Skip to main content


What you need to know after surgery.

Thank you for spaying or neutering your pet. It will help them live a longer, healthier life! Here is what you need to know about helping your pet to heal and recover.


What you need to know

Although spay and neuter surgeries are frequently performed, remember that your pet has just gone through major surgery. They need a clean, warm and dry place indoors to rest while they heal and recover. Please do not hesitate to ask our staff if there are any questions or concerns.


These include:

  • Lethargy, depression, weakness or unsteady gait
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • Increased or decreased body temperature
  • Labored breathing
  • Pale gums
  • Decreased appetite lasting more than 24 hours
  • Difficulty urinating or defecating


  • Call the SPCA of Texas at 214-742-7722 (Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.)*
  • If after hours, contact your regular veterinarian or a 24-hour emergency clinic.


Your pet will have one surgical incision and one green tattoo (unless your pet was a cryptorchid neuter or had a hernia repaired, in which case more than one surgical incision may have been made). The tattoo indicates your pet has been fixed/altered.

If you pet allows, please check the surgery site 2-3 times daily for the next 10-14 days for any issues, such as:

  • Green/yellow discharge
  • Bad odor
  • Warm to the touch
  • Opening of the incision site
  • Swelling
  • Excessive bruising
  • Something sticking out of the site

There are no outside stitches to remove. All stitches are underneath the skin and will dissolve over several weeks. Tissue glue may also be present on the skin that will come off on its own over several days. Cat and puppy neuters do not have any sutures. Adult dog neuters and all cat neuters will have surgery sites that are left partially open to allow for drainage.

Please keep the surgery sites clean and dry. This means no swimming or bathing or going into dirty/muddy areas for 10-14 days. Also, do not apply any products to the surgery site unless recommended by the staff at the SPCA of Texas or a licensed veterinarian.


An e-collar (or cone) is highly recommended to prevent your pet from licking or chewing at the surgery site and must remain on 24 hours a day for 7-10 days. Excessive licking or chewing can lead to complications such as infection or even additional surgery to repair any damage. Please call us if your pet is still able to reach the surgery site while wearing an e-collar.


Too much activity can keep the surgery site from healing properly and can even cause the incision to open up. Your pet should not be running, jumping, playing, using stairs, or jumping on/off furniture for the next 10-14 days. Animals that need to go outside to go to the bathroom should be walked on a leash and should not go on long walks.

Placing your pet in an appropriate-sized carrier, crate, kennel or small room when you’re not able to supervise them may be helpful. There are also oral sedatives that we can prescribe to help keep your pet calm.

Some pets may want to be left alone after going home from surgery. Please keep these pets in a quiet room by themselves where you can check on them regularly with a small amount of food and water (and a litterbox for cats).


Some mild gastrointestinal upset and/or nausea can happen the night following surgery and your pet may not be interested in food right away. If your pet wants to eat and drink, offer about half the normal amounts of food and water. For puppies and kittens not interested in food and that will allow you to, rub a small amount of Karo syrup on the upper gums every few hours to help maintain blood sugar until they are wanting to eat.

Do not remove your pet’s e-collar for feeding unless you are able to supervise your pet with their e-collar off.

If you must remove the e-collar for mealtime, replace the e-collar as soon as your pet is finished eating/drinking. If any vomiting/diarrhea persists or worsens, please call us or an emergency clinic as soon as possible.


Your pet received a long-acting pain injection at the time of surgery. Please give any prescribed medications as directed. These usually can be started in the morning on the day after the surgery. IMPORTANT: do NOT give any other medications to your pet without the approval of a veterinarian. If you feel your pet is still in pain, please call us to discuss further options.


Keep recently neutered males away from unspayed females. Neutered males can still impregnate an unspayed female for up to 30 days after surgery.

Keep recently spayed females (especially if she is in heat) away from unneutered males for 10-14 days. Mounting by unneutered males can result in pain for you’re the female and internal damage to the surgery site.

Animals coming home from the clinic may smell differently to the other animals in the household, which may cause them to fight. Keep animals separate for several days if necessary.


Male cats do not receive sutures, but dust-free litter such as Yesterday’s News (available at pet stores) or shredded paper is recommended for 10-14 day after surgery to prevent dust getting into the surgery site and causing irritation or infection.


If your pet received vaccinations at the same time as surgery, please also monitor for any of the following:

  • Swelling of the face
  • Hives
  • Limping
  • Pain/swelling at vaccine site (shoulder or back leg)
  • Drooling
  • Itchiness

* Please note that if a pet’s illness or injury is not related to surgery, the SPCA of Texas will not be responsible for costs associated with treatment. Any costs incurred for treatment of post-operative complications due to not following post-operative instructions may not be covered by the SPCA of Texas.