AFTER Surgery Information


Check Out process:

    • Office check out is same day at 4:00. It is important that you be on time for check out. We appreciate your cooperation.

    • Remember to bring your dog’s leash.

    • We will already have cats and puppies loaded in the pet taxis for you.

    • Our admission staff will give verbal after care instructions to the entire group of people picking pets up.

    • We will go over release instructions as a group. We will discuss individual concerns or treatments with you as needed.

  • Release goes very quickly. Plan on spending about 15-20 minutes total to get instructions, check out, and get your pet.

Post-Operative Instructions

What to expect when your pet gets home:

Your pet has had major surgery. The surgery requires general anesthesia. The patient is completely asleep and unable to feel or move. In female dogs and cats, the uterus and ovaries are removed through a small incision in the abdominal wall. Females are unable to get pregnant. In both male dogs and cats, the scrotum is not removed, only the testicles. Removal of the testicles prevents production of sperm and the male dog or cat will no longer be able to father puppies or kittens.

Surgical Procedure

Female dogs and cats have a mid-line incision in their abdomen. Male dogs have an incision just above the scrotum and male cats have two incisions, one in each side of the scrotum. Check the incision site at least twice daily. What you see on the day your pet goes home is what we consider normal. There should be no drainage. Redness and swelling should be minimal. There may develop a small, firm swelling directly under the incision approximately 5-7 days after surgery. This is a normal reaction as the internal sutures begin to be reabsorbed by the body. Gradually this will diminish, but should not be painful or warm to the touch. Male cats may appear as if they still have testicles. This is normal, the swelling should subside gradually through the recovery period. DO NOT ALLOW YOUR PET TO LICK OR CHEW AT THE INCISION. If this occurs, we recommend you purchase Bitter Apple spray to deter licking and chewing. If this does not deter them, an E-collar must be applied to prevent them from being able to reach the area. We are not responsible for repair if your animal licks open the incision. Your pet has received pre-operative and post-operative pain medication while in the hospital. Do not give any over the counter pain medications when you get home. We offer optional post-operative pain medication for dogs. For large dogs, or dogs that were pregnant or in heat at the time of surgery, we strongly recommend the optional pain medication to go home.

In Heat

If your female dog or cat was in heat at the time of surgery, you must keep them away from un-neutered males for at least two weeks. While they are unable to become pregnant, they will still attract intact males, for a short period of time. A small amount of vaginal discharge can be expected after surgery. Depending on how long your dog had been in heat, it should not last longer than the recovery period of 7-10 days.


Unless you are told otherwise, your pet does not have external sutures. All sutures are absorbable on the inside and the very outer layer of skin is held together with surgical glue. Do not clean or apply topical ointments or sprays.


Your pet has received a small tattoo near the incision area. The tattoo will look like a small green line. This allows us, other clinics, and animal control groups to know that the animal has already been sterilized.


Some animals are active after surgery, while others are quiet. It is very important that you limit your pet's activity for the next 7-10 days. No running, jumping, playing, swimming, or other strenuous activity during the 7-10 day recovery period. Pets must be kept indoors where they can stay clean, dry, and warm. Do not bathe your pet during the recovery period. Dogs must be walked on a leash and cats must be kept inside. Keep your pet quiet. Dogs and female cats have internal and external sutures that provide strength to the tissue as they heal. Any strenuous activity could disrupt this healing process.

The healing process takes at least 7 days


Your pet has had a small snack the after surgery. Their appetite should return gradually within 24 hours of surgery. Lethargy lasting for more than 24 hours after surgery, diarrhea, or vomiting are not normal and you should contact us immediately. Do not change your pet's diet at this time and do not give junk food, table scraps, milk or any other people food for a period of one week. This could mask post-surgical complications.

Potential Complications

Spaying and neutering are very safe surgeries; however, complications can occur. Minimal redness and swelling should resolve within several days. If it persists longer, please contact us. Please contact us immediately if you notice any of the following:

• pale gums

• depression or listlessness

• vomiting

• diarrhea

• discharge or bleeding from the incision

• difficulty urinating

• labored breathing

If you have any questions or concerns directly related to the surgery during the recovery period, please call this office at (770) 304-7911 and press option 3 to reach the nurse line. If it is after hours, you can email and we will monitor email periodically to let you know if you should proceed to your nearest emergency clinic, or if it can wait until we have opened again. If there is an after-hours emergency, contact your regular veterinarian or you can contact SAVES at (770) 460-8166 or your local emergency clinic. If our veterinarian is available, the HELP Spay Neuter Clinic will treat at our clinic, at minimal cost, any post-op complications resulting directly from the surgery, if the above post-operative instructions are followed in full. HELP Spay/Neuter Clinic will not pay for services at another clinic. Your regular veterinarian must address diseases, illnesses or injuries that are not a direct result of surgery. Please call for an appointment as soon as you see cause for concern. We cannot be held responsible for complications resulting from failure to follow post-op instructions, for pre-existing conditions, age or health-related issues brought on by the surgery, or for contagious diseases for which the animal was not previously properly vaccinated.