While spaying a female dog is a routine medical procedure, potential complications, such as heavy bleeding or infection, can arise and necessitate prompt medical attention. Understanding the difference between normal postsurgical symptoms and areas of concern is vital to your dog’s recovery.
Normal Postoperative Condition
When your puppy comes home from being spayed, she’s likely to be lethargic and probably will sleep most of the day. She’s unlikely to move around a lot and may not have much of an appetite. She may wince or whine, especially if your vet prescribed a dressing change or application of a topical ointment. You’re likely to see a clear or light discharge from her incision site, along with some tenderness, redness and minor swelling.
Abnormal Postoperative Condition
If your pup experiences excessive swelling in which the flesh around her incision is red, hot and inflamed, it could be a sign of infection. Other signs include bloody or puslike discharge and fever. Both conditions require immediate vet attention. If your pup’s sutures begin to come apart, this is cause for concern. Vomiting, diarrhea and extreme lethargy are cause for alarm. Contact your vet promptly.
Causes of Post-Spay Complications
Complications from spaying can arise from different sources. If your dog is spayed while she’s in heat, it can increase the potential for bleeding. If she has any other underlying or undiagnosed medical conditions, this too has the potential to create complications. For example, a hernia or internal adhesions can impact the surgery’s outcome. A bad reaction to anesthesia also can make your pup unusually sick.
Reducing Potential for Complications
Reduce the likelihood of post-spay sickness by following your vet’s postoperative directions to the letter. Your vet likely will prescribe rest and temporary seclusion and reduced activity. If your pup tries to lick or chew on her incision site, let your vet know -- an Elizabethan collar may be provided to keep the incision site undisturbed. Give your pup all medications as prescribed, and call your vet if you have cause for concern.