What are some of the benefits to hysterectomies in dogs?

Original Question: I want to get a hysterectomy for my 1-year-old Chow Chow to save the estrogen in her ovaries. Not for purely reproductive reasons, I believe it is necessary for her to have estrogen. - Joyce

What are some of the benefits to hysterectomies in dogs? Mar 5, 2018

Hi Joyce,

Thanks for your inquiry. There is not a question in this submission but I assume you would like to know more about this procedure.

There are clinics you can find that perform a laparoscopic hysterectomy. This is a relatively new procedure that only a few clinics in North America are doing but it is well established in England. It involves making small holes in the abdomen instead of a large incision and using fiber optic devices to look inside. Surgical tools are inserted through the holes and manipulated to remove only the uterus and not the ovaries. This is defined as a hysterectomy and not an ovariohysterectomy.

With this procedure, the ovaries remain in the abdomen and produce estrogen. Your dog will have the effect of estrogen throughout life but without a uterus and will be unable to get impregnated. The effect of the estrogen will allow your dog to achieve full growth potential, continue to cycle, avoid urinary incontinence due to reduced estrogen levels, not become impregnated and avoid uterine diseases such as pyometra (an infection of the uterus).

This is an extremely uncommon procedure. The procedure that is more often performed is an ovariectomy where the ovaries are removed and the uterus is left in the abdomen. Without the estrogen you avoid heat cycles, reduce the possibility of pyometra to almost zero, eliminate the increased risk of mammary cancer later in life and prevent pregnancy.

I strongly suggest that you speak with your veterinarian about the pros and cons of each procedure and decide what’s best for you and your pet.  It’s important to make a decision based on future health issues, lifestyle and any plans you may have to breed your pet.

I hope this helps.

Dr. Clayton Greenway

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