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Before surgery

Cats or dogs having any kind of anaesthetic procedure must be fasted of food after midnight before their procedure. This is to reduce the risk of aspiration during surgery. Your pet is welcome to have plenty of fresh water.

If your pet takes daily medication in the morning that must be given with food, please give your pet a half-portion of it's normal diet, and notify the staff at check in that your pet has eaten due to taking medication. Do not give your pet any morning medication that isn't required, such as vitamins, supplements, or any type of calming treat like CBD or anti-anxiety chews. 

We require that cats are brought to the clinic in a clean, secure carrier that is free of food or bowls. A towel or blanket may be included for comfort, but no toys please! 

Dogs must be brought in on a secure, non-retractable leash. Please let a staff member know at check in if your dog will require a muzzle while being treated.

Aftercare Instructions

You must restrict your pet’s activity for the next ten days to allow the tissue time to heal and avoid causing the incision to open. Cats should stay indoors for the duration of the healing process. All dogs should go outside to urinate/defecate, then return inside to rest. Keep the incision site dry; do not bathe your dog, allow him to swim, or apply any kind of topical ointment during the recovery period. Dogs must wear an Elizabethan collar for 14 days following surgery. For feral cats being neutered and released, please discuss alternate aftercare instructions with our staff.

Please keep male pets away from unspayed females for 30 days following the procedure. Keep females away from unneutered males for seven days. Be prepared to keep pets separate during the recovery period, as they may be inclined to groom another pet's incision

Check the incision and tattoo site (if present) twice daily. Females should have no drainage, and the redness & swelling should be minimal. The incision for male dogs is in front of the scrotum. Some redness and swelling is expected. Too much activity causes increased swelling and sometimes drainage, so activity restriction is very important. Do not allow your pet to lick or chew at the incision. This can cause potentially life-threatening infection and/or opening of the surgery site. While Elizabethan collars are optional for cats, one must be put on if you notice your cat licking at its incision. If you do not have an E-collar for your pet, please call our office and we will provide you with one. 


Your pet received subcutaneous sutures today to close their incision unless otherwise stated. We make every attempt “bury” the surgical knot, but occasionally the knot and tag can be seen visible at the front end of the incision.  This can persist (weeks to months) until the suture absorbs.  If you are concerned about the knot being present after two weeks please call us and we can remove it for you.

The anaesthetic drugs used during your pet's procedure may disrupt their appetite. It should return gradually within 24-48 hours of surgery. Do not change your pet’s diet at this time and do not feed junk food, table scraps, milk, or any other people food during the recovery period. Feeding them their regular diet will help avoid gastrointestinal upset. Offer your pet no more than half their normal evening meal this evening. 

Minimal redness & swelling of the surgery site should resolve within a few days, but if it persists longer, please call our office at 1-707-682-6366. After office hours, please call 1-707-682-6505. You should also contact us immediately if you notice any of the following at anytime following surgery: pale gums, depression, unsteady gait; loss of appetite or decreased water intake the next day; vomiting, diarrhea, discharge or bleeding from the incision, difficulty urinating or defecating, or labored breathing. Do not give any human medication to your pet, even ones your pet has taken before, after surgery. Some medications can have life-threatening affects when combined with surgery drugs. 

If your pet received a vaccine at our clinic other than rabies, please discuss a “booster” vaccine with your regular veterinarian. Canine distemper/parvo vaccine & feline distemper vaccine all need to be “boostered” three to four weeks after administration of the first vaccine for maximum effectiveness.  In the event that you don’t have a regular veterinarian (we strongly encourage your to obtain one), call our office to arrange these boosters.

We will make every reasonable effort to treat any post-operative complications resulting directly from the surgery, but some post-surgical complications may need to be addressed by your pet's regular vet. If the above post-operative instructions are followed in full, Humboldt Humane will attempt to provide surgical recheck services at minimal cost. Your regular veterinarian must address illnesses or injuries that are not a direct result of surgery. Please call for an appointment as soon as you see any cause for concern at 1-707-682-6366. After office hours, please call 1-707-672-6505 (this is the county wide after hours care number).

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