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Natural Awakenings Twin Cities

Helping Your Pet Recover after Surgery

Dr. Susan Swanson

Any procedure requiring general anesthesia can be stressful, even for a healthy pet. There are a few things that you can give your pet to minimize the stress of the procedure and any side effects of medications given before, during or after anesthesia.

Flower Essences are used to treat the emotional issues underlying many physical ailments. Rescue Remedy is a combination of five flower essences that help with fear and anxiety. It is calming without being sedating. It may be given before or after anesthesia as it will not interfere with anesthetics or other medications your pet may be given. I recommend the human product which has an alcohol base and can be used on the skin. The pet version has a glycerin base and must be given by mouth (easier said than done with many cats). The dose is one drop on the skin. Apply to the skin in front of the ear, on the ear flap or on the paw pads. If the animal is not calmer after the first dose, repeat dosing every few minutes for two to four doses total.

Lavender essential oil can also be used to calm your pet when they are stressed. The oil may be diffused for your pet to breathe or apply a drop on the skin over the back of the neck

Upon returning home following general anesthesia, your pet should be relaxed and less active for a short time. If they are restless, vocalizing or licking at the surgical site, they may be experiencing some pain or discomfort. Depending on what procedure was done under anesthesia, your pet may come home with medication to relieve pain. If the pain medication has been used and your pet still seems uncomfortable, give them a dose of Arnica Montana. Arnica relieves pain by reducing inflammation,

resolving bruising and speeding up the body's own healing process. I recommend a 30c potency which can be given two or three times daily until the pain subsides.

If your pet was given antibiotics before, during or after their surgical procedure, probiotics should be given. They counteract the bad effects of the antibiotic on good bacteria in the intestines. Human formulations of probiotics can be used for your pet. Make sure they contain prebiotics and have at least four or more different strains of bacteria. The dosage range would be one-fourth capsule for cats or small dogs up to a whole capsule for a large dog. Probiotics can be mixed in dry food or canned food once daily for two to three weeks. They may be given while your pet is on antibiotics, but not at the same time that the medication is administered.

Susan Swanson, DVM, practices holistic veterinary medicine at the Cat Care Clinic, 1524 Mahtomedi Ave., Mahtomedi. For more information, call 651-429-4153 or visit

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