Dog Neuter Surgery

Health care questions and answers about puppies and dogs

What is a dog neuter  surgery?  
Questions and answers about the dog neuter surgery.
Dog neuter surgery entails removing the testicles.  The medical term is orchiectomy or castration because to neuter specifically means to remove reproductive organs of either male or female. In common usage, to neuter a dog means to castrate the animal. There are well established reasons, both medical and sociological, supporting neutering dogs and cats.  The surgery is usually done between 4 and 7 months of age. There is no proof dogs always "get fat" or lazy after the surgery.  Being overweight results from consuming more calories than they burn through metabolism or exercise.

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  Someone told me that if I neuter my 2 year old Bassett he will get fat, lazy and it will take the "spirit" out of him.
     Now I'm worried because my veterinarian says it's the best and most effective way to prevent him from spritzing all over the house.  I guess it's called scent marking.  What should I do?

Answer  dog neuter  surgery... what is  
   The dog neuter surgery is the most commonly performed surgery besides the spay procedure.  If there were dog neuter surgery predictable adverse effects on the dog or cat, such as unfavorable personality changes, unavoidable obesity, lethargy or diminished "spirit", all veterinarians would have a disclaimer that dog owners would need to sign prior to the surgery.  The disclaimer would warn of these ill effects after the neutering... but they almost never happen so no one has to sign off on lifelong ill effects.
     Benefits include much less, if any, scent marking, less inclination to run off with a female dog in heat, less territorial aggression toward other dogs, less chance of prostate problems, less chance for certain cancers, less chance for perineal hernias.
     I've never heard a dog owner say they were sorry the surgery was done; and I have heard many say they wished they had done it sooner.  The usual precautions attendant to a surgery under general anesthesia are taken even though the surgery is considered rather minor in technical difficulty.   

           Doctor's Notes
All dogs should be kept under control to avoid vigorous activity for 7 to 10 days following a neuter procedure.  Be sure to check the incision daily for any signs of infection, drainage or increasing swelling.
Read the instructions!

     Most topical products are not repellants, they kill fleas and ticks on contact with skin oils.  Do not expect these topical medications to keep pets totally free from fleas and ticks... their job is to kill parasites after the parasites contact the skin; they are NOT repellants!

Click on an image to view a larger version in a new window
Top row of images show a midline incision  in front of the scrotum to remove the scrotal testicle
Second row shows the groin incision to remove the cryptorchid (hidden testicle) that was not in the scrotum

dog_neuter_incision dog_neuter_surgery_cryptorchid dog_neuter_surgery_cryptorchid dog_neuter_incisions
Midline incision through which 
each testicle is removed      
Testicle is located and exposed Spermatic cord and  vessels are ligated Incision in midline and groin to remove the mis-located (cryptorchid) testicle
dog_neuter_vet dog_neuter_vet dog_neuter_vet dog_neuter_cryptorchid_closure
Incision in the groin area Testicle, spermatic cord and
 vessels are  identified
Cord is ligated at the position of the forceps closest to the patient Incision in groin  is closed 
over the hidden testicle

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Related Question:
I have a German Shorthair Pointer, about 10 months old that I got from a top gundog kennel.  I plan to hunt with him whenever possible.  How will neutering him affect his intensity and energy to hunt and will it affect his sense of smell? 

Tumor in right testicle

Answer:  dog neuter... hunting... effects on
Excellent questions!  Having worked with hunting dogs during the past 40 years I can honestly state I have seen no cases where the owner indicated their dog was less of a "great hunter" after being neutered than when intact.  In fact, a nationally known pro dog trainer and writer (David Duffy) said years ago his ideal hunting dog would be a neutered male.  They don't fight with other dogs in the field, aren't distracted by scent marking every other male dog's urine spots, aren't affected by a female in heat and can run all day focusing on the game.  
     The reason some folks might sense a slow down in their dog usually relates to weight gain.  Dogs and cats do have a decreased metabolic rate after neutering and therefore require less calorie intake (less food) to maintain an ideal weight.  If you feed a 3 year old neutered dog the same amount of food you did when he was a year old, odds are good he will gain weight... not from the neutering but from the excess food you have been feeding him!
     About the only drawback to neutering is that you can't breed him.  But if you have no reason for him to sire a litter, neutering should not be a problem.
The dog in the image on the left has a testicular tumor.

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Related Question:
I have a 5 month old Great Dane.  Should i wait until he is fully grown before neutering him?  Why do so many vets say to neuter dogs as soon as possible?

Answer:  neuter... large breeds... when to
There may be some veterinarians who suggest neutering all dogs at about 4 to 6 months of age but certainly not all.  Be sure to ask your veterinarian for the pros and cons of neutering a large breed of dog before maturity... than ask several other veterinarians the same question.  You may be surprised at the variability of responses.
     Male hormones do have an impact on some aspects of growth and since the large breeds have more than a fair share of growth related orthopedic issues, you need to do some homework yourself, in conjunction with a knowledgeable and experienced veterinarian, so that you are fully informed about the potential for sub-optimal growth of large breeds secondary to neutering at 4 to 6 months of age.   


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