Ovariectomy: An Alternative Method Of Spaying

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If you choose to have your dog spayed, you’ll find that most vets offer the same kind of surgery: the ovariohysterectomy, where a dog’s ovaries and uterus are both removed. However, this isn’t your only option, there are actually a few different methods for spaying a dog. The ovariectomy is just one of these, and is where just the ovaries and part of the fallopian tubes are removed. While it might not be the right choice for every dog, it’s a good idea to do your research and find out about the various types of spay surgery before you commit to one for your pup.

What Are the Benefits of an Ovariectomy?

The main benefit of having an ovariectomy, over a traditional ovariohysterectomy, is that the surgery is generally quicker, potentially safer, and may cause less discomfort after the fact. The traditional spay has to be performed via open surgery and requires a fairly large incision, whereas an ovariectomy only requires a small incision and can even be carried out via laparoscopy (key hole surgery). The smaller incision means that it should be less painful for your pup when she comes round from surgery, and also may mean there’s a reduced chance of infection. The fact that it’s quicker means that your dog will have to spend less time under anesthesia, which has small inherent risks. Removing the uterus also runs the risk of causing excess bleeding during surgery, which is the main complication of spay surgery.

What About Future Medical Issues?

Quicker, safer, less painful… sounds great, right? However, you should also take a look at the risk of future medical issues. One of the main reasons why vets suggest spaying your dog is that it’s healthier for her. An ovariohysterectomy will remove the chance of your dog contracting pyometra (an infection of the uterus) and uterine cancer, and will reduce the risk of her getting mammary cancer. Detractors of the ovariectomy cite medical reasons for not agreeing with it. However, an ovariectomy may be more or less as effective and an ovariohysterectomy at tackling these medical issues. A dog having an ovariectomy is about as effective at reducing the chance of mammary cancer as a dog having an ovariohysterectomy. Although a dog that has had an ovariectomy still retains her uterus, no dogs that’ve had this kind of spay surgery have ever been reported to have pyometra, which suggests it’s caused by hormones or something else to do with the ovaries. As for uterine cancer, it occurs at a rate of just 0.003%, which doesn’t seem like a big enough risk to make your dog undergo major surgery for.

The Bottom Line

At the end of the day, it’s up to you what kind of spay surgery you think is right for your dog. You can talk through the options with your veterinarian, but some vets are keener on one type of surgery than others and may sway you in one direction. You may feel like it’s worth removing the uterus while your dog is undergoing surgery anyway, even if there’s only a small chance of future problems. Conversely, you might think that it’s unnecessary and not worth the risk of additional complications during or after surgery. Ovariectomies are becoming more popular in North America, but it’s still the case that not all vets will feel comfortable doing one. Fewer still will have the specialist training and equipment to perform this kind of surgery in a laparoscopic manner.

loznnolaLauren Corona is a freelance writer from merry old England. She specializes in writing about dogs and other critters. Lauren lives near Oxford, with her gorgeous Doberman, Nola. When she’s not tapping away at the keyboard, you’ll find her walking in the woods with Nola-dog, raising money for the Oxfordshire Animal Sanctuary, cooking vegan food, making zines and writing about herself in the third person.