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

Rare

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.