Potential Complications of Spay/Neuter

Dr. Lori Cobb has performed over 30,000 spay/neuter surgeries. Early in her career, she tracked complications from all of her surgeries during a set period of time.  The unofficial study incorporated 8000 surgeries performed at various shelters on a variety of dogs and cats of many ages, breeds and health statuses using typical shelter high-volume techniques. Each shelter had a different anesthetic protocol.  None of the shelters provided physical exams prior to surgery.

Not Uncommon

Scrotal bruising and/or swelling in males that resolve without treatment

Self-inflicted trauma to the surgical site including suture removal by the pet, skin infections caused by licking and other damage; prevent these problems by purchasing an e-collar

Hematoma or seroma (non-painful swellings near the incision or in the scrotum) that resolve without treatment

Minor swelling and redness around the incision that resolves without treatment


Anesthetic complications resulting in death (1/2500 animals)

Other anesthetic complications resolving with treatment (1/5000)

Hernias in females – breakdown of the internal structures (1/8000)

Infections in the abdomen or the remaining small piece of uterus (1/8000)

Bleeding during or after surgery either internally, from the incision or from the vulva (1/1000 repaired surgically)

Infection in the skin near the incision or sutures (1/8000)

Adhesions or other complications which may impair gastrointestinal or urinary tract (0)

There is also the possibility of unforeseen complications.