Why is it so hard to have a factual conversation about the medical risks of spaying and neutering pets? The health implications of sterilizing dogs and cats are complex and highly individualized. Pet owners, animal advocates and veterinarians should be able to talk about them openly and honestly. But we can't.
Possible Complications for Dogs After Spaying
Why not? The backlash can be so severe, for example, that when I've reported research about increased health risks in sterilized dogs or cats, I've been accused of not caring about the lives of shelter pets, or of being hopelessly naive about people's ability to analyze the risks and benefits of medical procedures.
Read the advice in dog and cat magazines or the Web sites of animal welfare organizationsand you'll be assured that not only are there no adverse effects of spaying and neutering, but opting for the surgery will make your pets healthier and better behaved. Conventional wisdom says that altered pets are less likely to soil in the house, to roam and to fight.
They won't get testicular, uterine or ovarian cancer or infections, and they'll have a greatly reduced chance of getting mammary cancer.
It sounds so great it almost makes you want to rush right out and get spayed or neutered yourself. Some of those things are true. You can't get cancer or an infection in an organ that you no longer possess, so it's accurate to say that your dog or cat won't get ovarian, uterine or testicular cancer or infections.
And there is an increased incidence of mammary cancer in unspayed female dogs and a pretty high rate of uterine infection as well. But there are also notable health risks associated with having your dogs and cats spayed or neutered.
These include an increased incidence of some cancers, including osteosarcoma, a painful and usually fatal bone cancer, in neutered male dogs. Neutered males also have a greater chance of getting prostate cancer and transitional cell carcinoma of the bladder. Spayed females have a greater incidence of urinary incontinence. They may also have a higher risk of bladder infections.
Meanwhile, spayed female and neutered male dogs have a significantly greater incidence of anterior cruciate ligament injuries than intact dogs. Recent research by Purdue University suggests that female dogs and, interestingly, female humans live longer if they keep their ovaries.
And yes, no matter what you've been told, study after study has shown that spayed and neutered dogs and cats weigh more when fed the same amount of calories as intact animals. The surgery won't "make" them fat, but by changing how their metabolism functions, the amount of food they can eat without gaining weight is reduced. For most dogs and cats that's actually no big deal -- just feed them a little less, exercise them a little more, and they'll be fine.
But how do you do that when you're having it beaten into your brain that spaying and neutering does not, cannot, will not make your dog or cat fat or have any other adverse effects? This is where I have a problem. I'm not opposed to spaying and neutering. Most of my dogs and all of my cats have been sterilized. I believe that for most pets, the health benefits will outweigh the risks. Furthermore, most people will choose to sterilize their family pets because managing intact dogs and cats is often messy and inconvenient, and our increasingly urbanized and over-scheduled lives only make it more of a hassle.
Most importantly, the benefit to society of preventing unwanted litters of puppies and kittens is huge. Dogs and cats who are never born can't die in a shelter or live homeless on the streets.
But is any of that a valid reason for what I can only call the deliberate spreading of false and misleading information? Does it justify the anger and opposition that meets me and anyone else who openly discusses the medical risks to spaying and neutering? Yes, I know there are millions of homeless pets in this country.
And there are people out there who will seize on any excuse not to alter their pets.Complications after Dog SpaySpay is permanent form of sterilization of a female dog. Usually, spay is performed around the time the dog is six months old.
Spay refers to surgical procedure known as ovariohysterectomy. Overiohysterectomy involves removal of both the uterus and the ovaries. This procedure is done to prevent the dog producing unwanted puppies. Spaying also benefits health and well being of an animal. This procedure reduces the risk of breast and mammary cancer and various disorders of reproductive tract, such as an infection of the uterus known as pyometra and uterine neoplasia. Spaying ProcedureBefore the procedure, the dog receives general anesthesia.
The surgeon makes an incision in the middle of the abdomen and locates the reproductive tract. Then, the surgeon ties off both ovaries and observes transected tissue for bleeding. Uterus attaches are also tied off and cut and abdomen is checked for bleeding. The incision is closed with three layers of stitches by separately suturing internal muscle layer, subcutaneous tissue and outer skin. Sutures are usually absorbable and dissolve on their own but some surgeons choose non absorbable sutures that will have to be removed after several days.
Possible Complication This procedure is performed routinely and the complications are rare.
Spay Surgery Complications
However, possible complications include the risk of surgery and anesthesia, hemorrhage and wound infection. After ovariohysterectomy hormonal changes may occur due to removal of the reproductive organs and it can cause physical and mental changes in the dog. The dog may experience inability to withhold the urine because of lack of estrogen. Weight gain may occur as well.
Other possible complications include suture reactions and infections, self-inflicted trauma and seroma. The risk of possible complications can be reduced with appropriate postoperative care but in case they occur inform your veterinarian as soon as possible.
There is a possibility of separation of layers of the incision or dog may chew out the sutures. For the first couple of days after spaying, the dog should rest and only go out to the bathroom. For the next 7 to 14 days on-leash walking is allowed. The dog must not be allowed to run, jump or climb. Lampshade collar can prevent the dog from licking the sutures and the incision should be regularly checked for signs of swelling, redness or heat.Spaying a dog in heat may lead to complications that should not be underestimated.
The answer is that yes, you can spay a dog in heat, but it can be problematic for several reasons. Once you learn about these cons, you can then make a more informed decision on whether you should spay your dog in heat now or perhaps just wait another week or two.
These features make the surgery more complicated for the veterinarian performing it. The spay procedure may therefore take longer generally, up to 30 minutes more and may be more complicated than when the dog is not in heat.
On top of being more complicated for the veterinarian, spaying a dog in heat can predispose the dog to more complications. What complications are associated with spaying a dog in heat?
With the uterus and ovaries more vascular, there is more bleeding during, and after the surgery, and the tissues may be more delicate. There are also chances for more serious bleeding occurring if there would be an issue in tying off the associated blood vessels, explains veterinarian Dr. B, veterinarian. This is because, as mentioned, the surgery will take a little longer and the vet may need to use more surgical supplies such as gauze sponges and sutures, not to mention, surgical laser if deemed necessary.
How much more will it cost to spay a dog in heat? Of course, the pricing may vary from one location to another. Because spaying a dog in heat is more complicated, it is best done by an experienced, skilled veterinarian. Did you know? Male dogs will still be interested in your female dog after surgery which can be problematic. Allowing a recently spayed dog to mate as she recovers from her spay surgery can be dangerous and result in serious injury to the surgical site. Male and female dogs must therefore be kept separated.
The ideal time is at least two months after she was in standing heat, when she basically is in the anestrus phase, explains Dr. Margaret V. As seen, spaying a dog in heat comes with several complications. Many vets are comfortable spaying dogs in heat, but some may prefer you rather wait a couple of weeks. It often boils down to personal choice. Facebook Comments.A seroma can form at an incision site after surgery. A seroma is a swelling resulting from the accumulation of fluid under the skin.
It occurs when a dog is active immediately after surgery instead of remaining inactive during the post-surgery phase. This can become very serious, needing immediate attention by a veterinarian, who may have to drain the fluid. However, most often the body absorbs the fluid and the swelling diminishes.
Seromas can occur anytime after surgery, causing puffiness, swelling and the accumulation of fluid around the incision area. Therefore it is usually watery with a slight blood color, but not as dark as blood itself. Seromas are caused by the inflammation at the incision site. During the healing process, which can last from 7 to 10 days, careful monitoring is necessary.
Sutures must be monitored throughout the recovery period. Depending upon the depth of the surgery and the type of the wound, the sutures can be multi-layered. The deepest layer closes deep tissues while the middle layer brings the lower layer of the skin together. The most exterior sutures bring the outer skin layer together and are the only visible layer of the wound. It is this layer that can become loose, especially if the dog chews at them.
An Elizabethan collar may be used to prevent a dog from having access to the sutures and either chew or lick them. However, he is still able to eat and drink. Checking the wound site daily for any changes is extremely important. Any formation of seromas should be monitored and drained if deemed necessary by a veterinarian. Hydrogen peroxide wipes can clean up any fluid discharge and hot and cold therapy sessions can help reduce swelling.
If the incision area is dirty or if there is a foul odor emitting from the wound, seek immediate medical attention. Vet Info search. Tweet Like Share Email. Accumulation of Fluid Seromas can occur anytime after surgery, causing puffiness, swelling and the accumulation of fluid around the incision area.
Careful Monitoring Sutures must be monitored throughout the recovery period. Formation of seromas due to the accumulation of fluids at the wound site, exposing the incision to infection or possible herniation of the tiss ues deep within the incision. Discharge at the incision site in the form of clear or slightly blood tinged fluid. This discharge should not be dripping nor should it be bloody.
Tissues from the underlying skin layer should not protrude from the wound. This can lead to a fatal infection. Emergency treatment is usually necessary. Treatment Checking the wound site daily for any changes is extremely important. All rights reserved.T here are many benefits to spaying your dog. With this procedure done, you won't have to worry about your pooch going into heat every three weeks, and all the complications that may present, the possibility of puppies, and the increased risk of diseases.
Furthermore, studies have shown that you can increase her life expectancy by spaying, and by decreasing her chance of future diseases, including breast cancer and uterine infections. With all of the benefits to spaying your female dog, it's important to keep in mind the possible complications that could occur once you have made the decision. Typically, most possible issues that could happen after the surgery include: infection, spay incontinence, opening an incision, seromas, and hernia.
You should check your female pup for infection no less than twice each day. Infection will make the incision site become red and hot to the touch. It could also cause the incision site to ooze blood or puss. An infection could occur if your dog is excessively cleaning or chewing at the incision site. Do not allow any other pets in the home to lick the incision site either. Usually, internal sutures, or stitches, are used to close the opening from a spay surgery, so you will not be able to see visible stitches, but if infected or bothered the sutures could open.
There is a chance, even though the sutures are placed internally, for your dog to loosen or break the sutures open. By opening the incision there is a greater risk for infection as well as a host of other problems. Your dog may be able to open her sutures by licking or gnawing on the incision site.
She may also open the incision by tearing or breaking the sutures if she plays hard or exercises too much. In fact, it might take some time for this complication to present itself. By decreasing the hormone your dog may not be able to control her bladder. This complication is usually seen in dogs from larger breeds. If your dog is suffering from post-spay incontinence, talk to your veterinarian.
The vet will be able to assess the animal and will potentially prescribe her medication. Supplemental estrogen as well as herbal supplements are commonly used to help the urinary health of your dog. A seroma is a lump or blister that occurs at, near, or under the incision site.
If there is puss that emerges from the area then your dog might have an abscess.See files for Dogs. Sterilizing a dog has many benefits. Whether spaying a female dog or castrating a male dog, it is a procedure recommended by veterinarians as it helps reduce dog abandonment, prevents certain diseases and reduces the risk of behavioral problems.
Complications from the procedures are rare. However, as they are surgical interventions, there are still risks which needs to be taken into consideration. Even the fact that surgery is carried out at all makes some dog guardians question if it is worth the operation.
Complications From Spaying a Dog in Heat
This is why AnimalWised tells you more about possible complications after spaying or neutering a dog. We show you how the risk does not outweigh the benefits, but also what signs and symptoms we need to be observant of in the unlikely case a complication does arise. Sterilization is the process rendering of an animal infertile. However, not all sterilization is permanent. For example, causing a dog to be fertile through medication will not be effective once the medication is stopped.
Neutering, on the other hand, is the process of making an animal permanently infertile, in the majority of cases irreversibly. The hormones produced in the sex hormones influence many factors in the dog's physical and behavioral development. Neutering eliminates the majority of testosterone and estrogen production in a dog's body. The result is a reduction of sexually dimorphic behaviorsi.
For example, a female dog will no longer have her estrus cycle and will not display the erratic behaviors of heat. Male dogs will be less aggressive as they have no need to compete for a female and will generally carryout less urine marking behavior.
However, when the neutering procedure takes place will have some effect on behavioral changes. For example, if the dog is neutered after they have become sexually mature, they may still exhibit certain behaviors afterwards. Below we will look into some of the specifics according to canine sex. Although a dog may remain fertile for a short period after castration, eventually the procedure will permanently prevent them from being able to reproduce.
In addition, this intervention means they will:. Again, we need to stress that the probability of having complications from neutering a dog is slim when we take make the proper safeguarding precautions. It is considered minor surgery. However, we still need to be vigilant in case any of the following arises:.A number of health benefits are cited, yet evidence is usually not cited to support the alleged health benefits.
At times, some risks are mentioned, but the most severe risks usually are not. Nearly all of the health risks and benefits summarized in this article are findings from retrospective epidemiological research studies of dogs, which examine potential associations by looking backwards in time.
A few are from prospective research studies, which examine potential associations by looking forward in time.
It also suggests how much we really do not yet understand about this subject. On balance, it appears that no compelling case can be made for neutering most male dogs, especially immature male dogs, in order to prevent future health problems. The number of health problems associated with neutering may exceed the associated health benefits in most cases. For female dogs, the situation is more complex. The number of health benefits associated with spaying may exceed the associated health problems in some not all cases.
On balance, whether spaying improves the odds of overall good health or degrades them probably depends on the age of the female dog and the relative risk of various diseases in the different breeds. Breed, age, and gender are variables that must be taken into consideration in conjunction with non-medical factors for each individual dog.
Across-the-board recommendations for all pet dogs do not appear to be supportable from findings in the veterinary medical literature. All surgery incurs some risk of complications, including adverse reactions to anesthesia, hemorrhage, inflammation, infection, etc.
Complications include only immediate and near term impacts that are clearly linked to the surgery, not to longer term impacts that can only be assessed by research studies. At one veterinary teaching hospital where complications were tracked, the rates of intraoperative, postoperative and total complications were 6. Other studies found a rate of total complications from spaying of This would not be an unreasonable assumption, given that prostate cancer in humans is linked to testosterone.
But the evidence in dogs does not support this claim. There have been several conflicting epidemiological studies over the years that found either an increased risk or a decreased risk of prostate cancer in neutered dogs. These studies did not utilize control populations, rendering these results at best difficult to interpret.
This may partially explain the conflicting results. More recently, two retrospective studies were conducted that did utilize control populations. One of these studies involved a dog population in Europe5 and the other involved a dog population in America6.
Both studies found that neutered male dogs have a four times higher risk of prostate cancer than intact dogs. This needs to be put in perspective. Unlike the situation in humans, prostate cancer is uncommon in dogs.
Given an incidence of prostate cancer in dogs of less than 0.