Neutering (castration) of Dogs

Neutering or castration is the surgical removal of a male dog’s testicles. The parts that are removed are the parts that are needed for reproduction.

Advantages

The primary advantage is sterilization. This helps with population control, prevents spreading of disease and helps reduce roaming, aggression, and dominance (because castration removes the source of testosterone production).

Because castration removes the main source of testosterone, medical conditions related to the production of testosterone can be prevented. These include enlargement of the prostate, prostatic abscesses and certain types of tumors around the anus (perianal or perineal adenomas). Even after these conditions occur, castration will be recommended because it will help improve these conditions.

Puppies can be neutered as young as 12 weeks of age. Advantages of neutering early include:

  • Dogs neutered at a young age have fewer behavioral problems
  • Surgery is generally faster, easier because puppies are not fully developed
  • Faster, easier surgery means fewer anesthetic risks and faster healing
  • Puppies bleed less compared to older dogs, making the surgery post operative care easier and less painful.

Prior to surgery

Prior to surgery the doctor will do a physical examination to ensure there are no health issues that will interfere with your pet’s safety during anesthesia. Prior to anesthesia lab work is recommended to rule out potential kidney, liver or blood disorders.

A mild sedative and pain mediation is given before surgery. When given prior to surgery pain medication will help to relieve more pain than when given after surgery. Research has shown that controlling pain, and making our patients more comfortable leads to faster healing and smoother recovery.

Anesthesia

Prior to anesthesia we place an IV catheter so that we can give injections as well as administerIV fluids throughout surgery. IV fluids are given to maintain blood pressure and help protect kidney function. Initially an intravenous injection of a drug or combination of drugs is given to induce anesthesia. The patient is maintained during surgery in a controlled anesthetic plane with an inhalant anesthetic, isoflurane. Using a combination of anesthetic drugs helps contribute to a steady plane of anesthesia during surgery, as well as quick recovery after surgery. Because of the type of anesthesia protocol we use, we are able to discharge our patients the same day as surgery. Maintenance and monitoring Our hospital uses Pulse Oximetry equipment, which is a non-invasive method of monitoring of the oxygenation of the patient’s blood oxygen level. The slightest change from normal levels will trigger an alarm giving the doctor an advantage of being able to respond quickly to any problem with blood oxygenation. A trained veterinary technician, who stays with the patient during the entire surgery monitors Temperature, respiration rate, and continuous EKG (cardiac rate and rhythm).

Surgery

We carefully clip and do a surgical preparation of the scrotum and surrounding area prior to surgery. The doctor will make an incision into the scrotal sac and remove the testicles. Vastectomies (which consist of ligating the ducts that care the sperm) are rarely done in dogs., Older dogs tend to have more hemorrhage (blood vessels more developed), than puppies, so older, mature dogs will tend to have more swelling and bruising.

Recovery

After surgery, we transport your pet to an area for anesthetic recovery. Because of the type of anesthesia protocol used, and the pain medications given, your pet will have a smooth recovery and will be ready to go home later that day.

Home care

Once you are home, offer only small amounts of water at first – give your dog some time to adjust to water and food after surgery. If he does well with small amounts, you can increase the amount you offer. Restrict her exercise for 7 to 10 days, if she is very active, consider walking her on a leash outside. Watch to make sure she is not excessively licking or chewing at the incision. Make sure you give her pain medication that she received when discharged from the hospital. Pain medication works best when given consistently. If you miss a dose you are “chasing the pain”, and pain control will not be as effective. And, as always, we are here 24 hours a day. Please call with any question, day or night. We are here to help!

Possible complications

Although general anesthesia and surgery always involve a certain amount of risk, it is unlikely that your dog will have any serious problem with her surgery. If your pet licks excessively or chews excessively at the incision, loses appetite, seems lethargic or any other issue you have a question about, please immediately give us a call. Some patients will need to live with an E-collar (lampshade around the neck) a few days to prevent licking or chewing. A little licking is OK, persistent licking is not.