Information And Services For The Neuter Or Vasectomy Of Dogs
Since 2000, the dedicated and compassionate veterinary team at Veterinary Village have successfully performed neuter procedures on many male dogs of all breeds and ages. We have also helped educate dog owners throughout WI about neuter procedures. These include when to neuter a dog, what to expect during and after surgery, and what other options are available.
If you have owned a dog, or if you know anyone who has, chances are you have heard of the terms spay and neuter. Neutering is a term that describes the castration, or the removal of the testicles of a male dog. We also offer vasectomy that removes a portion of the tube that carries sperm from the testicles, but the testicles remain in the scrotum. Veterinarians perform these surgical procedures, which render dogs incapable of reproducing.
We believe in compassionate dog care and therefore are adamant about educating people on the different neuter procedures available and when we recommend doing them. We have compiled some of the most frequently asked questions here to help you learn more about this very important service.
A Responsible And Caring Neuter Clinic
For most people the thought of their puppy undergoing a surgical procedure under sedation can be frightening. We understand that this can be scary for caring dog owners and want to assure you that your dog will be cared for by the most capable and caring medical professionals.
From the time your dog enters our doors, it will be treated with compassion and concern for its comfort. Our technicians will treat your dog as their own. All dogs will receive pain medications before the procedure begins. Our anesthesia and patient care protocols will be tailored to your dog's breed and size. While your dog is under anesthesia, our certified vet tech will monitor a number of vital signs including body temperature, blood pressure, oxygenation, and anesthesia depth. The surgery will be performed by our veterinarians who have many years of surgical experience.
Post-operative nursing care and pain management medications will be administered to your dog to ensure that their recovery is painless and they remain closely monitored until we feel it is safe to send them home. Our veterinary staff will review post-operative instructions with you at that time so you can feel comfortable bringing your dog home to complete its recovery.
Why Should You Neuter Your Dog?
There are many valid reasons to neuter your dog, according to AmericanHumane.org, approximately 3.7 million animals are euthanized at shelters annually because there just are not enough willing and able adopters for them. Neuter procedures ensure that you are not adding to this number and that no offspring your dog has ends up a fatal statistic.
At this time, there are no states with compulsory spay and neuter laws. However, neuter procedures will ensure that no unwanted puppies are produced and will make it easier to take your dog out among other dogs without the risk of unwanted behaviors.
Is A Vasectomy Right For My Dog?
Your decision to neuter your pet must be made on a case-by-case basis. This decision should be made between you and your veterinarian, taking into consideration your pet’s age, breed, sex, health status, intended use, household environment, and temperament. While there are health benefits to neutering, the benefits must be weighed against the health benefits of retaining the sex hormones achieved by leaving your pet intact (not neutered). These advantages and disadvantages pertain not only to the canine athlete or performance dog but to all dogs regardless of lifestyle. Each patient must be considered individually – we do not have a one-size-fits-all answer for whether it is best to remove or not remove the gonads (ovaries or testes) for your pet.
If you have determined you do not plan to breed your dog, you are now faced with other decisions. What is the difference between a neuter and a vasectomy? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each? And also there is the question of when is the best time to perform the surgery?
What is a vasectomy?
A vasectomy is a surgical procedure where a portion of the vas deferens, the tube that carries sperm from the testicle where they are formed, to the outside to fertilize the female, is removed. By doing this, even if the male dog mates with a female, the mating will not be a fertile one. The testicles remain in the scrotum and continue to produce testosterone. The male will still be interested in and can mate with females, may still lift his leg to mark territory, is still prone to benign prostatic hypertrophy, and could develop a testicular tumor, perianal tumor, or perineal hernia.
Male Procedure Options
At Veterinary Village we offer the castration (traditional neuter) and the vasectomy since we consider these two options to be the best choices. The other choices listed below are for informational purposes only.
- Removes part of the Vas Deferens, the cord that travels from the testicles to the outside
- Leaves the Testicles
- Hormones are maintained
- Not fertile (can possibly impregnate a female for 2 months after the procedure)
Zinc Neuter (Zeuterin) not offered at Veterinary Village
- Removes nothing, Zeuterin is an injection that modifies the structures within the Testicles
- Leaves the Testicles
- Hormones are present but are reduced by 49-52%
- Not fertile
Castration (Traditional Neuter)
- Removes the Testicles
- Leaves nothing
- Hormones are NOT maintained
- Not fertile
What are the advantages of retaining the testes?
- Lower incidence of hemangiosarcoma (cancer usually found in the spleen or heart)
- Lower incidence of osteosarcoma (bone cancer)
- Lower risk of transitional cell carcinoma (bladder cancer)
- Lower risk of prostatic adenocarcinoma (prostate cancer) in intact male dogs compared to neutered male dogs
- Lower incidence of obesity, which may be due at least partly to increased metabolic rate
- Lower incidence of autoimmune thyroiditis and hypothyroidism
- A reduced incidence of cranial cruciate rupture
- A reduced incidence of hip dysplasia in dogs that are not neutered before 5 months of age
- Anesthesia and surgery are not appropriate for some patients with high-risk medical conditions
- Lower incidence of adverse reactions to vaccines
- A decreased incidence of cognitive dysfunction
- Less fearfulness, noise phobias, and undesirable sexual behaviors
The sex hormones, by communicating with a number of other growth-related hormones, promote the closure of the growth plates at puberty, so the bones of those dogs neutered before puberty continue to grow. Dogs that have been neutered well before puberty can frequently be identified by their longer limbs, lighter bone structure, narrow chests, and narrow skulls. This abnormal growth frequently results in significant alterations in body proportions and particularly the lengths (and therefore weights) of certain bones relative to others. This is related to increased orthopedic conditions in dogs neutered prior to puberty. In addition, sex hormones are critical for achieving peak bone density.
What are the disadvantages of retaining the testes?
- Increased risk of testicular cancer. The incidence of testicular cancer is common but malignancy and mortality are very low
- Risk of unwanted pregnancies if a vasectomy is not performed
- An increased risk of prostatitis, benign prostatic hyperplasia, prostatic cysts and squamous metaplasia of the prostate
- An increased incidence of perineal and inguinal hernia and perineal adenoma
- Inter-dog aggression may be due to competition for available territory or availability of cycling animals
- Increased risk of wandering and being hit by a car in intact dogs
- Increased incidence of urinary marking
- Ongoing sexual behaviors
When Should You Neuter A Dog?
If you opt for a traditional neuter, the age at which this is done is important. Removing the testes interrupt the hormonal axis of the sex hormones with the pituitary and other organs. There are age-related conditions to consider when making this decision. Since gonadectomy prior to puberty or sexual maturity may make the risks of some diseases higher in certain breeds or individuals, the option to leave your pet intact should be available to you. If you opt to leave the gonads, the ovaries or testes, this can be done at any age. If you opt to remove the gonads, ovaries or testes, the age should be decided in a conversation with you and your veterinarian. We recommend waiting until at least 6 months of age, or older, usually past puberty, due to health and behavioral advantages.
If you opt for a non-traditional approach, the vasectomy, when you leave the ovaries or testes but interrupt the reproductive tract to prevent fertility, you may consider doing this at any age. Because the male sex organs are left to function, your dog will still have his or her hormones. Research has shown that there can be positive effects of the sex steroid hormones. The sex steroids are hormones produced by the testes and are only present in intact males. For canine athletes, Dr. Christine Zink recommends waiting until after 14 months of age (the age at which the growth plates have closed) for females and males to be spayed or neutered.
For more information please go to our Spay and Neuter Controversy page and our blog Should I Consider Hormone-Sparing Sterilization for my Dog. If you are not sure when to spay or neuter your dog, please consult with the veterinarian at your next visit.
Surgical Procedures For A Neuter Or Vascectomy On A Dog
Neutering a dog consists of the following surgical steps:
- Pre-anesthetic exam
- Pain medication is administered
- Our veterinary team will induce your dog into a safe state of general anesthesia
- The attending certified vet technician (CVT) monitors vital signs including breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, state of anesthesia, oxygenation levels and body temperature
- The surgeon makes a small incision in the front of the scrotum
- With a traditional neuter (castration) each testicle is removed and the blood supply and vas deferens (spermatic cord) are tied off
- With a vasectomy, a portion of the vas deferens (spermatic cord) is removed but the testicles remain in the scrotum
- The veterinarian closes the incision with surgical glue or sutures
- Post-operative medications are given and post-operative care continues until your dog completely recovers from the anesthesia
- We will keep your dog hospitalized until he completely recovers and is safe to send home with his after care instructions
Care Of Your Dog After Their Neuter
Although dog neutering could result in some discomfort right after surgery, your veterinarian will take various measures for pain relief. Additional steps taken at home will facilitate a safe and comfortable recovery including:
- Provide your dog with a quiet place to recover
- Keep your dog calm indoors and attempt to limit running and jumping
- Observe your dog carefully while outside for the first day or two to make sure they don't accidentally fall or otherwise hurt themselves
- Preventing your dog from licking the incision site, which may cause infection, by monitoring your dog and utilizing an elizabethan collar if licking can not be prevented otherwise
- Checking the incision site daily to confirm proper healing
- Looking for any redness, swelling or discharge at the surgery site.
- Contact Us if the incision is open, if your dog is lethargic, has a decreased appetite, is vomiting, or has diarrhea, or if you have any other concerns following surgery
Make Your Appointment For A Neuter Or Vasectomy Today
Scheduling an appointment with our surgical team for neuter procedures is as easy as picking up the phone, or sending us an email. Our experienced veterinary staff is here to help answer any questions or quell any concerns you might have, as well as to help schedule a surgical appointment for your canine companion at our clinic.