Q: My eight-month-old Jack Russell Terrier was spayed a week ago, but she is already back to her hyperactive self. I thought she would be calmer and less excitable. Should I stop her from playing in case her healing is hindered?
A: Most dogs have a very high tolerance for pain—they often “spring back” to their usual selves within three to five days post-surgery. Moreover, your furkid is a Jack Russell Terrier (JRT). They are well-known for being extremely active and playful. Aren’t you amazed by your little terrier’s courage?
It is true that sterilisation usually calms the canine hormones down. It is a process where veterinarians remove the ovaries (in females) and testes (in males). In doing so, the sex hormones are greatly reduced, but not completely absent, as some of these hormones can still be produced from the brain. This usually causes the animal to be less excitable, as there is less sexual frustration. They may also be less distracted by other dogs and have an improved appetite. However, sterilisation does not change your pet’s personality. If your furkid is outgoing and loves to explore by nature, that will not change.
Yes, the jumping and excessive running will affect proper wound-healing. As the surgical site will require at least 10 to 14 days to recover, it is important to keep your girl well rested by limiting her movement. Do not shower her for two weeks post-surgery, and make sure she does not lick her wound. You can try putting her in a playpen, but being a JRT, she may very well jump out! If that happens, consider a small bedroom or toilet so that she will have less space to run. If the surgical wound gets swollen from all the activity, it will get more painful and infection can happen, breaking the wound open. Should any of these signs show up, quickly put on an Elizabethan collar and bring her for a physical check-up by your veterinary surgeon. Oral antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medication will be needed. Meanwhile, you will need to clean the wound, apply antibiotic cream and dress the wound with new bandages daily. Few cases require another surgery to re-stitch the opened surgical site, but it is possible. It’s best to keep her movement to the minimum for her own good, so if she really refuses to rest at home, check with your vet—they may suggest hospitalisation for seven to 10 days to allow proper rest in a cage.