Health and Wellness, Photography, Roadtrips, Sickness

Ovary Sparing Spay

May 6, 2016
Whiskey hours before her spay

We’ve just gotten back from a trip to Kelowna for Whiskey’s spay. When we first got a dog, I didn’t realize there were several different options for spays (and for neuters), each with pros and cons. As I’m typing this, Whiskey is next to me sleeping and recovering.

fetching and swimming in Kelowna

Just looking at a health perspective (let’s assume you aren’t leaving your dog in heat running around with intact males), there is up to a 25% chance of uterine infection with older intact females (pyometra) so if you aren’t breeding, getting a spay in North America is probably going to be considered. Here are the types of spay I was looking at:

-traditional spay removing both the uterus and the ovaries
-removes chance of pyometra
-available anywhere
increase chance of joint disease and cancers since hormones are absent

-removing only the ovaries
-removes chance of pyometra
-typically a key hole surgery requiring a smaller incision
-quicker surgery and potentially safer
-less painful with a smaller cut
-quicker recovery time
-less vets can do this
increase chance of joint disease and cancers since hormones are absent

Ovary sparing spay
-removing only the uterus and cervix, leaving at least one ovary
-removes chance of pyometra
-still small chance of ovarian cancer
-increased chance of mammary tumors over other spays
-keeps heats but no bleeding
-keeps all the hormones
-difficult to find an experienced vet that does this

one last sunset picture

For larger breeds, because it’s healthier to keep the hormones, spays are usually delayed until the dog is “fully grown” although with an OSS, you could even do it earlier. I only really researched about spaying later because of this, and honestly I wanted to delay any kind of optional surgery as late as possible. Once I did look into it, I found the only vets near where we lived that offer this special spay were at least a 4-5 hour drive away. Poor Whiskey had no idea where we were going when we headed out on a roadtrip to Kelowna. She was so happy, hiking, exploring, and modelling the whole day before her spay.

she’s old enough to understand the vet is no fun place!
Whiskey’s suspicious face
a small pre-surgery checkup
waiting for her surgery time
Freaking out a bit once we got her on the surgery table

Because Whiskey had such little fat, she was more difficult to put under and struggled more than usual. Outside of that her spay went normal and we were there when she went to sleep and woke up. It was so heart-breaking to watch her struggling against the anesthesia as well as flailing around when she woke up (apparently certain breeds flail more than others). We didn’t leave her side until we drove home that evening.

right after she finished with heating pads
we made sure she could smell us before opening her eyes
forcing her to lay down and not run out!
stubbornly not laying down to recover at the office
That evening Whiskey was feeling so poorly it was very difficult to get her to pee and poop and she was walking like a very very elderly dog with her head hanging low. It was so sad to see! The next day however she was still walking slow but she had perked up and was already giving kisses. By lunch time she would let me spoon feed her (yes, she’s a princess when she feels sad) and by the evening she was 80% back to normal. Currently I walk her on leash only with a long line and work on new tricks, training, and lots of patience!
2 days after and healing

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