Post-Surgery Care

Aftercare Instructions for Spay/Neuter Clinic

When you get home tonight

Your pet just had general anesthesia, and received morphine-type drugs for pain control. He or she may seem drowsy. There may be shivering or trembling. You may notice some whimpering or whining. Cats sometimes have dilated pupils or “glassy eyes.”

Please let your pet recover in a safe, warm dark area, away from stairs, children, or other pets.

Offer a small meal, but do not be alarmed if your pet is not interested. He or she may be feeling nauseated from the anesthesia.

Your pet should be back to him/herself the next morning.

What to expect over the next 7 days

For the next 7 days, dogs should be leash-walked only. No running, jumping, or rough-housing. No ball throwing. No swimming, no bathing.

If your female cat usually goes outside, try and keep her inside for a week so that you can monitor her incision.

Take a look at the incision once in the morning and once in the evening. If you notice any redness, swelling or discharge, please contact us.

Your pet will go home with an E-collar. This is to prevent licking, biting or chewing at the incision site. Leave the E-collar on for 7 days, especially if your pet is unsupervised (e.g. asleep at night or when home alone).

Do not allow other pets in the household to chew or lick the incision.

There is no need to return for suture removal as the sutures we use are self-dissolving.

Any problems directly related to the surgery will be treated by the SF SPCA under the following  guidelines:

  • For any complications arising between 8 am and 6 pm, 7 days per week, please call 415-554-3030. You may be instructed to return to the SF SPCA Spay/Neuter Clinic or go to the hospital for follow-up care.
  • Complications associated with failure to comply with discharge instructions, such as removal of E-collar or replacement with a “donut” E-collar, will not be covered.


After-hours emergencies

If you are concerned about your pet and need guidance on whether to seek emergency care we recommend the tele triage service Vet Triage. This site allows you to videoconference with a licensed veterinarian who will provide guidance on whether your pet requires emergency care, an appointment or can be monitored or treated at home. The cost of this service is $50; this fee is not reimbursable by the SF SPCA.

If your pet needs immediate emergency care in San Francisco, contact Animal Internal Medicine & Specialty Services ( at 415-566-0540. A list of additional 24-hour emergency hospitals is available on our website at

If you choose to seek veterinary care at any other facility, all financial responsibility will be solely yours. We are unable to reimburse expenses incurred at other veterinary hospitals.

Download information on post-surgery care in PDF format:

Download this information on post-surgery care in a PDF format:

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