Neutering Your Female Dog

female dog

Having your female dog neutered can be a daunting thought, and various factors like wanting to breed, weight and behaviour change are common reasons we encounter from owners who aren’t comfortable with the idea.

Please read and have a think about the following information whilst making your decision:

Health benefits
• Significant risk reduction of mammary cancer, when neutered before 1st or 2nd season.
• Absent risk of uterine infections (Pyometra) and ovarian or uterine cancer.
• Absent risk of post-season issues: un-wanted pregnancy, phantom pregnancy, infection.
• On average, female dogs live 26% longer after neutering at an appropriate age.

Financial benefits
• Routine neutering is a discounted procedure, and can also be subject to extra discount based on benefit status. Compared to other veterinary operations, it is cheaper. Emergency operations: caesarean-sections, Pyometra surgery, mammary cancer removal and tumour-staging are not subject to discounts and will be expensive compared to neutering costs, due to technical expertise, drug and equipment costs.

Owner benefits
• No seasons to deal with. 2-3 weeks of vaginal bleeding and avoiding entire male dogs can be stressful for owner and patient.
• Breeding female dogs is not always stress free or financially rewarding once veterinary fees, feeding puppies, and organising homes and worming has been taken care of.

**Breeding animals should not be seen as a financial investment for owners, and the health of the pet should always be paramount when owning an animal.**

Vet considerations
We would like to remind every owner there are situations where neutering is better delayed, and this should be discussed on an individual basis with a veterinary surgeon:

• Increased risk of urinary incontinence can occur after neutering. This is not life threatening and can be managed well.
• Puppies who exhibit juvenile vaginal infections or juvenile incontinence are worth special consideration and veterinary discussion; we may suggest allowing the first season.
• Certain larger breed dogs are candidates for delaying neutering, especially if evidence of bone-growth problems or joint disease is occurring: this is best discussed with the vet.
• Patients who have health problems that are inherited e.g. Skin allergies, developmental health problems, or behavioural issues will be candidates for neutering so as not to pass unhealthy conditions on to offspring. This should be discussed with a veterinary surgeon on a case by case basis.

Common Owner misconceptions
We often encounter owners who have had conflicting advice on neutering from friends, family and breeders. Please remember that we as Veterinary Surgeons and Veterinary Nurses have had professional training that is subject to research, evidence based medicine and clinical experience. We see the pros and cons of neutering on a daily basis and our advice is impartial and always for the benefit of your pet. Please remember, even if someone has had years of breeding experience and ‘knows best’, their advice to you might not always be based on balanced clinical thinking, and might not take into account the individual needs of your pet. Always speak to a trained veterinary professional about neutering.

Common worries:

“I don’t want my pet going under anaesthetic”
This is a common and legitimate concern. Modern veterinary anaesthetics are safe and risks to your pet are very low: vets and nurses spend a lot of time ensuring our anaesthetic procedures and knowledge are exemplary, resulting in high levels of anaesthetic safety. The individual anaesthetic risks of your pet can be discussed with the vet.

“I’ve had operations and encountered pain; I don’t want this for my pet.”
All patients receive gold standard pain therapy before, during and after neutering. Neutered female dogs go home with pain relief and this ongoing need is evaluated at post-operative checks. One of our most common problems is trying to keep patients quiet after ops and not trying to run around like a normal pain free dog!

“My dog should have puppies to ‘settle her down’, and my dog’s behaviour will change after neutering.”
Working in vet practices, experience has told us that having a litter of puppies doesn’t alter a dog’s personality or behaviour for better or worse, and this is an area subject to human emotions. We need to be careful not to project our maternal feelings onto dogs!

“My dog will gain weight after neutering.”
With careful attention to dietary management a neutered dog will not gain weight. This shouldn’t be a consideration when weighed up alongside proven medical benefits.

You will also be offered the option of peri-operative intravenous fluid therapy to your pet throughout their stay. Fluid therapy is available to all patients at a fixed price for surgery; however we particularly emphasise fluid therapy for elderly patients or patients with current medical conditions. Fluid therapy provides many benefits to all patients including support to tissue and organ blood flow, hydration of vital organs which aids recovery from anaesthetic drugs and surgery, support to cardiac (heart) function by helping to maintain blood pressure and aids in the excretion of anaesthetic drugs from the body which promotes a faster recovery from the procedure. – Peri-operative fluid therapy is completely optional, however we do believe providing fluid therapy during neutering is gold standard care and is very beneficial to your dog.

In order to minimize risks we will always fully examine your pet before the procedure, however some pre-existing problems may not be evident just by examination. A pre-anaesthetic blood sample is available to all patients, and is particularly advisable for older animals. If you are unsure, the nurse or vet on duty will be happy to discuss the individual requirements of your pet in more detail in advance or on admission.

If you have any other queries regarding the neutering of your dog, please don’t hesitate the team at St Clair Vets for further help and advice on 01670 457271. If we haven’t seen your dog before, we offer FREE pre neuter health checks prior to surgery to ensure your dog is fit and healthy to undergo the procedure.