Ovariohysterectomy is the most common abdominal surgery performed in dogs and cats. Surgical complications can be minimized by attention to good surgical technique. Prevention or treatment of complications that result from ovariohysterectomy long-term can be successful with dietary management and prescribed drugs.
- Learn how short-term complications of spays can be prevented.
- Learn prevention and treatment of long-term spay complications.
- Short term complications are more common in large breed dogs.
- Hemorrhage control with carefully applied ligatures and atraumatic tissue handling is critical during surgery.
- Careful dietary control is necessary to prevent obesity.
- Phenylpropanolamine and/or diethylstilbestrol are used to treat urinary incontinence.
Q: What types of complications are seen in animals that have ovariohysterectomy?
A: Complications may occur during surgery, postoperatively short term and postoperatively long term.
Q: What is the most common complication seen in spayed animals?
A: Incisional problems are common with seroma and other complications due to tissue trauma. Long term, obesity is a common complication especially in dogs.
Q: How are incisional complications prevented?
A: Aseptic technique and careful tissue handling are important. Hemorrhage control and care to close incisonal dead-space will prevent help prevent seroma formation.
Q: Can obesity secondary to ovariohysterectomy be treated or prevented?
A: Metabolism slows following spaying. Careful control of diet and caloric intake as well as maintaining activity/exercise is important.
Q: What other types of intraop complications can occur?
A: Hemorrhage from ovarian pedicles especially in larger dogs can be a serious complication. Ligation of a ureter is uncommon but is a very serious complication. Hemorrhage control is important and secure ligation of both ovarian pedicles and the uterine body must be practiced to avoid serious hemorrhage.
Q: How does the surgeon deal with intraoperative hemorrhage?
A: Enlarging the abdominal incision is often needed and each individual pedicle should be examined for hemorrhage and religated if necessary. Specific actions can help exposure.
Q: We spoke about obesity postoperatively. Are there other long term complications that occur?
A: Yes, urinary incontinence sometimes occurs in spayed female dogs. These dogs will respond to phenypropanolamine and/or low dose diethylstilbestrol therapy.
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