Castrated dogs: postoperative period. Common postoperative needs and care | Vets & Clinics

The reference place for veterinarians #WeAreVets

Castrated dogs: postoperative period. Common postoperative needs and care

Castration is a surgical procedure involving the removal of a male dog’s testicles and a female dog’s ovaries (or ovaries and uterus).

Veterinary medicine and care

What do we mean by castration?

Castration is a surgical procedure involving the removal of a male dog’s testicles and a female dog’s ovaries (or ovaries and uterus). Sterilisation, however, refers to a technique which, while less invasive, does not eliminate the effects associated with hormones. In this case, the seminiferous tubules are cut in male dogs and the fallopian tubes tied in females.

Postoperative care of castrated dogs

Various treatments are required during the postoperative period after the dog has been castrated, including:

  • Pain prevention: with analgesics and anti-inflammatories. Although they are not usually necessary, the vet may sometimes prescribe antibiotics.
  • Surgical wound protection: an Elizabethan collar or cotton T-shirts should be used to prevent animals from licking the wound.
  • Clean the surgical wound, always under aseptic conditions.
  • Regular checks for complications such as wound infection, wound dehiscence due to suture damage, bruising, and so on.
  • Environmental management: the dog must be kept in a quiet place for the first few days after castration.
  • Removal of the stitches.

Changes to be expected after castration

Castration in dogs offers certain health and behavioural benefits due to its impact on hormone-dependent processes or reproduction-related behaviours. In male dogs, the discontinuation of testosterone production leads to an inhibition of sexual desire and dominance behaviours, thus reducing aggressiveness. Castration also eliminates the possibility of dogs developing benign prostatic hypertrophy. The data for prostate cancer, however, indicate that it is a hormone-independent disease.

In females, the benefits derive from the end of oestrogen and progesterone production and therefore no more oestrus, thereby improving the dog’s character. In physiological terms, there is evidence that castration considerably reduces the risk of females developing mammary tumours and rules out the possibility of phantom pregnancies.

Although the incidence of testicular and ovarian tumours is low, castration can be considered as both a preventive and curative measure.

On the other hand, it is important to prevent and monitor for the onset of obesity, as dogs are more likely to gain weight following castration. A strict dietary plan is recommended after sterilisation, as sterilised females have lower energy needs and their eating habits changes, favouring the chances of weight gain.

Vets & Clinics

Reference space for veterinarians