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What is Hysterectomy?

A hysterectomy, or “ovary-sparing spay”, is a procedure in which a dog's entire uterus is removed, but the ovaries are left intact. This surgery contrasts from the traditional spay, or ovariohysterectomy, with which both the uterus and the ovaries are removed. A hysterectomy may be performed in large or giant dog breeds, as recent studies have shown benefits to these breeds keeping their hormone balances. The ovaries are a key part of hormone regulation in the body. By retaining them in the body, the risk of developing certain diseases can be significantly reduced. This can lead to a longer life for the dog.

Hysterectomy Procedure in Dogs

Like with a regular spay, the dog will first have to have its blood work run to ensure that it is a good surgical candidate and that it will be able to handle general anesthesia. If the dog is deemed suitable, the surgery will be booked. A larger incision will be made than with a traditional spay, so that the uterus can be fully visualized throughout the operation. 

It is pulled to the surface so that the entire uterus can be tied off and removed right at the cervix, generally between the ovaries and the uterine horn. It is paramount that the whole of the uterus is removed to prevent stump pyometra from developing. The procedure may take slightly more time than a full spay due to the fact that it is not performed as often and the incision will take longer to close, as it is bigger. Either sutures or staples may be used to the surgical incision.

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Efficacy of Hysterectomy in Dogs

A hysterectomy is completely effective at rendering the dog incapable of breeding. If performed correctly, there should be no risk of stump pyometra. The dog will still go into heat, however, no discharge or blood should be seen. This procedure is permanent and will only need to be done once. The chances of resulting health issues are extremely low, with the dog being at lower risk of developing many cancers and diseases than with an ovariohysterectomy. 

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Hysterectomy Recovery in Dogs

The recovery for a hysterectomy is very similar to that of a traditional spay. The veterinarian will prescribe painkillers and all activity should be reduced for several weeks while the animal heals. Putting an Elizabethan collar on the dog will keep it from licking or biting at its incision. Food should be slowly introduced within the first two days after surgery. If the dog begins to vomit, report this to your veterinarian. Monitor the incision site for any signs of infection. Any breathing difficulties should also be made known to the vet.

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Cost of Hysterectomy in Dogs

An ovary-sparing spay tends to cost significantly more than a standard spay. Prices may range from $750 to $5,000 depending on the size of the dog and the veterinarian you see. Not all vets offer this surgery, so finding one near you may be a challenge. The procedure is gaining popularity, so more and more locations should be adopting the technique. Because it is often done in giant breeds, it can be paired with a gastropexy (tacking of the stomach) to prevent gastric dilation-volvulus (GDV). The cost may not be much more to have both procedures complete, as they may be done through the same incision.

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Dog Hysterectomy Considerations

As with any surgery, complications may arise from the use of general anesthesia. If any of the uterus remains after surgery, the dog may be susceptible to stump pyometra, which can be life-threatening. Leaving the ovaries in the dog may contribute to the growth in mammary tumors. As the dog ages, she will be more at risk for this problem. Adopting an annual mammary gland ultrasound into your vet care routine may help identify these tumors in their early stages.

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Hysterectomy Prevention in Dogs

Hysterectomy is an elective surgery that is performed to prevent the onset of many adverse health issues such as bone cancer and joint problems. In addition to the prevention of pregnancy and serious health conditions, it can also lessen the likelihood of the dog becoming obese or being incontinent. Intact females will remain at risk of developing pyometra, which is often difficult to diagnose until it's too late, and will also experience a full heat if no spay is performed.

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Hysterectomy Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Pit Bull

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Seven Months

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Unknown severity

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Prolapse

How much does a hysterectomy for a dog with a prolapse usually coast

Aug. 6, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. Unfortunately, the cost of surgery varies greatly depending on where you live, who is doing the surgery, and the degree of complications. Without knowing more about your dog, there is no way that I can give that estimate for you. What you can do, is call a veterinarian in your area, give them the situation, and get an estimate for surgery from them. I hope that all goes well for your dog.

Aug. 6, 2020

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Rodeshian ridgeback

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Ten Years

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Not Eating Whiny After A Hysterectomy A Week Ago

Full hysterectomy she developed pyrometry and she not eating well cut her antibiotics down thinking her tummy upset so vet giving her probiotics but she still not eat much and now carries her toy in her mouth and whines

July 22, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question. At her age, that infection and surgery is a major procedure. It may take some time for her to recover from the surgery and the anesthesia. If she is having troubles, the best thing to do maybe to have a recheck with your veterinarian, as they can assess her, examine her, and see if she is okay. She may need further antibiotics, or pain medications. I hope that all goes well for her.

July 22, 2020

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Coco

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English Bulldog

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5 Years

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

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Not Eating
Tired

My dog had a hysterectomy on Sunday and she’s still in the Vet ER, she’s a 5 year old English bulldog and she’s not eating and has iv giving her fluids. I’m just really concerned about her not eating because she’s usually a little vacuum with food. She’s throwing up flim now and she’s on a feeding tube now.

July 31, 2018

Coco's Owner


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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

I'm sorry that that is happening to Coco. That isn't a normal post operative recovery from a spay, unless she had a uterine infection. It seems that your veterinarian is doing all that they can, and I hope that she continues to recover.

July 31, 2018

Good Day Sorry to comment, I cant find a place where I can ask something Is it dangerous for a dog to get an hysterectomy while on heat?? Thank You

Sept. 11, 2018

Amelda V.

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Bella

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German Shepherd husky

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1 Year

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Moderate severity

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Licking At Genitals
Whining

My dog had a total hysterectomy on Monday. First 3 days she was sleepy and then the 4th day she perked up she’s been eating. Now Friday she slept all day and evening I had to wake her to go to the bathroom and eat. She also has been licking her vulva constantly for the past few days and I noticed a tan discharge. Friday night every time she stood up she would immediately jolt and sit down and start licking down there. Not sure what is going on?

July 28, 2018

Bella's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

There are a few possible causes for the excessive licking and discharge which may include a little bit of old blood being discharged, an infection, inflammation of the vulva among other issues; keep an eye on Bella but I would recommend visiting your Veterinarian for an examination if there is no improvement over the weekend or the symptoms get worse, without examining her I cannot determine how severe the issue is. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 29, 2018

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Ember

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Rottweiler

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7 Years

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Serious severity

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Abdominal Distension
Breathing Difficulty
Tired

My ember went through hysterectomy 46 hours ago she can walk a little and she can eat and drink water but what bothers me is her breathing. She breathes in a fast way and it seems shallow to me also I noticed her stomach bloated and it's a bit bigger what could it be? Sometimes she seems okay but most of the time she tired.

July 5, 2018

Ember's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

If Ember is in some distress after surgery you should return to your Veterinarian, it is also important to know why an (ovario)hysterectomy was done at her age as this is normally done secondary to another condition like pyometra, tumours or other conditions. Without examining her and knowing the reason for the surgery I cannot give you any specific advice apart from keep her comfortable and hydrated then visit your Veterinarian when they open. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 6, 2018

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Lola

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Labrador Retriever

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11 Years

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Moderate severity

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Lethargic, And Sad Eyes

My 11 year old Labrador "Lola" had her uterus removed last year after developing pyometria. She has recovered well but there is a solid mass now in her lower abdomen. I think it could be scar tissue however my wife feels strongly that it is a tumor. The mass is appx 3 inch wide by 7 inch long. Any thoughts from the professionals here? Because of Corona virus we have not been able to get her to our Vet.

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Tory

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Labrador Retriever

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2 Years

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Serious severity

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Dizziness
Fits
Red Swollen Eyes
Swollenn Snout

Last week i woke up to a very shocking view. My dog Tory was having severe fits. There people around her who were saying that she was dead. We took her to the vet, and told us that it may be epilepsy and one of the causes may be brain trauma. 6 months back she had a ovariohysterectomy. She has never mated and the reason of her surgery is she was attacked by multiple huge breed male dogs. It may sound strange but Tory mimics mating by grabbing one of my legs with the front legs and starts shaking. Last time the day after she has seizure, she did it again and when i tried to get her off me, she made exactly the same sound she made when she got her fits. Can anybody else see any connection with the surgery and tory not mating with the seizure she got ? I'm really concerned.

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Molly

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Bernese Mountain Dog

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8 Years

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Mild severity

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Loss Of Appetite

Our Bernese Mountain dog is almost 9 years old and we noticed she wasn't eating as much. Just took her to the family vet and she thinks that our dog has an infected Uterus. She was never spayed. Is it wise to consider surgery at her age?