Our veterinary clinic has developed this handout to help you understand what is involved in the ovariohysterectomy surgery as well as the pre and post surgical treatment of your pet.

Pre-Surgical Preparation

When your pet is admitted to the hospital, she is weighed by our technicians to help us determine the correct medications for her. Then one of the doctors performs a physical examination to look for any problems that might interfere with surgery or which may be treated under the same anesthetic. In most cases, we will draw a small amount of blood from your pet in order to run pre operative blood tests in our in-house laboratory. These tests will help to ensure that your pet is not suffering from any incipient condition that might make anesthesia or surgery inappropriate (such as anemia, diabetes, kidney or liver problems etc).

Our veterinarians administer pre-anesthetic sedation so that animal will not be under undue stress at the time of surgery. At the same time, pain relief medication will be administered so that it will be on board at the time of surgery (providing you have opted for it on the pre-anesthetic consent form).

Anestetic Induction

When the blood work has been completed and the drugs have had time to take effect, our veterinarians will bring your pet to our surgical prep suite. Here we will place her under anesthesia. Generally, this is done in two steps. First, an injectable drug is given in the vein that will render your pet unconscious. Then we can place a breathing tube (endotracheal tube) in her trachea and she is hooked up to an isoflurane anesthetic machine, which will allow us to maintain a surgical plane of anesthesia. Isoflurane is one of the same anesthetic agents used in people, and is one of the safest inhalant agents available.

At this point, our veterinary team will hook up our biological monitoring devices, which include pulse oximeter (to check the amount of oxygen in the blood), electrocardiogram (to check for heart rate and rhythm), respiratory monitor and blood pressure monitor. These monitors give us the information we need to keep her in a safe plane of anesthesia.

To prepare for the surgery, our technicians will clip the fur from the belly and perform multiple surgical scrubs to reduce any chance of wound infection. Your pet is then transported to the surgical suite and positioned on her back on the surgery table, which is warmed with a water blanket for her comfort and safety.

Surgery

The doctors prepare for the surgery with a meticulous hand scrubbing, followed by application of a sterile surgical gown and gloves. The surgical area is draped off with sterile drapes to reduce the chance of contamination during surgery. A sterile surgical pack is opened by the doctor and the surgery is started.

The abdomen is opened with a scalpel or laser (depending on your selection) between the pelvis and the umbilical cord. The uterus and ovaries are located and removed from the body. The blood vessels supplying these organs are isolated, clamped and each is sutured twice to prevent any hemorrhage in the abdomen. The uterus and ovaries are removed completely from the body so your pet will not have any more heat cycles. The body wall is closed with three layers of suture material. As the surgeon is completing the surgery, the anesthetic gas is turned off and the recovery phase begins.

Recovery

Isoflurane is eliminated from the body quickly and most pets regain their reflexes within minutes of turning off the gas. Once we know that your pet can swallow, the endotracheal tube is removed from her trachea. She is then placed on an insulated pad in the recovery area where a technician will observe her until she is able to right herself. At this point she is placed in a warmed recovery cage for observation. When she is fully awake, we will place an Elizabethan (plastic) collar around her neck to prevent her from licking her incision. Animal will spend the night with us and is fed a small meal approximately 6 hours after the end of the surgery. In the morning, the doctors will check her incision and make sure that she is in good shape to go home. Discharge is generally done after 10AM the day after surgery.

Home Care for Pets of Alta Loma, Rancho Cucamonga, Upland, Ontario, Claremont, Fontana, and the Inland Empire

An ovariohysterectomy is a serious surgical procedure and your pet’s body will need time to recover from it. It is important that you restrict your pet’s activity to leash walks only for the first 10 to 14 days after surgery. She should not be allowed to run or jump during this time. We ask you to apply warm compresses to the wound twice daily for the first 5-7 days post operatively. This will keep the incision clean, enhance healing by drawing blood to the area and allow you time to inspect the wound. In most cases, no antibiotics will be dispensed as this is a sterile surgery.

Our veterinary team encourages the use of post-operative pain medication for 1-5 days. Because of client’s differing budgets, we have made this medication optional. If you would like pain medication dispensed for animal check with the reception or medical staff at the time of admission or discharge.

Generally, our veterinarians will take the sutures out approximately 14 days after the surgery. Some pets will leave their incisions alone, while others are prone to lick at them. If your pet wants to lick or bite at her wound, stop in and pick up an Elizabethan collar to protect the wound. If you think she might be a licker, take one home at the time of discharge.

At the time of discharge, you will be given written instructions that go over these details.