Why Your Dog Should Have Neuter Surgery

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neuter surgery

Many dog owners have questions about the neuter surgery, what is involved, when is the best time to do it, side effects of the surgery, what it costs, as well as many more questions. In this article, we will address some common questions about dog neuter surgery.

What is a neuter surgery?

The word “neuter” is from the Latin word neuter, meaning the removal of an animal’s reproductive organ. The term neuter refers to both male and female animals.  Other terms commonly used to describe neuter surgery are “castration” which refers to the removal of an animal’s reproductive organ in males, or the term “spay” or “spaying” for females.  Other terms used to refer to neutering is “de-sexing” and “fixing”.

What are the benefits of getting your dog neutered?

Some of the most common benefits of neuter surgery include:

  • Help control the animal population. According to Wikipedia, “six to eight million animals are brought to shelters each year with an estimated three to four million subsequently euthanized, including 2.7 million considered healthy and adoptable”. Neutering can help avoid pet overpopulation. Accidental and unwanted litters commonly happen to even the most careful owners.
  • Control roaming. Intact dogs commonly roam and run away which can lead to fights, exposure to toxins, ingestion and exposure to garbage, being hit by a car, gunshot wounds, and much more. There is also a risk of your dog biting another dog or person, which can cause liability, expenses, and legal issues.
  • Eliminate pregnancy risks. There are several health problems and risks that can be associated with pregnancy that can be life-threatening and expensive to treat.
  • Eliminate medical problems and expenses associated with having puppies and the medical issues that commonly develop.
  • Decrease behavioral problems. There is an increased risk of behavioral issues including humping, territorial spraying and marking behavior, and/or aggression.
  • Decrease the risk of cancers. Neutering can remove the risk of testicular cancer, uterine cancer, and ovarian cancer.
  • Eliminates the risk of a life-threatening uterine infection (pyometra).
  • A large reduction in the risk of mammary (breast) cancer.

Neutering has many benefits but is not without controversy. For example, there can be an increase in obesity and potentially some types of cancer in dogs that are neutered. Learn more about some of this in this article by the Irreverent Veterinarian: To Neuter or Not to Neuter – What You Should Know.

Here is another good article – What Are the Benefits of Spaying and Neutering Your Pet?

What are the risks associated with neuter surgery? 

The major risks are those of general anesthesia, post-operative infection, bleeding, and wound breakdown over the incision. Overall the complication rate is very low, but serious complications can result in death or the need for additional surgery.

How long is a dog in the hospital after neuter surgery? 

Most dogs come to the veterinary hospital in the morning, have surgery and are released the same day or occasionally the day following surgery.

How do you take care of a dog after neuter surgery? 

After being neutered, your dog may feel tired or groggy that night and for the first 24 to 48 hours. Most dogs are back to a normal attitude and appetite in 1 to 2 days.

Care post-neuter surgery care for dogs include:

  • Give any prescribed pain medication or antibiotics.
  • Keep your dog quiet for approximately two weeks after he returns home from the hospital to allow him to heal. Leash walks only with no excessive running, jumping, or playing.
  • Give prescribed sedative medications such as Acepromazine and Trazodone to keep your dog quiet.
  • Monitor the skin sutures, if present. Look for abnormal signs of redness, swelling, or discharge.
  • See your vet for recommended suture removal. Sometimes sutures are absorbable.
  • Return to your vet for rechecks. Many veterinarians may want to check the incision one-week post-surgery to ensure it is healing normally.
  • Do not allow your dog to lick or chew at the incision. If your dog licks the incision line, prevent from licking by placing an e-collar on your dog or a t-shirt to prevent exposure to the incision line.

Learn more about What Happens When a Dog Gets Spayed and about post-op care or What to Expect After Neutering a Dog.

When do you neuter dogs? 

The best time to neuter is when your dog is young and healthy as opposed to when your dog is older and has life-threatening uterine infections (Pyometra) or prostate problems.

Neutering is most commonly recommended around six months of age. However, neutering is done in some situations as early as 6 to 8 weeks but can be done at any age.

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