- You can quote me
A spay is very invasive surgery. You have an excellent and experienced vet; that, and an otherwise healthy pig, are your best chances for a good outcome.
Be thoroughly prepared for some very intensive aftercare. Arrange to take a couple of days off work right after surgery if you can manage it.
Petunia will likely come home from the vet chipper, bright, and eating. This is good. This will not stay that way. She may very well go straight downhill after that, and scare you halfway to death.
Somewhere between about 24 and 60 hours postop they hit bottom, then begin to do better.
Be prepared to:
1. Forcefeed. Read the handfeeding links carefully, get some Critical Care in now, and make about 3 or 4 1cc syringes with the tips cut off **now**.
2. Have every med on hand you can think of. a. Reglan (metoclopramide) is a must!! It's a mild motility agent and you will probably want to give it to her **even if she is defecating**, because what she's defecating is what was in her preop. Then the pipeline will be empty! b. 4 or 5 day's worth of a narcotic: buprenorphine, perhaps Tramadol, perhaps butorphanol, depends on what the vet prefers. c. An NSAID, probably Metacam, possibly Rimadyl (depends on what the vet prefers).
You want to use the NSAID from the get-go to reduce swelling and inflammation as much as possible as soon as possible. You want to use the narcotic as little as possible, BUT AS MUCH AS YOU NEED TO KEEP HER COMFORTABLE!!
Consider asking the vet for a children's steroid (Pediapred, prednisolone) to have on hand. You CANNOT use this along with an NSAID, but you can use it INSTEAD of one at the beginning. Steroids are powerful anti-inflammatories and painkillers. She may need it at the start.
Then, as she improves, stop the steroid (if you needed it); ramp down the narcotic and ramp up the NSAID. Then, as she further improves, ramp down the NSAID.
You will likely be given a pre-emptive antibiotic. Try to get Bactrim. If they insist on Baytril, be sure you have probiotics as well to give her.
She probably won't want to drink. Get some unflavored Pedialyte and ask the vet for a 6 or 10cc oral syringe. Be prepared to offer this to her (don't force it like the food). Most pigs like it and will readily hydrate with it.
That's all I can think of offhand. Let us know how she's doing and any specific problems you encounter.
Thanks Talishan for all that great info, I plan to call the vet next week and ask some questions so I'll know a little more what to expect before we arrive.
- LS in AK
- Upside-down & Backwards
Macylu, I think it is healthy to fear the post-op recovery - I lost 2 sows by making mistakes during that critical period - but that was before I knew there was help and advice available on these forums. Come here, post updates and questions on Petunia's thread, and somebody will magically appear to guide you through whatever happens, guaranteed.
I have always thought that it is better to be prepared in advance then to not be prepared which adds to the stress that you already have caring for a post-op pig. You are doing the right thing by asking questions.
These are some pictures showing Petunia's hair loss and pearish shape. And her cute little face!
- You can quote me
My med-and-care post is the result of lots of experience with too many surgeries. Every single surgery is different and every single surgery will teach you something new. Sometimes the hard way. If anything any of our pigs has gone through helps another pig, so much the better. The "mixed-ramping" of the pain meds has helped us the most. The couple of vets I've mentioned it to have thoroughly agreed with my approach. It is tricky because you have to remember what you've given, when, how much, what's going up and what's going down. Write it down on a clipboard in the pig room if that helps, especially if you have help from another person; that way, they won't overmedicate or undermedicate.
Flexible, supportive husbands are a priceless gift from the Lord. To the pigs and to their primary caretakers. :-)
The pain/prep stuff goes for virtually any surgery, except perhaps for dental; they don't (well, shouldn't) go too far under for that. If a male has a tumor or abscess removed, my advice goes for them too.
Macylu, do read the postop thread carefully too. Be sure to keep her in a restricted-movement area ... a 1x2 C&C, a crappy petstore cage (this is the one thing they're good for ;-). Bed her on light-colored fleece or towels (towels preferable IME) and change at least the top one at least twice daily if you can manage it.
There's a bunch more good advice from several long-term GL'ers on Meg's thread.
- You can quote me
Do so QUICKLY. It is far better to panic over nothing than to let a postop pig decline too far. It's fast and you can't turn it around.
You are in a good location, actually. If something happens at, say, 11 p.m. your time, our California folks are still up. If it's 3 a.m., me and a handful of the other night owls and a few of our Australians will probably see your post. If it's 6 or 7 a.m., the Brits will be with you and then the continental Europeans will pick up. You're pretty well covered.