Animals must be observed to ensure uneventful recovery from anesthesia and surgery. The animal must be monitored continuously until ambulatory, and should be returned to its regular cage only when it is alert, mobile, and breathing normally. The animal should be kept warm and dry and fluids, analgesics, and antibiotics administered as required. Surgical wounds should be kept clean, and bandages or wound dressings changed as frequently as necessary to keep them clean and dry.
Subsequent care may include supportive fluids, analgesics, antibiotic treatment, and other drugs as required; monitoring of the animal including clinical observation for signs of pain, abnormal behavior, appetite and excretory functions; providing adequate care of surgical incisions; and maintaining appropriate medical records.
CAUTION: Use of heat lamps and electric heating pads can result in severe burns or hyperthermia in animals that are anesthetized or otherwise unable to escape from the heat. The use of circulating water blankets is recommended by the ARC. If electric heating pads are used, the pad should be set on low, a light cloth covering should be placed between the animal and the pad, and the animal must be observed frequently for signs of hyperthermia. Because heat lamps may cause severe hyperthermia or other thermal injury, their use is prohibited unless specifically determined appropriate for a particular species (e.g., pigs).