SNAP Clinic Post Operative Care Information

french bulldog in elizabethan collar held by vet tech


SNAP After-Care Instructions—please review carefully!

  1. Please keep your pet warm. Pets cannot regulate their body temperature normally after surgery. Keep your pet confined and away from other pets and children. Keep indoors in a small room (i.e. a bathroom, laundry room, or small bedroom). Please leave your cat in its carrier in a warm room for at least 2 hours after you get home.
  2. It is normal for your pet to seem tired, groggy, agitated and/or uncoordinated for the first or second day after surgery. They may not want to eat or drink the night of surgery. Some pets will seem tired or groggy for several days, but they should be eating and drinking the day after surgery.
  3. Offer small amounts of food and water once the pet can stand and hold its head up by itself. Do not be alarmed if they don’t have an appetite tonight or you see minor occasional vomiting (an effect of the anesthesia). It may take 3-4 days for their appetite and energy level to gradually return to normal. Please consult your regular veterinarian for concerns. 


Remember these important instructions:

  1. Keep your pet as quiet as possible, keep cats inside for 7-10 days. LEASH WALKS ONLY for dogs for 7-10 days.
  2. No bathing or swimming for 14 days.
  3. Do not allow your dog or cat to lick or chew the incision site as it may cause an infection. You may apply Neosporin to the incision daily to help reduce itchiness.
  4. Check your pet’s incision twice a day.
  5. Use an E-collar (cone) if you see or hear licking (they are available for purchase at the time of surgery if you do not have one) Dogs will be required to have an E-collar. 
  6. Do not offer your pet any pain medication that is not prescribed by the veterinarian. Over the counter human pain meds can harm or kill your pet.
  7. Sutures are absorbable and do not need to be removed, and the skin is closed with surgical glue.
  8. Keep the incision site clean and dry.
  9. Check the incision site daily for the next 10-14 days. It should remain clean, dry, and closed. Occasionally a small hard lump may develop under the incision caused by a sterile suture reaction and is normal, and, should resolve without treatment within 2-3 weeks. Slight redness, bruising, and/or swelling may develop and will usually decrease after the sutures have dissolved. This is also normal, however, you will need to keep checking the incision site to ensure the redness, bruising, and/or swelling does not continue to worsen.
  10. The green in or near the incision site is normal; that is the tattoo that indicates your pet has been spayed or neutered. The intensity of the color will lessen over time.

FEMALES: If your pet was in heat at the time of surgery, she may still have vaginal bleeding and attract males for 3-4 weeks after surgery. DO NOT ALLOW MALES near her as this can cause serious injury. If a male mounts and penetrates her, it can cause serious internal bleeding and death.

MALES: Hormone levels will begin to drop within 3-4 weeks. Your male may still be fertile for up to 10 weeks after surgery.


DIET FOR CATS: Try to feed mostly canned food and limit the amount of dry food offered. In general, we do not recommend solely feeding seafood diets or an “all-dry” diet as this increases the chances of urinary crystals, which is especially important in male cats due to their anatomy.


Please call Dr. Tara Black at Diamond B Vet (360-912-1864 ) or

The Animal Emergency and Specialty Clinic in Pouslbo, WA (360-697-7771) to report any of these conditions: 

  1. Excessive vomiting or NO appetite after 24-48 hours
  2. General lethargy or grogginess after 48 hours
  3. An incision that is open or excessively swollen, has pus or thick discharge
  4. A rectal temperature of 103 degrees or above
  5. Pet is licking at the incision site (use of an “e-collar” or “cone” is highly recommended)
  6. Pet is crying or seems uncomfortable. Note: The night of surgery it is normal for cats to vocalize and dogs to whine as the anesthesia is wearing off. Keeping them in a dark, warm, quiet place will help.

EMERGENCIES: If your pet develops any of the following, seek immediate veterinary help.

  • The incision is gaping open and/or tissue is protruding.
  • Pet has been waking up normally and is now not responding to you or his name. When roused, your pet
  • should open his eyes or lift his head in response to stimulus.
  • If the rectal temperature is 98 degrees or below.
  • Anything more than a small amount of bleeding (more than a few drops) from the incision or vulva.
  • Pale white or yellow gums. (Check gum color by pressing your thumb against the gum and releasing.
  • The spot should initially look white, but turn pink as blood returns. Remaining white can indicate
  • excessive bleeding somewhere in the body.)
  • Excessive swelling of the face or excessive vomiting. (Can be an allergic reaction).
  • Difficulty breathing and/or blue color to the tongue or gums.

If after hours please call the closest emergency clinic. (On the peninsula: you MUST call before you take your pet anywhere: they will let you know if they can see you or if you will be diverted to another hospital: ALWAYS CALL FIRST)  If they ask you to bring the animal in, take your medical record with you.


Keep in mind: Your pet has just had major surgery! With any surgery requiring general anesthesia, complications can arise no matter how well the surgery was performed or how good the after-care is. OPHS is committed to offering a high quality spay/neuter surgery service for our community. We employ highly skilled and experienced veterinary surgeons and support staff. However, it is impossible to predict every possible complication. 

If your pet requires emergency care from another veterinarian, all costs will be your responsibility. Any costs incurred for services from any other veterinarian are at your own expense.