Here you can see the sequence of events as a dog goes through routine castration. Shortly after your pet is admitted they are given a small quantity of a drug combination. This serves several purposes: firstly it sedates them slightly so reducing their stress levels; it includes painkillers (analgesics) to ensure as little discomfort to the dog as possible, and finally it reduces the amount of drugs required to make them sleep for the actual procedure. The only exception to this would be older, or ill, animals where a blood test might the first thing performed. This would be done to ensure there were no unknown problems that might affect the safety of the anaesthetic.
The procedure from this point on is almost exactly the same as any human would go through for a surgical operation. Once this drug combination has calmed the dog adequately we would then begin. Firstly we take the dog's forearm (see photograph 1) and we clip off the hair (photograph 2 shows the forearm immediately after clipping). This is essential to allow sterile placement of an intravenous catheter; a procedure that is routinely done for all work at our practice (see the third photograph showing the catheter in place). Although they can be expensive we consider such catheters essential, not only allowing safe and rapid administration of any required drugs, but also giving us direct access to the animal's blood stream for fluid administration. At this point we start to slowly inject the full anaesthetic agents via the catheter. Once the dog is falling asleep we will start to give oxygen via a face mask. This process increases the protection for the animal's organs from the earliest possible time. Once your pet is fully asleep a tube is passed into their upper airway and they are given pure oxygen mixed with the gases designed to keep them asleep and pain-free during the operation. Additional pain relief is also given at this time.
The skin over the surgical area this then clipped off (see photograph 4) and the skin prepared in a specified manner to ensure the skin surface is as clean as possible. The surgeon would then cover the whole animal with special drapes, only exposing the area to be operated on (photograph 5). All surgeons at our practice wear full surgical gowns and gloves for all operations to maximise the sterility of the procedures. Although this adds to our costs it means that we very rarely need to use antibiotics for such an operation. Such attention to detail reduces unnecessary drug use and minimises the risks of antibiotic drug resistance in the future. Photograph 6 shows the veterinary surgeon beginning the operation, while photograph 7 shows the final wound. All our stitches are buried in the skin for dog castrations and your animal's wound should look like this after the operation. If it does not then we would strongly encourage you to contact us to ensure there are no problems. Fortunately such complications are rare for routine dog castrations.