s vet will let you know about some precautions. However, you can also give some treatments to your pet to ensure their difficult time is spent with some comfort.
How to Prevent Infection?
The main thing to keep in mind right after getting your pet operated on is that you need to avoid getting the wound infected. This is the best thing, as when the wound gets infected, it becomes a hundred times more difficult to manage the situation.
1. No Shower
While your dog is in the healing process, ensure that you do not bathe her, as coming in contact with water increases the chances of infection. In addition, when the skin around the wound comes in contact with water, it tends to soften and weaken the scar tissues, making the healing process even more difficult.
Avoid giving them baths for at least two weeks after the surgery, and avoid exposing them to rainwater, pools, or lakes. Especially, the pool water has the potential to infect the wound if it is unclean or has bacteria.
2. Keep the Wound Clean
Also, you need to take care that your dog is not out in the dirt or anything that can potentially give her an infection. In the meantime, check for the progress of the healing of the wound and clean it at least twice a day.
If you have multiple dogs, you need to ensure that your surgery-recovering dog is not going around them. As the chances of her getting an infection from them and vice versa increases.
To keep them separate, you can use a dog crate that will not only provide distance from other pets but will also ensure that your dog gets the much-needed rest. A dog crate is the best way to allow your pet some privacy and rest without any disturbance.
3. Keep an Eye
There is a tendency for your pet to lick open her wound; as seen in most cases, you need to keep an eye on her so that this does not occur. Also, the chances of your dog licking open the wound increases if she is an aggressive dog. Instead, you can engage her in some play or offer her a toy to play with. It will keep her distracted, and before you know it, the wound will heal on its own.
Signs to Look For in Case of Infection
You may wonder how to know if there is an infection. Honestly, go by your instinct in case of any confusion. A dog parent’s instinct is not to be questioned, yet many signs can help you ensure that your dog’s wound has been infected, so watch out for these signs:
1. The Wound has Reopened
The first sign to watch out for is that the wound has reopened. This could be because your pet tried to lick it or played aggressively to put pressure on the skin near the wound area. In either case, the wound would open and be exposed to infection.
On finding blood or pus, you need to immediately get in touch with the vet and let them know about the situation. In such a case, they may need immediate professional assistance and treatment.
2. The Wound has Begun to Smell
If you notice that your pet’s wound has begun to smell, generally a foul smell, you need to take immediate action. The chances are that you did not check for infection and behind the bandage, water or dirt managed to seep in, causing infection. The infection keeps getting worse if not treated in time and is left covered.
You must open the bandage to analyze the situation and clean the wound to eliminate any pus. Once the wound is clean, take necessary precautions and check the wound at least twice a day for any further infection. Continue cleaning the wound at home unless you notice excessive discharge or bleeding from the wound. In such a situation, you need to seek medical advice.
3. When Should I be Concerned After the Surgery?
Although with the advancement in medical science, the chances of your pet going through post-surgical complications are much less, some risk still remains. As a dog parent, you must strictly watch your dog and report to your vet or the concerned medical facility in case of any physical abnormalities.
To begin with, the point of the incision should be clean, and if you see any continuous dripping or seepage of blood or any other fluid from the point of the incision, please report it to your vet immediately.
Although a little blood seepage is fine, if it continues for more than a day, you should definitely seek medical attention. Besides, look for excessive swelling, redness under the skin, or unpleasant odor from the incision, as they might indicate infection.
Also Read: 18 Common Health Problems in Large Breed Dogs
What Should I Specifically Follow to Take Care of My Dog’s Incision?
Each dog is unique, and the recovery process of each one of them is bound to be different from one another. But, there are certain things that you need to keep in mind while your dog is recuperating from an incision.
1. As Much Rest as Possible
To begin with, after the incision, your dog needs rest, and as a dog parent, do not allow it to roam about freely. Instead, confine your dog to a crate for the next few days. Besides, please ensure that your dog gets ample food and water while it is inside the crate. This will help your dog to recuperate faster.
2. Proper Medication
Furthermore, your vet or the relevant veterinary hospital would prescribe some medication, which may include ointment, to help your dog recover faster. As a dog parent, you should ensure that your dog gets the medicines on time. It might be difficult as dogs don’t like swallowing medicines, but you still need to ensure that your dog gets them.
3. Cleaning of Surgical Discharge
There will be some discharges that accumulate around the surgical drain. Therefore, it is unhygienic and can cause infection if not cleaned properly. Hence, it is recommended that you should clean the discharge at least twice a day.
4. Removing the Surgical Drain
Besides, the surgical drain also needs to be removed after a specific amount of time, which your vet or the hospital determines. So you need to follow that timing and bring your dog to the hospital to get the drain removed.
More or less, dog wounds are to be treated like a human being’s wounds. Most things are similar between the two. As they cannot speak or express their pain as easily as humans, so they need to be taken care of a bit extra. If you find them overtly sad or worried, if they do not mingle around and go into hiding, you can rest assured that these are signs of potential troubles for your pet.
You need to be extra careful about their needs and pay full attention to them in the initial few days. The surgery has already been hard on them and further aggravating; the infection will leave them in additional pain.
Try to plan your schedule around their needs; once the wound is healed, they will return to being normal and active in no time. Just have patience and allow them to recover at their own pace.
Dr. Lillian is a D.V.M. passionate about promoting awareness of dogs. She shares her expertise through her blogs on canineweekly.com and provides animal care services, including internal medicine, dermatology, and emergency care. Dr. Lillian is committed to contributing to animal welfare.