Vasectomy is a relatively new procedure in the canine world and we are still learning about the differences between humans and dogs.
When considering this procedure for your dog, it is important that we take the opportunity to review some basic information beforehand in addition to doing a full examination of the potential surgery.
An estimated cost will be provided upon the presurgical consult that will be based on age and weight. Please note that a vasectomy does cost a little more than a standard castration.
Vasectomy involves cutting and tying off the vas deferens tube which leads from the testes out to the end of the penis. It is located on both sides and thus two incisions are needed. The vas deferens in dogs are deeper than humans and buried in fat so it takes some time to locate the tiny tube in surgery.
After the presurgical preparations, the patient is placed in the surgery suite under gas anesthesia. The surgeon then applies a local anesthetic to the area. Once the vas deferens is located and isolated and brought outside the body area, the surgeon does a double ligature ("tie suture") on each end of the tube and then cauterizes the ends to prevent regrowth.
Everything is returned to the body and sutures are applied under the skin as well as in the skin itself. A pain injection is administered that typically lasts 24 hours.
Bruising is a common occurrence due to the gentle nature of the delicate skin in that area but is typically minimal. After the procedure, which typically takes 30-60 minutes, the patient wakes up in recovery and gets fitted with a cone to prevent licking at the surgical site. They go home with the intent that the cone stays on for 24/7 for one week and a few more days of gentle pain control is sent home.
We know from the human world that one testicle is plenty to impregnate a female so we don't remove just one testicle.
So the choices for a male are either remove both testicles as a castration (neuter) or consider a vasectomy. The important distinction between castration and vasectomy, of course, is the retained hormones.
Vasectomy is only useful for a few, limited, scenarios:
The first is working animals like police/military/protection dogs. The working dog usually needs higher levels of testosterone to do the job it was trained to do.
The second is when an intact female lives in the household with an intact male and pregnancy prevention is desired.
Lastly, in some rare cases, as in the case of giant breeds, hormones are sometimes retained for an extended period of time prior to full castration but some form of pregnancy prevention is required while the male is still intact. Often because the male may come in contact, or lives with, an intact female.
A traditional castration provides the best health benefits in the male and often makes for a better behaved pet.
Males have high incidences of prostate issues as they age (just like human males). By neutering, we avoid prostate enlargement and most forms of prostate cancer. Without the testes, we avoid testicular cancer completely.
Males do not typically have the urinary incontinence issues that females do with low hormones.
Any testosterone present will promote "male" behaviors that are considered by most people to be undesirable in a home. if you are familiar with horses, a useful analogy are stallions versus geldings; the vasectomy results in a sterile stallion.
Vasectomy is not reversible and cannot be restored to normal again like in humans. Also, like humans, the cord can continue to have sperm in it so a male can impregnate a female for 30 days after the procedure. Please consider this fact when determining your post-surgical care.
We can typically neuter dogs earlier than we can do the vasectomy The testes have to be developed enough to find the cord for the procedure. We are finding that pets under 9 months of age (especially giant breeds) may be underdeveloped and need more time before the procedure is done.
Please note that there is specific medical reason to recommend a vasectomy over a castration. In fact, in the overwhelming majority of cases, castration is preferred and recommended.
Additional useful information may be found at www.parsemus.org.
After informing yourself then we can schedule your presurgical consultation. The presurgical consult will allow us to specifically address any of your questions and ensure the pet is healthy enough for the procedure. The vasectomy consultation will be applied towards the surgery.
We hope this has been helpful in guiding your decision. Call us today to schedule your consultation.