Spay & Neuter FAQ

PRE-OPERATIVE QUESTIONS:

When should I withhold food the night BEFORE surgery? If your dog or cat is under four months of age, you do not need to withhold food. If your pet is over four months of age, they should not eat any food after 8pm.

Should I apply flea control prior to my pet's surgery?
Fleas are present in Southern California all year round. It is important to use flea control once monthly on all of your pets. We carry both Advantage and Frontline in our clinics (sold by the single dose or with discounts available when purchasing four and six doses). Your pet is exposed to areas with fleas every time it leaves your house. If your pet comes in close contact with animals that have fleas, as it may during its surgery appointment, we recommend that you visit our clinic and purchase flea control. We are happy to apply the flea control at time of purchase in one of our clinics.

Should I take my dog for a walk prior to surgery?
Yes! If you are able to get your dog to urinate and defecate prior to surgery it is very helpful. This will help prevent them from getting dirty because many dogs will go to the bathroom in their kennels, when they get nervous.

Should my cat come in a carrier?
Yes! All cats MUST come in a separate carrier. Even if you have a great, manageable cat, it must be in a secure carrier. Our lobby will be filled with dogs and people that can frighten your cat and could potentially even attack your cat - bringing your cat in a carrier in the safest thing for you, your cat, and our clients. Do not carry your cat in your arms into our clinic, as it could potentially jump out of your grasp when frightened and run away. We cannot release more than one cat in the same carrier. After anesthesia, cats can be dysphoric and can fight with other cats - especially in confined areas; therefore, you must bring a separate carrier for each cat you bring into the clinic.

Should I put anything in my cat's carrier?
Yes, you should line your cat's carrier with a towel or newspaper. Many cats will get nervous on their way into the clinic and go to the bathroom in the carrier. If you line the carrier with a towel or newspaper, it will help your cat from becoming soiled. Do not leave food, toys, or water bowls in the carrier.

How long will CHECK-IN take in the morning?
The check in process can take anywhere from thirty to forty-five minutes. The weekend days are usually about forty-five minutes. Our check in process is a "group check in,” so all of our appointments for the day come in at the same time, and we check in the patients on first come, first served basis. You will need to fill out paperwork for your pet and provide us with information about any health concerns/history. It is important that you are on time because we cannot accept late check-ins.

My dog is dog aggressive. What should I do at check in?
If your dog is aggressive, see if you can bring a friend or family member to sit in the car with your dog until the clinic is ready for him/her. If you cannot bring someone with you, you should leave your dog in the car with the window slightly opened. Come into the clinic and get your paperwork to fill out. Let the receptionist know that you will be waiting with your dog in the car. The receptionist will inform you about the rest of the check in process.

My dog is aggressive with people. What should I do at check in?
If your dog is aggressive with people, see if you can bring a friend or family member who is comfortable with your dog to sit in the car with your dog until the clinic is ready for him/her. If no one can assist you, you should leave your dog in the car with the window slightly opened. Come into the clinic and get your paperwork to fill out. Let the receptionist know that you will be waiting with your dog in the car. The receptionist will inform you on the rest of the check in process."

I will be trapping a wild/feral cat. What information should I know about bringing in a feral cat?
Feral cats must come into the clinic in a secure trap. We cannot take cats in carriers if they are feral. Make sure the trap is lined with newspaper. Keep the trap covered with a towel or sheet and keep it away from dogs during the check in process. This will help reduce the cat's stress.

Should I get my pet vaccinated?
If your pet is not already vaccinated, you should definitely get it vaccinated. Please see our vaccines page. It is not dangerous for your pet to get vaccines at the time of surgery.

My pet is over six years old. Is it safe for him/her to have surgery?
We perform surgeries on animals over six years of age every day without problems. We do highly recommend that older animals get blood work performed prior to surgery to assess for possible infections, liver or kidney issues. We provide this service for $40 and it takes approximately 48-72 hours to get the results. Surgery can be performed after the results have been reviewed. Owners with senior animals will be required to sign a form that acknowledges that their pet is at an increased risk for anesthetic complications.

My dog or cat is in heat. Is it safe for her to have surgery?
Yes! See our blog post.

My dog or cat is pregnant. Is it safe for her to have surgery?
Yes! It is safe to spay your pet if she is pregnant. While performing surgery on a pregnant animal is potentially complicated, the health benefits far outweigh the risks. If your pet is pregnant, please make your appointment today. Prolonging pregnancy increases the risk of surgical complications.

POST-OPERATIVE QUESTIONS:

When can my pet eat/drink after surgery?
You can feed your pet small amounts of food the night of his or her surgery. Please note that anesthesia can upset your pet’s stomach. Do not be alarmed if your pet doesn’t seem to have an appetite or if they vomit. Start by offering your pet a SMALL amount of water. If your pet can keep that down, then you can offer more water. If your pet consistently holds down the water, then offer a small amount of food.

When should I start my pet's pain medication?
Your pet's pain medication should be started the morning after surgery. It is very important that your pet is eating and drinking prior to administering the pain medication. If your pet will not eat or drink after surgery, you should stimulate their appetite with an aromatic wet food or a piece of chicken breast or tuna. It is very important to contact our clinic for assistance if your pet will not eat or drink for more than 24 hours at 310-574-5555.

My pet won't eat or drink. What should I do?
If your pet will not eat or drink after surgery, you should stimulate their appetite with an aromatic wet food or a piece of chicken breast or tuna. It is very important to contact our clinic for assistance if your pet will not eat or drink for more than 24 hours. We also recommend human baby food in chicken flavor to help stimulate your pet’s appetite. If your pet is reluctant to eat on its own, we recommend swiping a small amount of baby food onto your dog’s or cat’s gums (where your pet’s teeth meet skin in their mouth). Repeat this every 30 minutes until your pet has consumed half of one jar (for pets under 20lbs) or one full jar (for pets over 20lbs). We perform free rechecks on our surgical patients. If you are concerned, please call our clinic at 310-574-5555 and let us know you need to come in and see the doctor.

It is the night after surgery and my pet is acting differently from my other pets when they were spayed/neutered. Is there something wrong?
Every animal will recover from anesthesia and surgery differently. Do not be alarmed if your pet is recovering at a different pace than your other pets that have been spayed/neutered.

It's the night after surgery and my dog is shaking/shivering and yelping. Is my dog in pain or cold?
No. Usually when a dog is shaking/shivering after surgery, it is not due to pain or cold. During surgery, each animal is given two types of pain control. The after-effects of these types of anesthesia include increased vocalization, shaking/shivering, and apparent disorientation. The best way to assist your pet is to get them to eat small amounts of food frequently, put them on your lap or sit next to them on the floor and speak reassuringly while petting them. They need some TLC!

It is the night after surgery and my cat is growling and hiding – I can’t touch them. What should I do?
Your cat is experiencing a disorienting after-effect of the anesthesia administered during his or her surgery. Allow your cat to hide, but check on him/her every 30 minutes. Keep the area where your cat is hiding dimly lit and quiet. Please place food, water, and a litterbox nearby. Do not attempt to handle your cat unless your suspect a problem. We perform free rechecks on our surgical patients. If you are concerned, please call our clinic at 310-574-5555 and let us know you need to come in and see the doctor.

When can I bathe my dog or cat after surgery?
You cannot bathe your dog or cat until two weeks after the procedure. In general, your pet’s incision will heal in two weeks. Bathing them prior to complete healing could cause complications. If your pet is very dirty, you can get soapless shampoo pet cleaner at the pet store, but do not use it around the incision.

How long does the e-collar need to stay on my dog?
The e-collar/cone needs to stay on your dog for two weeks. In general, your pet's incision will heal in two weeks. The cone will protect the incision from getting licked open and infected until it is healed. If you are able to directly supervise your dog and stop him/her from licking the incision, the cone can be removed. When you are not directly supervising your pet, especially while you are sleeping, you MUST keep the cone on.

What is the small amount of swelling (or a hard lump) at the incision site?
A small amount of swelling at the incision site (ranging from a marble size in small cats to a walnut size in bigger dogs) is normal. This swelling is caused by the suture knots or the body’s reaction to the suture as it is breaking the suture down. If the site is painful or you notice redness or discharge from the incision, please bring your pet in for a recheck. We perform free rechecks on our surgical patients. If you are concerned, please call our clinic at 310-574-5555 and let us know you need to come in and see the doctor.

My pet is licking its incision. What should I do?
If your pet is licking its incision, immediately place an e-collar/cone on him/her. Licking the incision can cause it to open, become infected and/or swollen. You can pick up an e-collar/cone from our clinic or purchase one from a pet store. The e-collar/cone needs to stay on your dog for two weeks. In general, your pet's incision will heal in two weeks. If you are able to directly supervise your dog and stop him/her from licking the incision, the cone can be removed. When you are not directly supervising your pet, especially while you are sleeping, you MUST keep the cone on.

I'm worried the incision looks strange. What should I do?
If you notice excessive redness, discharge, or if the incision is open, please call us at 310-574-5555 so we can schedule your pet’s recheck appointment with a veterinarian. We perform free rechecks on our surgical patients.

I saw blood in my pet’s stool after surgery. What should I do?
A small amount of blood in the stool is generally normal for a dog or cat that has undergone a stressful situation and/or anesthesia/surgery. If the blood is excessive or you are worried, please give us a call at 310-574-5555. We recommend a bland diet of chicken breast, white rice, and plain nonfat yogurt to help return your pet’s stool to normal.

My male dog is still having erections/mounting. Is this normal?
Yes, this is completely normal. Even if male dogs have been neutered, they will still get erections. Many dogs will still exhibit mounting behaviors. These behaviors are usually reduced by neutering male dogs when they are young. If your dog exhibited mounting behavior prior to neutering, it is unlikely to stop after neutering.

My male dog looks like it still has testicles.
If you are seeing what appear to be testicles on your dog post-surgery, there are typically two possible reasons why. First, if your dog was over 6 months old when he was neutered, the scrotal sac may appear slightly swollen after surgery. This is completely normal. If there is any inflammation from the surgery, it will fill the empty scrotal sac, giving the appearance of intact testicles. Secondly, you may be noticing a completely normal part of the male dog’s anatomy called the bulbus glandis. The bulbus glandis is part of the penis/erectile tissue that swells up inside the female dog during mating, connecting the male to the female. It is completely normal for this tissue to swell up when your dog is excited.

My pet was completely housebroken, but after surgery she started having accidents (urinating in the house). What should I do?
Post-surgical discomfort may cause some pets to urinate in the house after their procedure. This behavior will resolve as your pet heals from the procedure (in 2-3 weeks). If your pet is straining, if there is blood in the urine, if the urination frequency increases, or if your pet is pain while urinating, it is possible your pet has a urinary tract infection. Urinary tract infections can be present without symptoms prior to surgery and can worsen post-surgery due to anesthesia. If you suspect your pet has a urinary tract infection, you should see your veterinarian and have the urine checked for an infection as soon as possible. You should talk to your veterinarian if your pet is experiencing long-term incontinence.

MISC:

My dog or cat has a medical issue that needs to be addressed. Can the doctor check it while my pet is there?
Unfortunately, unless your pet has a medical issue related to spay/neuter, we cannot provide medical services at the time of your surgery appointment. Please visit our Wellness Clinic located at our Pico Rivera location if your pet has a medical issue that needs to be addressed. Please call us to schedule an appointment at 310-574-5555.

I noticed fleas on my pet after surgery. What should I do?
Fleas are present in Southern California all year round. It is important to use flea control once monthly on all of your pets. We carry both Advantage and Frontline in our clinics (sold by the single dose or with discounts available when purchasing four and six doses). Your pet is exposed to areas with fleas every time it leaves your house. If your pet comes in close contact with animals that have fleas, as it may during its surgery appointment, we recommend that you visit our clinic and purchase flea control. We are happy to apply the flea control at time of purchase in one of our clinics.