SPAY AND NEUTER, EXPLAINED!
Thursday, April 3, 2008
By: Joanne Freeman
Have you ever wondered what a spay/neuter surgery entails? The article below is designed to help all our clients understand what this surgery involves and the reasons why certain protocols are so important.
Spay: The medical term for this procedure is ovariohysterectomy. The procedure involves the removal of the ovaries and uterus in a female animal. This is an abdominal surgery performed under anesthesia and done by a licensed veterinarian.
Neuter or Castration: The medical term for this procedure is orchiectomy. This applies to male pets and involves surgical removal of the testicles. A licensed veterinarian also performs this while the patient is placed under general anesthesia.
Your pet needs to have a health examination prior to this surgery. When people need surgery for various health problems, they need follow similar protocols so that their doctors are fully prepared. It is important to ensure that your pet is healthy and has no obvious medical concerns. Our staff will also recommend pre-anesthetic blood tests to be performed prior to the surgery. This is important because most anesthetic drugs are removed from the body by the liver and kidneys; therefore it is important that these organs are healthy. Our hospital laboratory is fully equipped to perform these blood tests and produce results before anesthesia. If any of these tests are abnormal, we will discuss our findings with you so that you can make an informed decision to do one of the following:
1. Postpone the anesthesia procedure until a later date
2. Further testing to pursue a specific diagnosis
3. Proceed with anesthesia, but possibly alter the drugs and procedures
***Normal blood test results do not guarantee that your pet will not have an anesthetic reaction, but they will tell us that your pet is healthy and in a low risk category. Because any anesthetic carries a serious risk, it is important to have as much information as possible to make decisions that will lower those risks.
Once we have determined that your pet is ready to be scheduled for their surgery, we will book your pet with a morning appointment for admission to our hospital. The admission process takes about 30-45 minutes. You will meet with a qualified veterinary technician to make sure that you have followed all pre-surgical protocols such as withholding food from your pet that morning. You will also have the opportunity to discuss any questions you may have.
Your pet is then admitted to the hospital where he/she will receive a pre-anesthetic injection to sedate him or her prior to the administration of general anesthesia.
At the time of surgery preparation, your pet will then be given an intravenous injection to completely anesthetize him or her. An endotracheal tube is then placed into your pet’s endotrachea (throat). This will allow an anesthetic gas and oxygen to be administered to maintain your pet’s complete sedation. The intravenous injectables are very short acting and very safe. Your pet is then prepared for surgery by shaving and cleaning the surgical site thoroughly with a special surgical scrub designed to ensure a clean site.
At this time your pet is moved to the Operating Room. Here a pulse oximeter is attached to the patient’s tongue to monitor the oxygen saturation in your pet’s blood. This equipment remains intact throughout your pet’s surgery.
A final surgery scrub is done and the veterinarian begins the procedure. The patient is then covered with a surgical drape that only leaves the incision area exposed. This will allow the doctor to make an incision while keeping the area clean. A sterilized surgery pack is used to perform this complex but very routine procedure. The incision is then sutured (stitches) with a suture material that will dissolve on its own. The gas anesthesia is then discontinued and the patient remains on an oxygen breathing system. When the patient is ready to be moved to recovery, the oxygen is disconnected and the patient is moved to the recovery area. When the patient begins to awaken the endotracheal tube is carefully removed to allow the patient to breath normally. A qualified technician is then assigned to remain with the patient during recovery.
Within a short period of time your pet is returned to the housing area and fed a small meal. Upon release, a qualified staff member will go over post-surgical instructions for pet owners to follow at home.
For information on scheduling a spay or neuter surgery for your pet, visit the Fox Spay/Neuter page.