Potential Complications of Spay/Neuter

Potential Complications of Spay/Neuter Surgery

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.

Vaccination Reactions

Most pets do well with vaccination. Muscle soreness, sluggishness, loss of appetite +/- mild fever are occasionally seen for the first day or two. On rare occasions, pets have an allergic reaction. Hives and/or facial swelling are the most common signs. Pets with these reactions should be treated promptly as the condition can, on rare occasions, progress. On very rare occasions, pets have allergic shock reactions to shots. This may be seen as difficulty breathing, weakness, collapse or even death. These severe reactions generally occur within 5 minutes of vaccination but can take longer. These reactions can occur in pets that have been vaccinated in the past without problems. Cats can develop sarcomas (tumors) at rabies and FeLv injection sites (reportedly 1/10,000 shots). These tumors are very difficult and costly to treat and can result in euthanasia. There are reports of dogs developing immune-mediated anemia from vaccinations. This reaction is rare but can be deadly. Speak to your veterinarian before vaccinating. Core vaccines in our area are rabies and distemper. Both provide very strong protection against deadly diseases. At Ace of Spays, any requested vaccinations are given as the pet is recovering from anesthesia to prevent anesthetic complications from vaccination.