Is Lethargy Normal After Surgery?


scalpelAndrew Eason | more info (via: Wylio)
My 9-month-old Pomeranian has just been neutered the other day. Is it normal for him to just want to lay around the house all day and not use the potty? Also, the area right under where they worked on is rather dark in color… almost looks like blood is trapped.. is this normal?

Vancouver, BC, Canada

It is normal for an animal to be mildly lethargic or not quite him- or herself after a procedure that requires anesthesia. The most common anesthetic procedures in cats and dogs are neuters, spays, and dental work. Appetite and thirst also may be slightly suppressed for a day after these sorts of procedures.

However, profound lethargy may be a sign of a more serious problem such as pain or an anesthetic or surgical complication. The same is true of total inappetance. Complete loss of thirst also may indicate trouble, but loss of thirst is an even bigger deal because it rapidly leads to dehydration.

Phuong, with the information you have provided I am not able to say whether your dog is exhibiting normal post-neuter behavior or something more serious. In these sorts of situations the safest thing is to have your vet perform a postoperative checkup. Most vets are very willing evaluate recent surgical patients if there is any doubt about how recovery is going.

The discolored skin that you describe sounds like bruising secondary to clipping and surgery. The skin on the scrotum is especially sensitive, and it is not uncommon for dogs to develop some bruising in that area after they are neutered. This type of bruising usually resolves rapidly on its own, but the area should be evaluated by the vet who performed the surgery to make sure nothing more serious is going on.

Photo: just about the worst sterile technique I’ve seen.

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