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Signs of Infection After Spaying/Neutering a Dog

Spaying or neutering your dog is a big decision, and you might be concerned about the complications that could arise. Although the chances of a complication are slim, our Harrisburg veterinarians discuss what to expect from spaying/neutering your dog and the signs of complications or infection to watch for.

What to Expect After Your Dog's Procedure

Your dog may feel a little queasy or tired after the procedure, which is a common side effect of anesthesia; however, your dog will be given pain medications to help alleviate the discomfort. During the first 24 hours, their appetite will be reduced as well. Your dog will need to wear a cone to avoid licking the incision site, and you should not bathe or allow them to swim for at least 10-14 days. It's critical to keep the wound dry until it heals.

It's also critical to restrict your dog's activities and ensure that they get enough rest until they recover. Even if they try to run or jump, this does not mean they will heal faster; dogs do not understand the importance of rest, so you will need to limit their movements. Keep your pup in their crate or a small room away from any excitement to limit their movements (no running or jumping).

The procedure for a spayed female dog is also more complex than neutering male dogs, but their recovery time should be about the same which is approximately 10 - 14 days. It's essential to keep their cone on, the incision site dry, and their activities limited until they make a full recovery.

Signs of Infection and Complications in a Neutered/Spayed Dog

Remember that while complications following a spay/neuter procedure are extremely rare, any surgical procedure carries some risk. As a result, it's critical to follow your veterinarian's post-operative instructions to the letter. If you don't, your dog will take longer to recover and may develop other complications or infections. Some of the possible side effects of a spay and neuter procedure include:

  • Infection
  • Anestetic complications
  • Self-inflicted complications
  • Poorly healed wound
  • Scrotal bruising/swelling in males
  • Incontinence problems
  • Hernias in female
  • Internal bleeding
  • Ovarian remnants in females

Below are the signs of infection and complications you need to keep your eye out for:

  • Lethargy for more than a couple of days
  • Refusal to eat more than a couple of meals
  • Signs of pain for longer than a week (shaking, hiding, drooling)
  • Acute redness, swelling or bruising at the incision site
  • Bleeding or pus from the incision site
  • Vomiting or diarrhea longer than 24 hours after the procedure (some immediately after can be normal as a result of anesthesia)
  • The incision site reopens
  • A bad smell coming from the incision site

Your veterinarian will give you more information about what to expect after the procedure, which may include minor swelling, lethargy, and vomiting. However, if your dog exhibits any of the above symptoms of a complication, you should contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.

If you have any more questions about what you can expect from your dog's spay or neuter procedure, or if your pup is showing any signs of a complication contact our Harrisburg vets today. 

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