As with any anesthesia, there is always a risk. I know there are many advocates for spaying and/or neutering your dog because of the overpopulation of unwanted dogs in the world and for preventing other medical problems that could develop later in life. The problems would be specific to the breed of your dog. But before you consider this procedure, please note that your dog could be that one-in-a-million that doesn't make it through the surgery.
These are some things to consider before spaying/neutering your dog:
1) Make sure to research
your veterinarian. Talk to your neighbors or other people who use
your vet. Find out how many dogs (and cats) they have lost during this procedure. The
medical boards do not keep stats on dogs that have died during this procedure (how sad!) so
you will have to take your vet at his/her word.
2) Visit the operating room
and make sure that your vet is equipped for handling emergencies
should one occur with your dog.
3) IMPORTANT: There
is a pre-screening anesthetic test available to see if perhaps your dog
may encounter complications. Get it done!!
Note: In Pepper Ann's case, we did not have this information.
Our vet never told us about it.
It was only afterwards that we learned that it is normally mandatory in most states.
4) Smaller dogs have a higher risk than larger dogs.
Note: We learned this also shortly after Pepper Ann's death.
5) Check out the credentials
of the technicians in your vet's office. Make sure they are qualified
to give anesthesia to your pet.
6) If your dog has any underlying
medical conditions, you may want to reconsider the procedure.
Talk to the breeder if you know them, and ask for proper health papers concerning your dog.
If you do not know the breeder, research your breed of dog for common underlying health
problems associated with that breed. And then, if possible, have testing done to make sure
that your dog is healthy. Your dog may seem healthy but could have a problem that can't
be detected by normal routine check-ups. You owe it to your dog (and yourself) to
investigate further. This is not a guarantee that your dog will not die during the procedure, but
it could possibly prevent it.
7) Consider whether or not it is really necessary to have this procedure done. Will your dog
basically be a house pet and not venture outdoors without you. Is your yard properly
enclosed so that your dog may not get out and other dogs cannot get in? If you answered
YES to the previous questions, than you may want to reconsider having the procedure.
Note: In retrospect, we realized that the chances of Pepper Ann running
the risk of becoming
pregnant was practically ZERO, and thus we should not have put her through the procedure.
8) In my personal opinion,
don't have it done with small breeds until they are older (1 to 2 years)
and you've had time to see them grow, and determine better if there are any health problems,
Disclaimer: All the opinions
on this page are solely my personal opinion based on my experience.
Please consult your
own vet and/or resources before making any decision concerning spaying/neutering your dog.