After any surgical procedure, your pet will be discharged from the hospital wearing an Elizabethan Collar (i.e. E-Collar, Cone, Funnel, etc.).
Though the collar will take some getting used to by your pet, it is CRITICAL for proper healing of the incision. Dogs and cats naturally want to lick and chew at their incisions, but they do not understand that doing so can lead to serious consequences. A rigid E-collar is the most effective way to prevent this licking and chewing.
Without a properly-fitted E-collar, it is possible for your pet to lick or chew an incision completely open in less than a minute. This is true for external stitches, staples, or absorbable sutures. As hard as you may try, it is not possible to monitor your pet every second of every day.
Licking or chewing the incision can quickly lead to:
- Torn sutures
- Open incisions
- Delayed Healing
- For abdominal incisions (spays, bladder surgery, gastrointestinal surgery, etc.) even potentially fatal self-evisceration.
Most pets adjust to temporary life in an E-collar within 24 hours. The key is to leave the collar on at all times. Expect some bumping into things while they adjust. Constantly removing and replacing the E-collar forces your pet to adapt all over again. Dogs and cats can easily eat, drink, sleep, urinate, and defecate with the E-collar in place.
If your pet is sent home with an E-collar and you remove it at home, and your pet subsequently damages the incision to the point that it requires further treatment, you will be responsible for additional costs related to said treatment. That may include:
- Cleaning/Disinfecting the incision
- Additional pain medication or sedatives
- General Anesthesia
- Repeat surgery
- Repair of self-trauma
For most surgeries, your pet will need to keep the E-collar on until the sutures or staples are removed, or about 10-14 days. Your doctor will give you specific instructions.