A symptom can be any sensation or bodily change in a patient. When the patient is your dog, you're at a disadvantage because she cannot tell you how she feels after being spayed--but her behavior can indicate if she is having problems. And there are physical signs you can check for even if she is behaving normally. Always be watchful after your dog has any kind of surgery, including this one.
Pain as a Symptom
Spaying is a surgical procedure. After spaying, your dog is likely to experience some level of pain. Some dogs behave normally within hours of surgery. Others whimper, cry, pace, moan and try to bite the incision for several days afterward. Most fall between these two extremes. Discuss pain medication options with your vet before the surgery. Many vets suggest giving pain medication after surgery and before a pain spiral begins to keep the dog comfortable and give her time to heal.
Excess Activity as a Symptom
When a dog is spayed, she undergoes abdominal surgery. Your dog may take the pain medication your veterinarian has prescribed and feel so little pain that she becomes too active too soon. If she this happens, she can damage her incision. In this instance, pain is what alerts her to the fact that she has an incision. Check your dog's incision daily after spaying and check with your vet if your dog seems overly active. Follow your veterinarian's instructions and advice about pain medication.
As with any surgery, complications can occur after a dog is spayed. These are exceptions, but they do happen. Your dog can have a reaction to the anesthetic; her stitches can pull and break or she can develop an infection. Report any bleeding at the site of the incision or any vaginal bleeding in the hours or days after the surgery to your veterinarian right away.
Similarly, if during recovery from surgery your dog is unusually listless, that can be a symptom of a complication. If she shows little or no interest in eating or drinking water, if she becomes very weak, if she has a fever, vomits, has diarrhea or displays signs of pain when she is handled, contact your veterinarian. If the area surrounding her sutures becomes inflamed, also contact your vet.
Hormonal changes occur in dogs who have had their reproductive organs removed. Some dogs experience long-term effects that are not desired changes. A tendency to gain weight is one symptom that can occur after spaying. Some dogs have episodes of urinary incontinence. If your dog loses control of urine unexpectedly, contact your veterinarian. Another symptom some dogs experience is a decrease in stamina. Any of these long-term effects can occur months or even years after your dog is spayed.