Canine Castration

IMG_1106Neutering Your Dog: What To Expect

River Road Veterinary Clinic recommends that all dogs who are not being used as part of a responsible breeding plan by an educated breeder are neutered. Neutering or castrating are common terms used to describe the surgical procedure where both testicles are removed in order to sterilize a male dog. A neutered male dog is no longer able to reproduce.  Canine neuters require general anesthesia, one day and night of hospitalization, and some specialized after care for 10 days. Dogs should be neutered around 1 year old. Neutering can be done at 6 months, but waiting can decrease the incidence of orthopedic problems later in life.

Neutering is done for a variety of reasons and the benefits include a reduction in the risk of disease, decreasing the risk of prostate cancer, prostatitis, and hormonal diseases such as perianal adenoma. It also eliminates the risk of testicular cancer, the second most common cancer in intact dogs.  Neutering also reduces certain forms of aggression and reduces urine marking in 80% of dogs with a market improvement in 40%. Additionally, neutering eliminates undesirable sexual behaviors such as attraction to female dogs which results in roaming, mounting and masturbation.

When you make an appointment to bring your dog to River Road Veterinary Clinic to be neutered we will ask you to remove his food by 6:00pm the night before surgery and not to feed him breakfast in the morning but it is okay for him to have water the entire time. We will call you the night before your appointment to remind you. You and your dog should arrive between 7:00am and 8:30am the morning of surgery. Be prepared to answer some basic questions, sign a consent form, and leave your dog overnight. We always recommend (but do not require) running preanesthetic blood work before surgery. Preanesthetic blood work allows us to evaluate organ function since the Liver and Kidneys are important in clearing the anesthesia from your dog’s system. With our consent blood is usually drawn from the jugular vein and run on our in-house equipment prior to beginning surgery.

Once your dog has been admitted to the clinic the veterinarian will listen to his heart and lungs to ensure that he sounds normal before beginning surgery. Your dog will then be given a “premedication” intended to provide pain relief and relax him prior to surgery. At this point the technicians will place the IV catheter, allowing us to give your dog fluids, as well as have immediate IV access should anything happen during surgery.

Your dog will then be given an IV anesthetic. This takes effect very quickly (within 1 minute). Once your dog is asleep he will have an endotracheal breathing tube placed, and will be hooked up to the anesthesia machine. This allows us to administer carefully controlled amounts of gas anesthesia and oxygen, as well as provide breaths for your dog if needed.

Your dog’s heart rate and respirations are carefully monitored by a technician while the surgical site is clipped and cleaned with surgical scrub. Your dog is then moved into the surgery suite. He is placed on the warmed surgical table with additional hot water bottles. His heart rate, respirations, temperature, blood pressure, and blood oxygen concentration are also read by the Cardell veterinary monitor

The veterinarian sterilely drapes the surgery site and performs the procedure through a small incision located between the scrotum and the base of the penis. Each testicle is individually separated from the scrotum, clamped, tied, cut, and removed through the incision. The incision is then closed with absorbable suture.

The gas anesthesia is shut off, the surgical site is then cleaned, nails are trimmed, and ears are cleaned while your dog is waking up. Once he is able to swallow and blink the endotracheal tube is removed. He is monitored closely by the technicians until he is sufficiently awake and will continue to receive IV fluids for at least 2 hours. His incision and temperature will be monitored that evening and the next morning. If your dog is recovering properly, he will then be ready to go home.

After you take your dog home you will need to keep him quiet for 10 days. He should be kept as calm as possible, with short hand-leashed walks only and will need to receive his pain medication for three days to decrease pain and swelling in the area. He will also need to wear an Elizabethan collar (cone) until the incision is healed. Excessive licking can cause infection and other complications. You will need to check his incision daily for signs of infection such as redness, increased swelling and discharge. If all goes well your dog will be back to his normal self and completely healed within 10-14 days.

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