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Every pet owner hears about the benefits of spaying or neutering a pet but many people don’t know just what to ask when they make the appointment.
Most important, know your cat. Check the color of her gums and paw pads. Then after the surgery, you’ll be able to see right away if there’s a difference. Paler gums or pads could indicate internal bleeding. Does her breed have particular health problems like heart disease? Is she a stray? She might have already been spayed so check for a scar or a tattoo. Be sure to talk about any medications your cat takes.
Make a list of questions—you don’t want to get nervous or feel rushed and forget one or two.
Ask about the Surgery Procedure
- What kind of anesthesia will be used? Gas has a faster recovery rate than an injectable.
- Will IV fluids be given during surgery to prevent a drop in blood pressure?
- Will pain meds be given prior to surgery and how long will they be effective after your cat comes home?
- Is surgical glue used or dissolving stitches?
- Who will do the surgery? How many spay/neuters has the vet done? How many are done in a day?
- Will someone monitor your cat during the recovery period after surgery, before pickup time?
- Are there any tests that need to be done prior to surgery?
Post-op Care Questions
- What kind of behavior should you expect to see once the cat is back home?
"I was instructed to take her food and water away after midnight before the surgery. I had to drop her off at 8 AM, then she stayed overnight, and had to be picked up the next day. She tried to lick at her incision. The clinic recommended an e-collar and said to limit her activity level for 10-14 days,” says DuckDodger. “When I went to pick her up, she was rolling her carrier across the floor (literally - she moved it several feet), so I knew that part would be difficult. She did sleep most of the day upon getting home, but after a few days I gave up on keeping her quiet."
- Is an e-collar necessary or can a baby-sized shirt or tube sock be used to keep the cat from pulling out stitches?
- When should you bring the cat back if stitches need to be removed by the veterinarian?
- What is the number of the emergency clinic? Just in case.
Rosiemac says the emergency number came in handy when her cat Rosie was hyper and jumped up on the TV and shelves. It took her three hours to calm down enough to sleep. She started shivering even though the house was very warm. The emergency clinic was able to reassure Rosiemac that the behavior was a reaction to the anesthesia and give advice on what to do for Rosie.
- Is a small amount of discharge at the incision site okay and what is too much?
- Should the cat be kept away from other pets and children?
- Is it normal to miss a meal or two? When will her appetite return?
- What if the cat’s avoiding the litter box?
- What if the cat goes into hiding and won’t come out?
- Most important (to the cat), will she have to wear the e-collar for a whole two weeks? Can it be off while you can be with her? Especially when she eats?
It’s natural to be nervous about any procedure but arming yourself with information will get both you and your cat through the operation and recovery. Read more about What to Look for After the Surgery.
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