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Canine Neutering:
Procedure, Risks and Aftercare

Kathryn C. Linden DVM

Procedure: Your dog will be given an injection of a mild sedative and pain medication about 30 minutes prior to the procedure. Anesthesia is induced with an intravenous injection of a short acting anesthetic which allows the placement of an endotracheal tube through which gas anesthesia is administered.

The surgical area is clipped and prepped. A small incision is made just in front of the scrotum, the vessels are ligated (tied off) and the testicles are both removed through the same hole. The skin is closed in two layers. Absorbable suture material is used which will slowly dissolve over a few months time. The pet is monitored by an assistant (heart, respiratory rate and mucous membrane color), as well as monitoring equipment (temperature, heart & respiratory rate and blood oxygen saturation), throughout the procedure and postoperatively until they are awake enough to extubate.

Risks: Any surgical procedure or anesthetic episode carries risk. We do several things to reduce these risks: use of safest drugs available, heated surgery table (hypothermia is a common cause of anesthetic complications in small animals), close monitoring, etc. However, even with the strictest care, risk of complications, up to and including death, still exist. Of course, the benefits of neutering far outweigh the risks.

Preanesthetic blood work is another important way that anesthetic risks can be reduced. Anesthetic drugs are processed by the kidneys and liver. Any disease process in either of these will affect the animal’s ability to process the drug and therefore wake up. Apparently healthy animals, including juveniles can have underlying disorders that can only be detected with diagnostic testing. This is available even on the day of surgery so let us know if you would like this done.

Aftercare: Your pet will probably be a little groggy and a little sore the evening after surgery. Anesthetic drugs can cause stomach upset so he may not feel like eating right away but you can offer a small amount of food. Water is ok as long as he is holding it down. Please contact us if his attitude and appetite are not returning to normal in 24-48 hours. Also let us know of any vomiting or diarrhea that persists longer than this time as well.

Check the incision daily. Some swelling & bruising in the incision area &/or the scrotum is normal and should disappear in a week or two. Contact us if you see any discharge, the area becomes red or hot to the touch. Monitor for licking of the incision. If seen, call for an “Elizabethan” collar or pick one up at PetsMart or Petco. Make sure the collar extends beyond the nose or he may be able to reach the incision despite the collar. A pair of men’s boxer shorts tied or taped on is an alternative for some dogs.

Please do not bathe or allow swimming for 10-14 days after surgery.

Above all, call if you have any concerns. There is no charge for recheck exams after surgery so do not hesitate to call for an appointment if there is any doubt that your pet is recovering normally.


- Kathryn C. Linden DVM
Sun Lakes Animal Clinic
June 1,2004



"Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened."
- Anatole France, 1921 Nobel Prize Speech -


Titlebar Image: The Gentle Doctor, 1937-38 by Christian Peterson (U84.179) - Iowa State University