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Knowing that Sassy will experience a peritonitis (infection in her abdomen) from the abdominal contamination we must provide her with excellent, broad-spectrum (meaning active against a wide-range of bacteria) antibiotics. Because we must let her intestinal tract rest and recover from surgery, the best way to provide these is through intravenous antibiotics.
Because of the degree of her injuries and contamination, it is always possible that a section of intestine that looked good during surgery will lose it's blood supply and become necrotic. It is also possible that the anastamosis site will not be sealed well or could become unsealed. And finally, the contamination of the abdomen could result in such severe infection that would warrant further lavage (flushing). So it is critical to monitor Sassy's temperature, attitude and possibly white blood cell count to see if she needs a second surgery.
With the damage to her intestines and the anastamosis, we must let her intestinal tract heal before we stress it with food so Sassy is held off all oral supplements (including water, food and antibiotics). She is supplemented with i.v. fluids to prevent dehydration. After 36 hours she is offered water to drink. And since she doesn't vomit, 12 hours later she is offered a small amount of very soft food.
Fortunately, Sassy is a very strong and loving patient. Within 48 hours of her surgery she is eating eagerly. After several days we are able to switch her to oral antibiotics and send her home.