What is an ovariohysterectomy?

Ovariohysterectomy is a surgical procedure in which both ovaries and the uterus of females are removed. It is also known by the name of sterilization or even castration colloquially speaking.

There are several reasons to carry out this surgery. The main reason to practice it is to prevent pregnancies and litters of unwanted animals. Another reason of great weight to carry it out is to prevent pathologies related to the reproductive system such as; uterine infections, ovarian cysts or follicles, pseudopregnancies and even tumors. It has been observed that when an early sterilization is carried out, the probability of the pet developing mammary tumors is considerably reduced.

Leaving aside all the benefits that it brings to our pet in terms of health, we cannot forget to mention that sterilization is often claimed to help control certain behavioral problems such as aggressiveness.

How is sterilization carried out?

Any animal that is going to undergo major surgery should have a pre-surgical check-up.

This checkup must include a physical examination to ensure that the pet is in good health. They should be animals that are up to date on deworming and vaccinations, since this will reduce the risks during and after surgery.

It is advisable to carry out a complete analysis that will allow us to identify and rule out alterations that advise against surgery. With a general analysis we can rule out infections, situations of anemia, alterations in coagulation factors, alterations in liver and kidney function…

Other data of interest to our veterinarian are chronic treatments that we are administering to our pet or previously diagnosed pathologies that may require specific tests, for example a cardiac pathology that may require a control echocardiography before scheduling surgery.

On the day of surgery, the veterinarian will recommend that the animals come to the clinic fasting. The day before surgery, feeders and drinkers must be removed at night to achieve a minimum of 8 hours of fasting.

In the event that this fast has not been carried out, it is important to discuss it with our veterinarian so that he can take it into account during anesthesia or to assess whether it is necessary to postpone surgery.
The surgery is performed under general anesthesia which keeps the pet still, in a state of unconsciousness and completely free of pain sensations during the operation. With the premedication, shaving and disinfection of the surgical area is carried out and later deep anesthesia is induced that will be maintained with gases and will allow us to carry out the surgery.

The traditional ovariohysterectomy procedure is performed through a small incision near the umbilical scar, removing both ovaries and the uterus.

The surgical field is closed in layers, so that although the owner will only identify one suture in the skin, there will be two other sutures that restore the integrity of the abdominal muscle and subcutaneous tissue (the fat that lies between the skin and the muscle). .

Recovery and awakening from anesthesia should always take place in the clinic under the supervision of veterinarians and assistants.

When it is time to return home after surgery, we should take into account certain recommendations:

  • It is very important to protect the scar from being licked by the pet itself, which is why it may be necessary to temporarily use Elizabethan collars to prevent self-inflict damage.
  • It is advisable to check the skin stitches periodically to detect if there is any discharge, inflammation, abnormal bleeding, bruising…
  • It is very important to give the prescribed medication for recovery at home, which will normally consist of an antibiotic and an anti-inflammatory. If there is any vomiting or any sign of intolerance of the medication, the veterinarian should be notified immediately so that he can take the appropriate measures.
  • We must avoid as much as possible that our pet does physical exercises that require jumping, running… since it could cause pain, bleeding or swelling of the incision.
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