Pet Corner: Pet Surgery Recovery

Helping pets through surgery

| May/June 2002

  • Photo courtesy of D. Edwards

Most of our animal companions will undergo surgery and/or general anesthesia at some point in their lifetimes—during spaying or neutering, dental procedures, ear cleansing, or trauma repair, for example.

Surgery (or any medical procedure that requires general anesthesia) can be a major disruption to a pet’s life, physically and emotionally. To be honest, I’m often amazed how quickly most animals recover from their surgeries, no matter how severe. However, while most critters seem to have little or no problems due to surgery or anesthesia, some seem to take forever to recover from seemingly minor surgical procedures, and others, especially the aged, are knocked for a complete loop with even short-acting anesthesia.

I think all patients benefit from herbal (and other) therapies, whether they will be undergoing major surgery or will simply be subjected to a minor medical procedure requiring anesthesia. There are several particular herbs and some other therapies that I like my clients to know about and consider using for their pets when surgery or anesthesia is being contemplated.

Nutritional surgery preparation

Give your pet her/his best chance to fully recover after surgery with the following supplements. Beta-carotene helps heal tissues. For the average (twenty-pound) dog, give 5,000 IU daily, preferably divided into twice-daily doses for one week before and after surgery. (Adjust the dosage for the size of the animal.) Continue giving 5,000 IU three times weekly for six weeks afterward. Vitamin C and bioflavonoids help with tissue repair and with decreasing inflammation. Give your pet 250 to 500 mg of each (again, per approximately twenty pounds of pet), twice daily for one month before and after surgery. Zinc hastens wound and tissue healing. Patients should receive 5 to 20 mg (depending on the size of the animal) daily for two weeks pre- and post-surgery.

Nearly any major surgery will cause a disruption in the normal intestinal flora, probably as a result of the stress from the operation. And, if antibiotics have been used, there will almost certainly be an intestinal change from good-guy bugs to disease-causing yeasts. Give your pet an acidophilus supplement for one month following the operation. Unsweetened yogurt (one heaping teaspoonful per twenty pounds) mixed into a pet’s daily food seems to be readily accepted by most dogs and cats; alternately, you may want to try one of the many probiotic products available in capsule form. Herbs can be an important part of the nutritional component of surgery support. Nutritional herbs including dandelion root (Taraxacum officinale), nettle (Urtica dioica) and yellow dock (Rumex crispus) are all excellent sources of a variety of vitamins and minerals, especially iron, which helps the animal regenerate new red blood cells. In addition, dandelion root helps support the liver in its ability to detoxify byproducts of anesthesia and/or tissue destruction, and it is a diuretic herb that also helps eliminate bodily toxins.

Enhance your pet’s immune system

Any major stress such as surgery will have an adverse impact on the immune system. A balanced immune system going into the surgery will have a better chance to react to the stress, and if you continue to support your pet’s system for a few weeks after the surgery, you’ll help prevent the diseases that take advantage of a weakened immune system.

5/25/2016 2:52:42 PM

I have a 6 year old beagle who tore her ACL about 2 years ago. It came out of nowhere and was very unexpected. I did a lot of research into the best ways to treat the tear, and based on her young age and not wanting her to have a weak knee in the future, we operated on her knee. What seemed to be a huge help post surgery was using a knee brace during the recovery period. I found the Ortocanis knee brace online, which was flexible enough to maintain her mobility and better yet, didn't bother her. This is what I used - The knee healed perfectly and now it's as if nothing ever happened.

3/20/2014 1:04:30 AM

Disease is one of the crucial thing that happening to all the living creatures as well as animals too. In some cases if the disease is internal one then doctors suggest for surgery. After surgery your pet needs rest for a long time. In that time you have to take special care about its food and nutrition as well as medicine so that your pet can recover from the disease as soon as possible. In food you should choose very smooth and liquid and full of nutrients so that the pet can get some energy from it. Better to take suggestion from the http:// where you can get the details regarding the care during sergery time.



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