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Signs of Infection After Spaying or Neutering a Dog

Although spaying or neutering a dog is a common surgery and rarely has complications, pet parents still need to know how to spot signs of infection. Today, our North Boulder vets explain what to expect after the procedure and when extra veterinary care is required. 

What to Expect After Your Dog's Procedure

After your dog is neutered or spayed, it is normal for them to feel a little off, especially for the first 24-48 hours while their anesthesia is wearing off. During this time, they may also be feeling some lingering effects from any pain medication they received. 

While your dog is recovering, it is important to follow all of the vet's instructions to help promote safe, infection-free healing. Typically this will involve having your dog wear a cone to keep them from licking the incision site, avoiding bath time, and limiting their activity until they are recovered. Running or jumping too soon can cause them pain and could cause the incision to reopen. 

The procedure for spaying female dogs is also more complex than neutering male dogs, but their recovery time should be about the same which is approximately 10 - 14 days. During this time you should monitor them closely, keep the incision dry, and call your vet should any concerns about their health arise. 

Signs of Infection and Complications

Remember it's very rare for there to be any complications following a spay/neuter procedure but, with every surgical procedure, there is some level of risk involved. This makes it very important to follow your veterinarian's instructions for post-operative care. If you do not follow them you are putting your dog at risk for a longer recovery period and possibly other complications and infections. Some of the possible complications following a spay and neuter procedure include:

  • Infection
  • Anestetic complications
  • Self-inflicted complications
  • Poorly healed wound
  • Scrotal bruising/swelling in males
  • Incontinence problems
  • Hernias in females
  • 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 that worsens or doesn't go away after a few days 
  • 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)
  • An incision site that has visibly reopened 
  • A bad smell coming from the incision site

If you notice any of the above be sure to contact your veterinarian right away so you can get your dog the medical care they need to heal. 

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 North Boulder vets today. 

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