Canine bilateral orchidectomy, or castration, is the removal of a male dog’s testicles (gonads) and epididymis and some of the blood vessels, nerves, muscles, and ductus deferens (canine version of vas deferens for humans, the tube connecting the testicles and epididymis to the urethra) while leaving the other reproductive structures intact. This procedure eliminates the chance for the male dog to get a female dog pregnant around (4) weeks after the procedure is performed. Sperm may be present in the reproductive tract for weeks after the procedure. Depending on the sexual maturity of the dog when castration is performed, this procedure greatly reduces the risk for reproductivehormone associated cancer and can curb unwanted behaviors. Castration also eliminates the possibility of testicular cancer and testicular infections (orchitis). Castration likewise reduces unwanted behaviors like spraying to mark territory, roaming, and some aggressive behaviors. Castration has more effect on behavior modification if it is done prior to puberty
and it is even more effective if done before any of those behaviors are exhibited (which may occur earlier than the onset of puberty). Castrated males require about ⅓ fewer calories, too.
Complications of the procedure may include bleeding; swelling, especially of the scrotal area (which may persist for several weeks in mature dogs); pain; surgical incision infections; and dehiscence, or wound healing failure. Other complications associated with anesthesia include shortterm vomiting or diarrhea, ileus (decreased gut motility or decreased movement of food in the intestines), and death.
Home Care Instructions
- Most castration patients with an uneventful convalescence will be fully recovered in 2 weeks (the amount of time for full depth skin incisions to heal). Usually progress exams and follow up appointments are not necessary.
- Castration involves some major blood vessels; your pet should be kept quiet with restricted activity for 34 days (leash walks, no stairs, etc.) to put less strain on the sutures.
- To reduce the possibility of postoperative swelling and infection, it is imperative that the surgical site be kept clean and dry for at least a week, including no baths or grooming during this time.
- Your pet should also be prevented from excessive licking or chewing at the surgical sites for about a week. If an ecollar (Cone of Shame) is needed, please see the front desk staff. If your dog rips or chews out
the sutures, please call. Your dog will be sent home with a mandatory Cone of Shame after the suture line is repaired.
- Please examine the area around the incision about twice a day for 10 days; if excessive swelling, redness, pain, or discharge is noted, please contact us at Pickrell Veterinary Clinic.
- Mature male dogs will likely experience greater scrotal swelling and pain following castration than young dogs. Icing the area can help. If discomfort is noted, please contact us so the pain management plan can be tailored for your pet.
- If there are any general signs of illness (i.e. vomiting, diarrhea, lack of energy, lack of appetite, fever (greater than 102.5), pale gums and/or mucous membranes, distended abdomen), please do not hesitate to call. There may be mild vomiting or diarrhea for a day or so after the anesthesia. Mature dogs may be slower for 35 days as they recover from this surgery. If there are any questions, please do not hesitate to call.