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There are occasions in your pet’s life when it may have to go through surgery.

It may seem a major step for you particularly if it is something you’ve never encountered before but here at Abercorn Vets we perform surgery on a daily basis and are well equipped and qualified to take your four-legged friends through the necessary procedure.

Generally, the decision to go for surgery is a joint decision between you and your vet and one that is made only after a full discussion on the likely outcomes and risks and costs involved. On the day of surgery you will be asked to sign a consent form and the nurse will talk you through the procedure and address any concerns / answer any questions you may have.



One of the most common operations is the spaying of bitches. Spaying within the first two years of life greatly reduces the risk of your dog getting mammary cancers. If you want to breed from your dog then wait until later but spaying also prevents a potentially fatal uterine infection called pyometra as well as ovarian and uterine cancers.  Generally we spay bitches at 6 months of age – that is before their first season.

In the case of more mature bitches we advise spaying three months after the end of a season. Operating on bitches at this period after a season minimises the risk of “false pregnancy” signs occurring after spaying.


Castration is another routine procedure.

With male dogs, there are both medical and behavioural reasons to consider castration. Behavioural reasons include reducing such behaviours as mounting, excessive territorial marking and running off after bitches that are in season. It may help to “calm” some dogs down, but this is highly variable from dog to dog. Medical advantages of neutering include removing the risk of testicular cancer, a massive reduction in most types of prostatic disease, as well as a reduction in the incidence of peri-anal and perineal tumours.

At Abercorn, we choose  to have a full discussion with owners on the benefits as well as the drawbacks of castration, prior to any decision being made. Such surgery is of course “final” and can’t be reversed; so if you aren’t sure that castration is going to be the best way forward for your dog, we do offer a special implant that mimics castration. This is implanted under the skin between the shoulder blades, much like a microchip. It takes about two weeks to start having an effect and lasts for approximately six months. As it does so accurately mimic true surgical castration, both in benefits and drawbacks (an increase in appetite and weight gain being the most common), it gives you the owner a better insight into what is best for your dog, before committing to a permanent solution.

Post-Operative Care of Your Pets

Following an anaesthetic, your pet may be sleepy for up to 48 hours.  (Allow peace and quiet during this time). A mild cough may be present.  This is usually due to a tube having been placed in their trachea during the anaesthesia.

Pet owners should follow Abercorn’s post-operative advice which includes;

  • Keep your pet warm, dry and comfortable; avoid placing bed in extremes of temperature or in a draught.
  • Avoid activity such as climbing stairs and jumping onto furniture. Your pet’s judgement may not be as accurate after an anaesthetic and he may stretch the stitches.
  • Allow only short walks on the lead until any stitches are removed, or until the vet or nurse advises.
  • If accepted, give only light meals (e.g. prescription diets) for the first 24 to 48 hours unless otherwise specified.
  • If your pet has undergone a surgical procedure, please check for abnormal events such as swelling of the wound, bleeding or other discharge, or interference with any stitches. Contact the surgery or come in for a check in such cases.
  • Stitches are  usually removed in 10 – 14 days, however at Abercorn we often use “intradermal” sutures which don’t require removal.
  • The stitches placed in a cat spay wound may also be dissolving. If they are still present in 3 to 4 weeks, then return for a check-up to have them removed.
  • Check dressings/casts/splints at least twice daily for abnormal smells, discolourations, discharges, discomfort, etc.