Before Surgery & After Surgery Care

Before Surgery: Pre-Operative Care Instructions

The night before your appointment, do not feed your pet after midnight the night before surgery; water is okay. Do not feed your pet breakfast the morning of their surgery. This does not apply to rabbits, please continue to feed them normally until they are brought in for surgery. Drop off is between 7:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m.

An intake form and surgery release must be completed the morning of your pet’s surgery. One per pet must be filled out. These can be found below or you will be given these forms the morning of your appointment.

Canine Intake Form & Surgery Release

Feline Intake Form & Surgery Release

Feral Cat Intake Form & Surgery Release

Pig Intake Form & Surgery Release

Rabbit Intake Form & Surgery Release


After Surgery:

Your pet must be picked up between 4:30 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. the same day as surgery.

Domestic Pet Post-Operative Care (click here for a printable version)

For 7-10 days after the surgery, keep your pet indoors in a quiet, dry, warm place. Dogs should only go outside to use the bathroom. You should try to restrain your pet from excessive running and jumping. This may be difficult, but please try to monitor activity as much as possible. Do not allow your pet to go swimming or be bathed during this period.

Your pet has received an injection of pain medication. Cats generally do not need additional pain medicine beyond this injection. A 5 day supply of take home oral pain medicine is available for dogs for $7.  Do not give any additional medication (prescription or over-the-counter) that is not specifically prescribed by a veterinarian to your pet. Human pain medications (Tylenol, Ibuprofen, etc.) can cause serious illness which may kill your pet. If you feel that your pet is in pain, please consult with your regular veterinarian to determine if they need more pain medication.

Male animals can still produce viable sperm that can impregnate un-spayed females for up to 4 weeks. They should be kept away from any intact females so they will not produce offspring. Female animals should be kept away from intact males for at least 2 weeks to prevent injury from attempted breeding.


You may offer your pet 1/4 to 1/2 of their normal diet the night of their surgery as long as they are awake and alert. Dogs should be given small amounts of water at a time. This is due to the fact that dogs have a habit of gulping down their water. We do not want them to drink too much at one time and make themselves vomit. Cats can have their normal amount of water. If your pet is still groggy, withhold food and water until the next day. Your pet may choose not to eat and that is normal because they may have nausea caused by the anesthesia. Their appetite should return to normal within 2 days. Do not change your pet’s diet or offer table scraps, milk, etc. Doing so could cause an upset stomach.

Monitor the incision area

Check your pet’s incision area twice a day. Mild redness and swelling is a normal part of the healing process. Excessive swelling, bruising, or drainage is not normal. You should contact either us or your regular veterinarian to determine treatment. Opening of the incision or excessive bleeding is considered an emergency. You should seek immediate attention from your veterinarian.

Unless otherwise indicated, your pet’s incision area is held together with tissue glue or external sutures that will dissolve on their own. You do not have to get any stitches out. If the glue gets wet, it dissolves too quickly. Keep the area dry, and do not allow your pet to lick the incision. Do not bathe your pet or put anything (including Neosporin) on the incision. Do not allow your pet to lay in the rain/mud. If your pet does try to lick/chew the incision, an Elizabethan collar should be placed on him/her and left on until the incision is completely healed, usually 7-10 days. Licking, bathing, swimming, or lying in the rain/mud could also result in infection of the incision.

You will also notice green tattoo ink on the incision area of your pet. This will leave a permanent mark to indicate that your pet has been sterilized.

Monitor Behavior

Persistent appetite loss, vomiting, or diarrhea lasting more than 2 days is not normal. Contact Mid-South Spay & Neuter Services or your regular veterinarian if this occurs. Extreme depression/lethargy or unresponsiveness by your pet is considered an emergency and you should seek immediate medical attention.


For after-hours questions, please leave a message at 901-324-3202. If a representative is available, you will receive a call back as soon as possible. Otherwise, you will receive a call by our next business day. Please keep in mind we are open Tuesday-Friday only.


Feral Cat Post Operative Care (click here for a printable version)

These post-operative instructions apply ONLY to feral cats:

Leave the cat in the trap you pick it up in at our clinic. Keep the doors firmly closed and locked. Do not transfer the cat from the trap. Allow the cat to remain in the trap until fully recovered and ready to release. All cats should be kept 24-48 hours in a temperature-controlled area. A garage may work if the weather is mild (not too cold or hot). Cover the trap loosely with a large towel or sheet for shelter and warmth. Make sure to leave some space through which the cat can get fresh air. Throughout the evening, monitor the cat for breathing and possible bleeding.


Do not stick your finger through the trap or try to touch or handle the cat. Feral cats are recovering from anesthesia and are not accustomed to people, noises, their environment, etc. You could be seriously injured by a scared cat if it bites or scratches you. Always wear sturdy, protective leather gloves if you feel that you must handle the cat. All animal bites are serious: if you are bitten seek medical attention and do not release the cat. The cat will need to be quarantined. Contact your veterinarian for quarantine instructions.

Feeding Instructions

You may offer the cat water and 1/4-1/2 amount of a regular diet as long as they are awake/alert. If the cat is still sedated/groggy, withhold food/water until alert. The cat may choose not to eat due to post-operative nausea or being nervous in their surroundings. Do not offer them table scraps, milk, etc. Most traps have a plastic feeding dish that may be attached inside; water and food can be placed in the trap without having to open the trap. Do not over feed or over water the cat as this may cause vomiting.

Cleaning the Cat’s Waste

Place newspapers or plastic on the floor under the trap to catch urine, feces, and food that may fall from the trap. The trap may be carefully placed on bricks or suitable objects to be elevated from the floor so that the cat is not lying in its own waste. It is very important, if you elevate the trap, to use good judgment so that it does not topple over when the cat moves around.


Incision Area: A small amount of redness and swelling is normal. Excessive swelling or drainage is not normal; you should contact either Mid-South Spay & Neuter Services or your regular veterinarian to determine treatment. Opening of the incision or excessive bleeding is considered an emergency; you should seek immediate veterinary attention. Feral cats often pant, vocalize, roll, and may even beat their face on the trap; this is not an emergency and can be normal feral cat behavior when they are confined. Fresh, red blood coming from the rectum of males and abdomen of females is an emergency.

Ear Tip

Occasionally, the left ear may bleed after being tipped. This bleeding should not persist. If it does persist, contact either Mid-South Spay & Neuter Services or your regular veterinarian.

Releasing the Cat

Once the cat is alert, clear-eyed, and shows no signs of illness he/she may be released. Only release cats that are fully awake. Male cats can often be released the morning after surgery; female cats may need to be kept for an additional day. Keeping/confining a feral cat longer than 48 hours creates increased stress for the cat which will prevent proper healing of the surgery site. However, if bad weather or extreme temperatures are present, use good judgment to weigh the risks/benefits of keeping the cat for another day. Always release the cat where it was trapped. Relocating cats is strongly discouraged due to reports of high mortality. Cats released in a new place will not know where food, water, shelter, or area predators are. When releasing the cat, remove the cloth cover, open trap gate, and back away. Patiently stand back and allow the cat to leave at its own pace, usually it will run away immediately. Leave fresh food and water at the drop site.