Common Dog Surgery Complications

Whether a simple spaying or neutering procedure or an operation to deal with a more serious medical condition, dog surgery can be helpful at treating a variety of different conditions and preventing others from arising in your pet. Most dog surgeries can be performed at the veterinarian's office, and the vast majority of procedures that are commonly done will fully heal within a few days. Still, even with careful monitoring and excellent care, there are many different complications that can come up. Because some of these may begin as minor complications but develop into serious threats to your pet's health, it's important that you know what to expect when your pet leaves the operating room.

Infection after Dog Surgery

One of the most serious complications from canine surgery is infection. If your pet's wounds or incision areas are not properly cared for, it's easy for them to become infected, as bacteria is able to enter into your pet's system and multiply. In other cases, infection can occur inside of your pet's body as a result of the surgery. In either case, treating the infection promptly and properly is crucial to your dog's overall health and well being. If you don't deal with the infection quickly, it can easily spread to other parts of his body, thereby making surgery impossible and posing a much greater health risk.

Licking and Gnawing

Dogs often have a difficult time ignoring the incisions or other vestiges of surgery after the operation. By licking, chewing or gnawing on a part of their body, dogs can easily bring about infection or cause other complications, like delayed recovery time. For this reason, many dogs are given a special cone or other device to wear around their head in order to ensure that they're unable to reach their wounds.


It's not uncommon for the site of an incision from a dog surgery to become swollen or to emit certain types of discharge. These are potentially painful, uncomfortable complications for your pet and could be signs of an infection. In either case, it's important to properly clean the incision area and to make sure that your dog isn't able to rub at it.

Incomplete Sutures

If your pet suffers from incomplete sutures or a damaged incision, you may see inner tissue emerging from the incision. This is a very problematic issue in terms of your pet's timely recovery. Incisions are put in place to help the skin to heal over as quickly as possible. If the skin folds around the area of the incision are not properly connected to one another or there is other tissue that emerges from them, your pet's incision will be much more likely to become infected and may not heal quickly, if at all.

If you suspect that anything is wrong, or if your pet's surgery recovery period seems to be longer than you expected, consult with a veterinarian immediately.