The Seriousness of Spaying and Castration

Based on the questions I am asked daily, it is clear to me that most pet owners are very unaware of the serious nature of the “neutering” and “spaying” surgery. Every owner considering having their female

dog or cat “spayed” should be aware that the operation is a complicated major surgery and is in truth an “ovariohysterectomy” which means that the entire uterus along with both ovaries are surgically removed. In addition, large blood vessels must be severed and tied carefully so that serious hemorrhaging does not occur.

Many pet owners are given a false sense of security when the non­ threatening, familiar term “spay” is used. A large number of pet owners do not realize that” spaying” a dog or cat is truly major abdominal surgery. Many believe that it is done in just minutes, using some special little instrument. Other more sophisticated but equally misinformed pet owners think that “spaying” is a simple “tubal ligation”. Unfortunately the operation is not so simple and every veterinarian I know has sweated over more than one NOT so simple spay. If veterinarians were asked, I believe most would say that spaying is amongst one of the most difficult operations they routinely perform.

Furthermore, “spaying” and “neutering” require the pet receive a general anesthetic and as with any operation requiring a general anesthetic it must be considered very serious business. General anesthesia whether on a person or pet has inherent risks which can be reduced but not eliminated. These risk include potentially fatal respiratory and cardiac arrests. Animals must be carefully monitored to spot signs of such impending disasters so that rapid action may be taken to resuscitate the animal. Up to date equipment along with an alert, well trained surgical staff is the key to safely administering and monitoring general anesthesia.

A pre-anesthetic blood screen is now recommended by most veterinarians in an attempt to catch hidden problems such as dehydration, anemia, infection, liver and kidney disease.

Any surgery presupposes a risk of infection. However, “major” surgery like the “spaying” operation where the abdomen is opened and entered to remove large masses of tissue provides an opportunity for bacteria to settle and multiply in the deeper tissues of the body. It is therefore of utmost importance that this surgery be done under absolutely sterile conditions using steam sterilized surgical instruments, drapes, gloves and attire.

Because the “spay” and “neuter” surgery is performed so frequently and spoken about so matter of factly most pet owners are unaware of how important it is to have their pet’s surgery and anesthesia performed by some one they trust and have confidence in. When you have your pet spayed you are literally putting that animal’s life in the hands of the veterinarian doing the surgery. So if it is time to “spay” or “neuter” your pet and you do not have a regular veterinarian, rather than shopping around for the best deal, friend or neighbor if they have a veterinary clinic they could highly recommend. Any time your pet requires surgery &/or anesthesia it is very important to go to a veterinarian you trust will give your pet the careful, individual attention and anesthetic monitoring your pet deserves. Take responsibility for your pet’s welfare by giving your little friend every chance to have a safe and successful surgical experience.

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