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How should a pet behave after surgery?

My nine-month-old Pomeranian was neutered the other day. Is it normal for him to just want to lay around the house afterwards? Also, the area...

Dr. Eric Barchas  |  Oct 6th 2005


My nine-month-old Pomeranian was neutered the other day. Is it
normal for him to just want to lay around the house afterwards? Also, the area right under where they worked is rather
dark in color. Is this normal?

Phuong, Vancouver, BC, Canada

During neutering, spaying, and periodontal (dental) procedures, pets must be anesthetized. Anesthesia also is used for other surgeries and procedures that would be painful if the pet were awake.

Great advances have made in the field of anesthesiology during the last 20 years. Most vets now use the most advanced classes of anesthetic agents, and the rate of complications with these protocols is extremely low. I anesthetize animals just about every day, and I almost never encounter any problems.

However, following anesthesia, it is not unusual for a pet to be lethargic or slightly disoriented. This should not last more than a day. If it does, you should contact the veterinarian who performed the procedure.

Also, after surgery, most pets receive painkillers. Some of these can cause grogginess. If painkillers make your pet profoundly lethargic, or if you are at all worried about the situation, do not hesitate to call your vet to talk about it.

If hair gets into a surgical site, it can cause infection. Therefore, a wide margin of fur must be clipped prior to surgery. Some pets will develop a rash from the clipping. Sensitive areas, such as those that are clipped prior to neutering a male dog or cat, are especially prone to this. You should monitor the area closely. If your pet tries to lick the it, or if swelling, oozing, or tenderness is present, contact your veterinarian. In most cases, the redness resolves within a few days.

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