The vast majority of female dogs recover perfectly well from their spay procedure, but some will inevitably have complications. Some post-surgical health problems can be dealt with at home, and your veterinary surgeon will advise you on how to do this. However, others are more serious and require a visit to the emergency vet to solve. Here are 3 such complications to look out for when your beloved pooch comes home from being spayed:
Infection of the Wound
One of the most dangerous complications your dog can suffer after their spay operation is an infection. Sometimes infection comes from improperly sterilised surgical tools, but this is unlikely if your dog's operation was conducted by a reputable vet. The more likely causes of infection are bacteria your dog encounters getting into the wound, or bacteria from the tongue entering the wound when she licks or chews it. If your dog does show signs of infection, you'll need to book her an appointment with the emergency vet. Symptoms include discharge or bleeding from the wound, excessive redness, and foul odours.
To prevent infection, ask your vet for antibiotics. They can be a pain to get your dog to take, but they'll kill the bacteria that enter the wound before infection sets in. You can prevent your dog getting tongue bacteria in the wound by getting a cone collar or inflatable neck collar that restricts their movement. Bandages can help keep bacteria from the environment away from the surgery site, but they must be changed regularly and the wound may heal slower with them on.
Inability to Urinate
In general, it's not unusual for dogs to be unable to urinate for a short while after being spayed. If the surgeon didn't administer I.V. fluids to your dog while she was in the veterinary clinic, she'll have gone a long period of time without water and may not need to urinate for a while. The initial sleepiness and pain can also be a factor, making a dog reluctant to pee. She may also avoid urinating if her usual schedule is messed up, which it may be if you need to restrict her walks while she's healing. While being unable or unwilling to urinate for a while is no cause for concern, you need to call an emergency vet if your dog hasn't peed for a whole day. This is to ensure your dog's bladder system wasn't affected by the surgery and that they're not dehydrated or suffering from a urinary tract infection.
Pulled Out Stitches
Some dogs will refuse to leave their stitches alone. Excessive licking, scratching, biting and pulling can all cause stitches to be pulled out. If your pup pulls out her stitches, it's important to take her back to the vet as soon as possible. Pulled out stitches can lead to reopening of the surgical site, greater infection risk, and complications in the healing process. If your vet has to restitch the wound, they may strongly advise that you use a collar or bandage to prevent a recurring problem.