After Anesthesia Care

Depending on the type and length of the procedure, recovery from anesthetic may take some time. Making sure your pet is warm and comfy, they have access water, and that they are given their medication(s) as directed. You may want to keep them away from other pets and children as they recover, to minimize their stress during this process and to avoid unnecessary aggravation of their surgical site.


Anesthetic was administered through an intravenous injection in the front leg (you may notice a clipped area on the foreleg). General gas anesthetic is administered through an endotracheal tube which delivers the gas and oxygen from the mouth into the lungs. This tube may cause some irritation, which can result in a mild cough following surgery. This usually clears up within 24 hours. If it continues, please give us a call.


It is highly important to stick to the schedule when administering pain relievers and other medication. Instructions are always printed on the vials. These medications aid in recovery and reduce your discomfort. Missed medications can lead to unnecessary pain and/or complications, while overdosing can put your pet’s health in jeopardy.


Your pet seems off, is this normal?



The general anesthetic and/or sedative can take a

number of hours to wear off and in some cases can cause patients to appear drowsy for a day or so. Over the next day or two their behavior should return to normal. Anesthesia effects everyone differently. Some side effects you may notice are:

    • Excessive drooling

    • Panting

    • Drowsiness

    • Nausea
    • Whining/crying


Can you feed your pet tonight?


Occasionally animals may vomit after eating on the first night, so be sure to offer a small meal (about ¼ of a normal meal.). If no vomiting occurs after about 30 minutes, you may offer them more food. If your pet refuses to eat, do not be overly concerned, as the anesthetic can cause loss of appetite. If your pet is not eating within 24 hours, please give us a call. Keep water available.


Feel like something is not right? What should you do?


If you have any doubt about the health of your pet following surgery, please call our hospital at (650) 325-4300. If you have any concerns after hours, reach out to an emergency clinic. Signs you may see that can indicate problems include:

    • Lethargy and/or vomiting – particularly after 24 hours

    • Excessive redness and irritation around the surgery site – please know that some redness and irritation is to be expected, especially immediately following any surgery

    • Swelling or lumpiness around the surgery site – particularly after 24 hours

    • Bleeding or discharge from the wound – particularly after 24 hours

    • Rancid or unpleasant smells at the surgical site


More information on after anesthesia

AVMA's When Your Pet Needs Anesthesia