The first week after surgery…not so fun. To make it less stressful, here are four things that are very likely to come up that are nothing to be overly concerned by:
1. The hangover
During your first night back home, it is very common for your pet to have a bit of a hangover. During this hangover, they may do things such as vocalize to the purple elephant in the corner of the room, aimlessly wander/stare and act unsettled. This is primarily related to their long anesthetic, which takes time to wear off. It is easy to misinterpret this as pain, and that is why it’s your first “heads up”.
Your pet may get their trazodone and gabapentin this first evening to help them get settled and smooth out the evening. These medications may be given with a small amount of peanut butter or cream cheese, because they are very unlikely to upset your pets stomach.
2. The nerve block
Once your pet is under anesthesia, and prior to surgery, Dr. Lynch performs a nerve block using a special type of stimulating needle that locates the nerves that receive sensation from your pets limb. This provides excellent pain control, but can give your pet a bit of a sleepy foot, as the last sensation to fully return is the sensation in their toes. You may see your pet bearing weight on the top side of their paw, which is nothing to be concerned by as it generally wears off in a few days (long before your pet is walking without your direct supervision and assistance).
3. The bruising
Sometimes it’s very little, sometimes it can be quite a lot, but there is always some degree of bruising. Don’t let it alarm you too much, just send a photo through the portal and Dr. Lynch or his surgical nurse will advise you.
4. The swelling
Post-operative swelling is extremely common, and for procedures around your pet’s knee it tends to settle down by their ankle/hock joint. One aspect that is a bit odd with this swelling is that it tends to show up about 3-4 days after surgery (i.e. not immediately). Again, don’t let it alarm you too much, just send a photo through the portal and Dr. Lynch or his surgical nurse will advise you.