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Ovary Removal Instead Of Spaying

For Female Lacys: When some savvy veterinarians took a fresh look at performing spays, a surgery we’ve been doing the exact same way for decades, they came up with a revised technique that accomplishes all of the objectives of the spay surgery with fewer complications. How cool is that?
Thanks to some innovative veterinarians, we now know that ovariectomy (OVE) – removal of just the ovaries, leaving the uterus in place – accomplishes these objectives just as effectively as does the OVH. And, here’s the icing on the cake: removal of the ovaries alone results in fewer complications when compared to removal of the ovaries and uterus combined.

After the ovaries (and the hormones they produce) have been removed from the body, the uterus remains inert. The dog no longer shows symptoms of heat, nor can she conceive. Additionally, any chance of developing ovarian cystic disease or cancer is eliminated.

If you are not already convinced that the “new spay is the better way,” consider the following complications that can be mitigated or avoided all together when the uterus remains unscathed:
1. Compared to an OVH, an OVE requires less time in the operating room. This translates into decreased likelihood of anesthetic complications.
2. Removal of the uterus requires that the surgeon perform more difficult ligations (tying off of large blood vessels and surrounding tissues with suture material before making cuts to release the organs from the body). A uterine body ligation that isn’t tied quite tightly enough can result in excessive bleeding into the abdominal cavity and may necessitate blood transfusions and/or a second surgery to stop the bleeding.
3. The ureters (thin delicate tubes that transport urine from each kidney to the bladder) run adjacent to the body of the uterus. If a surgeon is not being extremely careful, it is possible to ligate and obstruct a ureter in the course of removing the uterus. This devastating complication requires a second corrective surgery; however, damage to the affected ureter and adjoining kidney may be irreversible.
4. Removal of the uterus occasionally results in the development of a “stump granuloma” – a localized inflammatory process that develops within the small portion of uterus that is left behind. When this occurs a second “clean up surgery” is typically required.
5. We know that the degree of post-operative patient discomfort correlates with the degree of surgical trauma. No question, of the two surgical options the OVH creates more trauma.
European veterinarians have been performing OVEs rather than OVHs for years. In fact, the bulk of the research supporting the benefits of leaving the uterus behind has been conducted in Europe.
Slowly, veterinarians in the United States are catching on, and some veterinary schools are now preferentially teaching OVE rather than OVH techniques to their students.

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