Discharge Instructions

Thank you for participating in The Toby Project spay/neuter program. Your decision to spay or neuter your pet will help save lives by helping to eliminate overpopulation in shelters.  Please tell your friends and family about the importance of spay and neuter.

Your pet has just recovered from a surgical procedure that requires specific home care instructions. Please follow the post-surgical instructions listed below as they apply to your pet's procedure.

  • Stitches: The stitches used to close the incision are buried under the skin. They will dissolve on their own and do not require removal. The wound takes 10 days to heal and it is extremely important that you have your pet wear the elizabethan collar provided for you to prevent your pet from licking or chewing at the wound. After 10 days have passed, and if the wound has no swelling or discharge, you can remove the collar.
  • Food and Water: Your pet has just received anesthesia. It is recommended that you feed the normal meal divided over 4 hours by giving 1/4 of the amount every hour. In the event your pet does not want to eat, try feeding something that might be more tasty such as chicken and rice. If the appetite is still poor, do not worry. You may resume your normal feeding schedule the next morning. If the appetite is poor the next morning, please call 212-799-7000 for advice.
  • Pain Medication: There is some discomfort associated with surgery, therefore, a pain medication will be dispensed with your pet. Please follow the instructions as prescribed by the doctor. Do not apply any topical ointment onto the incision or give any other oral medications not prescribed by the doctor as it may make your pet sick.
  • Cat Litter:  If your male cat was neutered, the incision is always left to heal without stitches. To prevent cat litter from adhering to the incision, we recommend using shredded newspaper for 5 days after surgery. This is not necessary for female cat spay procedures.
  • Exercise: You may walk your dog the same number of times each day but restrict his or her activity level to no more than 15 minutes per walk for 10 days so the stitches used to close the incision do not open.
  • Grooming: Do not give your pet a bath for 10 days. Water can get into the incision and cause infection.
  • Licking: Except for male cat neuters, your pet will go home with an elizabethan collar. It resembles a large lamp shade that is worn around the head. Its purpose is to prevent your pet from licking or chewing at the incision. It is very important that the collar remain on at all times for 10 days. If you do not use the elizabethan collar and your pet licks at the wound, the stitches will unravel and the wound will become infected. This is a serious problem and MUST be prevented by having your pet wear the elizabethan collar.
  • Other Pets: The elizabethan collar cannot prevent other animals from licking at the wound so it is recommended that you separate your other pets until the healing process is over. It is also recommended that you do not allow any rough playing that may cause harm to the wound.

What to look out for:

  • Urination/Defecation: Your pet may not urinate or have a bowel movement when he/she comes home. Some cats will not use the litter box in the absence of litter so an alternate option is a dust-free litter you can purchase from your local pet shop. Some animals develop diarrhea post-surgery. This is expected and if it occurs, you may feed a mixture of boiled chicken and plain white rice. If after 1 day, there is still no urine or normal stool, call the Emergency Mobile Clinic phone number: 212 799 7000.
  • Nausea: Anesthesia may cause an upset stomach in some pets. It may take up to a full day for the anesthesia to leave the body's system depending on age and health. Do not be alarmed if your pet seems sleepy tonight. He/she should be back to normal by the morning.
  • Incision: The incision was closed with dissolvable stitches. A small bump may be present due to the knot left under the skin. This is normal. Check the incision each day. There may be some redness and even bruising associated with the wound. It is not normal if you see pus or blood oozing from the incision site. If you see any discoloration and/or oozing from the incision site, or if the incision has opened, call the Emergency Mobile Clinic phone number: 212 799 7000.
  • Hiding: Some animals hide when they come home. This is normal. It is recommended that you keep your pet in a smaller room or crate to ensure that you can give them their medication and check their wound daily.

To date, The Toby Project has spayed or neutered 91,229 animals.

Left to breed and multiply unchecked, 91,229 dogs and cats can yield as many as 1,121,021,952 offspring in only 5 years.

See How Spaying and Neutering Helps

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