Neutering Your Dog

Neutering, or orchiectomy, is a surgical sterilization procedure that can provide major health benefits for dogs. Here are some important facts you should know before getting your dog neutered.

The Neuter Surgery
Orchiectomy is a surgery that is performed under general anesthesia. Your dogs belly will be shaved and cleansed, and an incision will be made between his scrotum and the base of his penis. The veterinarian will remove both testicles and tie off the spermatic cords. The skin incision is closed with stitches or surgical adhesive. Following neuter surgery, your dog will no longer produce sperm and he will have lower testosterone levels.

Although neutering is very routine, it still carries the risks associated with general anesthesia and surgery. Your veterinarian takes numerous measures to keep your dog safe, such as checking his heart and lungs before administering anesthesia and monitoring him constantly while he is asleep. You can ask whether your veterinarian recommends any additional safety precautions, such as pre-anesthetic blood tests or administration of IV fluids during the procedure.

Benefits
The normal behavior of an un-neutered dog is often incompatible with being a household pet. Intact dogs tend to wander from home, seeking a mate or defending their territory. This puts them at risk for being hit by a car or being injured in a dog fight. Urine marking and some types of aggression are more pronounced in un-neutered dogs as well. Although neutering may not entirely eliminate these behaviors, it can diminish them by 50-90%.

Intact male dogs suffer from a high incidence of inflammation and enlargement of the prostate, as well as testicular tumors. Older dogs commonly develop swollen and infected prostate glands. These conditions are painful and can interfere with urination and defecation. After neutering, the prostate shrinks considerably. Tumors of the testicles, common in older intact male dogs, are eliminated entirely.

The final benefit of neutering is that its the best way you can help end pet overpopulation. Every year, 3-4 million cats and dogs are euthanized in U.S. animal shelters. None of us wants to contribute to that sad statistic, but we may do so unwittingly. Puppies adopted to apparently good homes may be given away or lost. Even purebred dogs end up homeless. The Humane Society of the United States estimates that 25% of the dogs in U.S. animal shelters are purebred!

Considerations Before Surgery
Consult with your veterinarian about when to schedule your dogs neuter surgery. Traditionally, pets are neutered at around six months of age. However, some veterinarians advocate performing the procedure earlier. The night before your dogs surgery, remove his food and water before you go to bed. He should not eat or drink anything during the night or the morning of his surgery.

Considerations After Surgery
Your dog may go home the day of his surgery, or may stay in the hospital overnight. If he goes home the same day, expect him to feel a little groggy. Keep him indoors, in a warm, safe, quiet room away from other pets. During the first week after surgery, try to restrict his activity level. Leash walks are OK, but avoid excessive running, jumping, and roughhousing.

Check his incision daily. Stitches, if present, will need to be removed in about 10-14 days. If you notice your dog licking his incision frequently, ask for an Elizabethan collar. Many dogs develop a swollen or slightly bruised scrotal area following neuter surgery. Some swelling is normal, but dont be afraid to ask your veterinarian if you are concerned about your dog.

The effects of neutering on your dog will not be instantaneous. Testosterone levels wane over a period of weeks or months, followed by a reduction in fertility and territorial and mating behaviors.

Seizures in Pets

Seizures in petsSeizures are a neurological anomaly that may occur in some pets. They are caused by a wide variety of reasons and may manifest differently from animal to animal. Seizures, although frequently frightening for the owners, can often be managed by medication once properly diagnosed. This handout will provide general information on the description, causes and solutions for seizure disorders in pets.

Seizures, often called convulsions or fits, will manifest themselves differently in each animal. It is important to remember, that while frightening for the owner, your pet does not feel any pain during the episode. And contrary to popular belief, your pet will not swallow its tongue during a seizure episode. In fact, you are more likely to be bitten severely if you try to force anything into the animals mouth. The only precaution that you should take is to make sure that your pet is not in danger of falling or striking a limb or its head on anything during the episode. After the seizure is complete, take time to observe and comfort your pet as they may be disoriented.

As seizures appear differently in each animal, it is best to look for some of the common signs:

  1. Sporadic muscle contractions over the entire body
  2. Falling to the side with a drawn back position of the head and neck
  3. Loss or semi-loss of consciousness
  4. Involuntary vomiting, salivation, urination or defecation
  5. Changes in mental awareness from unresponsive staring to hallucinations
  6. Behavioral changes including panting, pacing, odd running patterns, extreme docility, extreme viciousness and not recognizing known individuals

During the seizure, your pet will experience three different stages. The first stage of a seizure is called the pre-ictal or aura phase. During this phase your pet may exhibit a wide range of behavioral changes. These changes may include hiding, whining, nervousness, shaking and many others. This stage may continue for a few seconds to a few hours. It is important to remember, however, that some pets do not experience or manifest any signs of this phase.

The second phase to a seizure is the ictal phase. This phase may last from a few seconds to five minutes and is the period in which the body convulses and displays the typical signs of a seizure described above. If the seizure lasts longer than five minutes, it is known as prolonged seizure or status. Status is a severe and extreme seizure condition and you should seek immediate medical attention.

The third phase of the seizure is known as the post-ictal phase. This phase may include changes in mental awareness, confusion, restlessness and temporary blindness. This phase varies by pet in length, symptoms and severity.

Seizures may be caused by many different factors and they are often indicators of other physical problems. The most common cause of seizures in pets is epilepsy. A common form of epilepsy is caused by the rapid over-stimulation of the neurons in the brain. This over-stimulation may be caused from a head injury or may be genetic and inherited from birth. However, seizures may also be a side effect and indicator of other physical problems. These problems may include brain tumors, poisoning, low blood sugar, nerve or muscle problems and organ disease.

Depending on the frequency and severity of your pets seizures, it may be started on oral medications to help control the seizures. Once started, however, these medications must be given reliably, for the rest of the pets life. Therefore, your veterinarian will do careful screening and testing before placing your pet on these medications. It is important to remember that your pets seizure disorder is a manageable condition and many pets live long, happy and rewarding lives with epilepsy.

Seizures in Cats

Seizures in Cats

Seizures are a neurological aberrations that can occur in some pets. They are caused by a variety of reasons and can vary from animal to animal. Seizures, but often scary for the owners, can often be controlled by medication once properly diagnosed. This handout will provide general information about the description, causes and solutions to epileptic seizures in dogs and cats.

Seizures will manifest itself differently in each animal. It is important to remember that even frightening to the owner, your pet does not feel any pain during the episode. And contrary to popular belief, your pet will not swallow his tongue during a seizure episode. In fact, you’re more likely to be bitten if you try to put something in the pet’s mouth. The only precaution you need to do is make sure that your pet is not in danger of  falling or hitting a leg or his head on something during the incident. After the seizure has finished, take the time to observe and comfort your pet since they can become disoriented.

As seizures may appear in any animal, it is best to look for some of the common symptoms:

1. Sporadic muscle contractions throughout the body
2 Falling to the side with a drawn back position of the head and neck
3. Loss or semi-loss of consciousness
4. Involuntary vomiting, salivation, urination or bowel movements
5; Changes in mental awareness from non-staring or seeming to hallucinate

6. Behavioral changes such as panting, pacing, ,fly-biting, extreme docility, extreme agitation, aggression  or does not recognize family members

During the attack, your pet will experience three different phases. First stage of a seizure is called the pre-ictal or aura phase. In this phase, your pet may exhibit a wide range of behavioral changes. These changes may include hiding, vocalizing, nervousness, tremors, and many others. This stage may continue for a few seconds to a couple of hours. It is important to remember, but that some animals do not experience or manifest any sign of this phase.

 

The second phase of  a seizure is the  ictal phase. This phase can last from several seconds to five minutes and the period during which the body is tense and gives the typical symptoms of an attack as described above. If the seizure lasts longer than five minutes, it is known as a prolonged seizure or status epileptics. Status epileptics  is a serious and extreme seizure condition and you should see a veterinarian immediately.

The third phase of the seizure is known as post-ictal phase. This phase may include changes in mental awareness, disorientation, restlessness and temporary blindness. This phase varies in length from pets, symptoms and severity.

Seizures may be caused by numerous factors and are often indicators of other physical problems. The most common cause of seizures in pets is epilepsy. A common form of epilepsy caused by the rapid over-stimulation of neurons in the brain. This over-stimulation can be caused by a head injury or may be genetic and inherited from birth. Can attack but also an indicator of side effect and other physical problems. These problems can include brain tumors, poisoning, hypoglycemia, nerve or muscle problems and organ disease.

Depending on the frequency and severity of your pet seizures, it may be treated with oral medications to help control the seizures. Once started, but these drugs must be monitored  and administered for the rest of the pets life. Therefore, your veterinarian will do careful screening and testing before putting your pet on these drugs. It is important to remember that your pet’s seizures is often a manageable condition and many animals live long, happy and fruitful life with epilepsy.