Neutering is a process of removing the reproductive organs of male dogs, i.e., testicles, through surgery under general anesthesia. Female dogs are subjected to spaying, i.e., surgical sterilization through the removal of the ovaries and uterus.
A common medical procedure for dogs recommended by most vets, neutering involves several benefits like lesser instances of litter abandonment, prevention of certain diseases, and minimization of the risk of behavioral problems such as dog aggression, roaming, mounting, etc.).
The decision to get your dog neutered or spayed can be fraught with emotion. As a loving pet parent, the entire process might be overwhelming for you. You might also be concerned with the possible risks and complications involved in the surgical procedure of neutering. Generally, complications are not common and rarely happen. However, surgical interventions still involve some sort of risks and require post-operative care.
This blog post will help you curb all information you need regarding the possible complications and signs of infections after neutering a dog.
How Common Is Infection After Neutering?
Well, it is not very common for your dogs to develop any infections. Neutering is a low-risk surgical intervention that vets usually have years of experience performing. However, like with every surgical procedure, there are some risks involved. They can, however, be minimized with vigilant post-operative care.
Not following the vet’s instructions may put your canine child at risk for a longer recovery period with possible infections. The most common types of infection are the infections of surgical sites due to the use of unhygienic instruments or not maintaining an aseptic surgical procedure.
Other infections may be developed if your dog licks the incision area. Do not allow that. Licking the area might lead to swellings or redness, ultimately leading to healing complications.
Signs of Infections and Complications
Neutering involves minimal health complications; however, you should always be careful about any potential infections that may develop following a surgical procedure.
Here’s a list of signs of potential infections that you can keep an eye out for:
- A bad smell originating from the incision site
- Acute redness, swelling, bruising, or bristles at the incision site
- Lethargy and fatigue for more than a couple of days
- Loss of appetite for more than a few days
- Refusal to eat more than two meals
- Incision site that has reopened
- Signs of pain for more than a couple of days (shaking, hiding, or drooling)
- Vomiting and Diarrhea lasting more than 24 hours
- Bleeding from the incision site
- Purulent discharge from the incision site
If you happen to come across any of these signs, it is extremely necessary to report them to your vet immediately.
After the neutering procedure, your canine friend may be experiencing pain and discomfort. Make sure to take into account some safety considerations for smooth and healthy healing.
- Ensure that your dog rests well and doesn’t overly interact with other animals and children.
- Let your dog rest in a confined, warm and quiet place.
- Make sure your dog avoids excessive and heavy physical activity like jumping, running, or climbing stairs for at least two weeks after the neuter.
- Do not bathe your dog, and make sure to keep the incision site dry for at least ten days after the procedure.
- Regularly check the incision site for any redness, swelling, or bruising.
Possible Complications After Neutering Your Dog
While we still want to emphasize that the likelihood of complications after neutering your dog is extremely low, there are always risks in surgery, especially if proper post-operative precautions are not taken.
We must be vigilant and keep an eye out for potential problems like:
1. Bruising, Irritation, And Swelling:
Although redness, bruises, scabs, or swelling on the incision site is not always a sign of infection, we want to ensure that the healing is smooth and quick. In male dogs, it might seem that the testicles are still in the scrotum, but that is usually due to post-surgery swelling and gets better within a few days. However, if swelling becomes acute or there is a purulent discharge, then this might be a sign of healing complications. Open wounds may also be prone to skin diseases which can complicate the healing process. You must report back to the vet as quickly as possible.
2. Vomiting And Diarrhea
Neutering involves general anesthesia, which entails that your dog will feel queasy or nauseous after the procedure. The procedure might alter its metabolism, which manifests itself in the form of vomiting or diarrhea. It is completely normal and can be controlled within 24 hours; however, if it seems uncontrollable and the condition continues for more than a day and a half, then you must return to your vet.
3. Reproductive Remnants
In some dogs, especially female dogs, there may remain some ovarian tissue after surgery. This may lead to hormonal problems, infections, or other possible complications. That is why, very rarely, though, even neutered dogs can contract diseases such as pyometra (a secondary infection in the female reproductive tract due to hormonal changes).
4. Poor Wound Healing
Healing is an extensive process and requires proper care and minimal complications to occur smoothly and as quickly as possible. Certain behaviors, infections, and external factors can complicate healing.
Careless behaviors could include allowing the dog to lick the incision site, the incision site hitting or brushing against something inside/outside the house, and not taking measures to keep the site dry. In such cases, we must report to the vet for a proper consultation and medication.
The most common fear or complication following anesthesia that the pet owner dreads is death. Putting your dog under general anesthesia is scary, but complications usually only arise from it when your pet has other medical conditions.
There are cases in which an adverse reaction to anesthesia leads to the animal’s death. But don’t worry, as studies have revealed that the mortality rate due to neutering is almost nil, at around 0.02%.
Although neutering is a common beneficial procedure with low risks of significant complications, it is important not to overlook the potential problems that may arise following a surgical procedure.
Vigilance for any alarming signs and proper care can make the healing process quick and easy.