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Old 01-15-2013, 07:36 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Friend's dog died after his neuter today :(

So sad!

He brought his dog to the vet in the valley, dropped him off so he could go skiing while the dog got neutered. The dog made it through the surgery, but afterwords his heart & breathing stopped. He had already come out of his anesthesia. How baffling!

Soo... I have some older dogs that have not been bred. I was thinking about bringing them to get spayed and neutered so that the female will stop cycling and the male will stop getting so excited when the girls who we do have plans for come into season. After this, I'm not so sure it's something I want to risk.

Has anyone here had the same kind of issue before, or seen it in your daily walks? How common is it to lose a dog during a procedure like that?

What scares me is, they used MY vet, and he is VERY professional and has worked miracles with my own dogs when they get into trouble. I'm just stunned that something so routine could be so fatal.

This is the same vet, who, when I asked him about his position on cropping and docking (after relating that I'd like a Dobe), he said cropping was banned here, and his opinion is that it is no more unnecessary than spaying/neutering which are all for OUR convenience. I appreciated his position very much, its' just common sense. He has only recommended neutering/spaying dogs with health issues complicated by having their boy and ladyparts.

What if a mandatory s/n bill passes and more of these incidents occur? Could a pet owner sue the government that instituted these bans if the procedure kills their dog? Not the owner's fault, it's the law's fault!
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Old 01-15-2013, 07:48 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Someone recently bought a puppy from one of our friends because their dog got spayed and the same thing happened. They tried CPR and nothing worked. I think the benefits out weigh the risk of death. How many s/n our preformed a day and how many dogs actually die from it?

Sorry your friend lost their dog.

Last edited by Dobelove; 01-15-2013 at 07:56 PM..
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Old 01-15-2013, 07:55 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Any type of surgery has risks, and one of them is not pulling through. You can reduce the risks by having the appropriate pre op tests done, to make sure your pet can handle the procedure.

It's awful that your friends dog didn't make it I hope time will heal, and allow him to let another dog back into his life.
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Old 01-15-2013, 07:56 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I don't think the vet was at fault for the dogs death unless he didn't follow the proper balancing of the anesthesia. If he's done neuters 100x before its most likely that there was something wrong inside the dog.
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Old 01-15-2013, 07:57 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Sorry about your friend's dog. What breed was he? Certain breeds are higher anesthetic risks than others. Was the surgery routine without complications until afterwards? There is always a risk with anesthesia, but I will say it is extremely rare to lose an animal during or after a routine surgery. I've worked as a CVT for 20 + years, and have never seen it happen. These days, preanesthetic bloodwork, monitoring devices, variety of drugs/anesthetic agents, iv catheters/fluids really help to minimize the risks.
Very sorry this happened to your friend's dog.
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Old 01-15-2013, 07:57 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Death is not common as a result of a neuter, so I don't consider the incident a reason not to spay / neuter... Perhaps a reason to get a new vet maybe... But death can result from ANY surgery, veterinary procedure, reactions to meds, ect.

I also very much disagree that a spay / neuter is "just for our convenience". Its an act of responsible pet ownership to spay / neuter animals that should not be bred in order to prevent accidental litters given the number of homeless pets, many resulting from "oops" litters, that are killed every day. I'd have doubts about any vet that advises against it or doesn't see it as anything more than a convenience.
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Old 01-15-2013, 08:11 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Definitely not a reason not to spay/neuter. In my 10 years actively working as a CVT I have only seen one otherwise healthy animal die after surgery. It was a (8 mth old) cat after a neuter/declaw, he had already come out of anesthetic. All protocol was followed, no mistakes were made on anyone's part, it just happened. It is an extremely rare and uncommon thing to happen though. There is a risk with any surgery, but if the animal is otherwise healthy the risk is VERY low. The benefits far outweigh the risk.
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Old 01-15-2013, 08:11 PM   #8 (permalink)
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It was a 20# Rat Terrier... everything went fine, as expected until afterwords. Then he just dropped dead. It was entirely unexpected.

I usually advise people to have their pups done at 5 months - 1.5 years. Usually a dog that age/condition is able to recover well and do fine. I am just having second thoughts about doing my oldsters...
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Old 01-15-2013, 08:18 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I usually advise people to have their pups done at 5 months - 1.5 years. Usually a dog that age/condition is able to recover well and do fine. I am just having second thoughts about doing my oldsters...
I've assisted on many "older" spay/neuters with no issues. Do the pre-op bloodwork to make sure that things in that respect are ok before hand.

My last dog (a labrador), I co-owned with his breeder, he used him at stud for a couple of litters. When he was finished breeding him we neutered him (he was 5ish), we did the bloodwork, and he was just fine. I assisted on his neuter, and will admit I was a nervous wreck because he was my baby, but he was just fine.

I've assisted on spays on senior bitches with pyo who came out of surgery just fine. If your "oldsters" are otherwise healthy, and you do the bloodwork first you really don't need to worry. There are still risks of course, but those are there at any age, and as already said are very low unless there are underlying serious health issues.

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Old 01-15-2013, 08:20 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I've lost a cat after a spay, but that was because her blood wouldn't clot, for some reason. Lost another cat after surgery, but his surgery was to repair a diaphramatic hernia and ruptured urethra, so his odds were only about 50/50, anyway.

My brother lost a cat under anesthesia, but I was working for the vet at the time, and he said that, in his experience (20 plus years of practice at the time) white cats, which is what this one was, were more sensitive to anesthesia.

That said, I've had dozens of mine and my family's pets spayed and neutered, and witnessed countless other spays and neuters that had no problems whatsoever. Like others have said, every time you go under, it is a risk. It's rare, but it does happen.
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Old 01-15-2013, 08:44 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Thank you all... I for sure would do the blood work. Not sure if the friend did or not, since the dog is young and seemed very healthy maybe they spared the expense. I will make sure we go that route when we do our s/n's. I will be a nervous wreck until they are out of the woods though! Stuff like this happening, it's just so unfair. That poor dog was so loved, and will be missed.
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Old 01-15-2013, 08:53 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Phooey, it says my editing window has closed, even though the edit button is still there. Anyway, what I wanted to say was that, due to my previous experience with my brother's cat dieing, I did ask my vet to use gas, instead of Ketamine for my most recent white kitty, Connor. For me, the benefits of neutering him far outweighed the risks.
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Old 01-15-2013, 09:01 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Phooey, it says my editing window has closed, even though the edit button is still there. Anyway, what I wanted to say was that, due to my previous experience with my brother's cat dieing, I did ask my vet to use gas, instead of Ketamine for my most recent white kitty, Connor. For me, the benefits of neutering him far outweighed the risks.

Thank you. I was thinking of doing their next Dentals at the same time as their speuters, would this be a good thing or would it better to do them separately?
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Old 01-15-2013, 09:07 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I'm sorry for your friend's loss, and it must be even harder on them by being unexpected. As with everything else in life, there is always a risk...although death is not incredibly common during or after routine surgery.

I always take extra precautions when my dogs go under and have my vet perform a "presurgical workup" as he calls it. They do x-rays to look at the heart and lungs, an EKG, and bloodwork to make sure there is no anemia, infection, and all major organs are in tip top shape...it may sound like too much, but I'd rather be safe than sorry. My vet cancelled my pittie's surgery after the EKG came back abnormal and wouldn't do anything until a specialist went over the EKG. Turns out it's not major and she could safely have her surgery, but it made me feel much better that he didn't jump into anything. Trusting your vet and their judgement is the key!
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Old 01-15-2013, 09:14 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I'd probably opt to do them together. Get it all over with at once, and they won't have to go under again. I'm getting Lucky's teeth done after we get our income tax refund, and am having a little warty tumor removed at the same time.
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Old 01-15-2013, 09:17 PM   #16 (permalink)
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I was thinking of doing their next Dentals at the same time as their speuters, would this be a good thing or would it better to do them separately?
Do them together, only having to go under anesthetic once. My boss always advocated that if an animal needed more than one surgical procedure.
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Old 01-15-2013, 09:27 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Shell81 View Post
Do them together, only having to go under anesthetic once. My boss always advocated that if an animal needed more than one surgical procedure.
Sweet... glad we're on the same page. I think it will be good for them to get their teeth done and shiny. They both still have 99% of their adult teeth in good shape, just need some scaling & Polishing done in the back.
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Old 01-15-2013, 10:19 PM   #18 (permalink)
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I'm so sorry for your friend's dog death............my friend had some thing happen when she dropped the dogs off to be boarded for the week. She came back to find one of her dogs died and never received a call ....to this day she has family watch her dogs when she has to leave.
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Old 01-15-2013, 10:58 PM   #19 (permalink)
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I've only ever heard of one spay death in my life and it was in a vWD affected dog, and an uninformed vet.

I'm having Stormy, age 10.5, get a dental done, with a lumpectomy, and I have only the normal concerns. She's been blood tested, and I am confident she is good to go.

Swilly had a couple dental procedures done when she had confirmed lung mets (due to OSA), and a good anesthesiologist was called in.

Good anesthesiologists are just as important in vet surgery, as human surgery.

I bet this is something rescue might do a lot, a late in life spay/neuter.

Last edited by EmilyB; 01-15-2013 at 11:08 PM.. Reason: added
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Old 01-15-2013, 11:40 PM   #20 (permalink)
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I am sorry for the loss of your friend's pet. Personally, it wouldn't stop me from spaying/neutering my animals. Anytime a pet goes "under", there is risk. Just like people. The clinic I work with uses gas all the time, unless it is for a groom. Then they use a "cocktail" that is reversible when I am done grooming the cat.
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Old 01-15-2013, 11:42 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Deaths during/after a routine procedure, if all appropriate anesthetic protocols and monitoring are followed, is pretty rare.

In 10 years of practice, I have only seen 2 deaths during surgery (both were dental cleanings) which resulted from undetected heart disease and a severe allergic reaction to the pain medication given during surgery.

We require a pre anesthetic panel, recent exam, and we strongly recommend an echocardiogram prior to any surgical procedure on an adult animal, even if they have no history of a murmur. Many people go forward with the screening echo in an effort to minimize as many risks during surgery as possible. It's surprising how many cats we find underlying heart disease on, and can either discourage surgery or make adjustments during anesthesia (such as fluid rate, etc).

The benefits of routine surgery on a healthy animal far outweigh the risks of anesthesia. Just be sure to make sure all appropriate testing is done prior to surgery, and you are comfortable with the level of monitoring and care done during the procedure. I often tell people who call around price shopping for cheapest spay/neuter that there's a reason why some places are substantially less expensive than others. Surgery is not to be taken lightly, and is not the time to skimp. Not that your friend did, but a lot of people do for routine procedures.

I'm sorry for your friend's loss. I hope they can figure out what happened.
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Old 01-16-2013, 12:21 AM   #22 (permalink)
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From a rescue it is more common with some of the dogs we do get but it is still less then 1% of the dogs we get in. This is older dogs too (5+). The vet we use knows dobermans very well. I think we may of lost one in the last 2 years. I dont know the number of how many we had to fix but I would say may be close to 200. A lot of this dogs are under weight and stressed before going to the vet. Not the best way to do something like that. But some evils you have to do.

When we get dogs fixed we also get a show cut on the nails.
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Old 01-16-2013, 02:37 AM   #23 (permalink)
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My sincere sympathies to your friend.

I can only imagine the shock.

That said, I too wondered if pre-op bloodwork and an echo or ECG was done.

Are they going to do a necropsy?

And, out of curiosity, what color was this Rattie?
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Old 01-16-2013, 05:17 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Who the heck still uses Ketamine? That is a deal breaker for me.
My vet uses propofol and isoflor for surgeries. The dogs come up in minutes.
The last dog a vet used Ketamine on was my Mercury. I brought him home unconscious and it took about an hour of jerking, growling, and releasing his bladder before he was awake.
With so many safe new drugs I don't understand why they would use Ketamine. Just my 1.5 cents.
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Old 01-16-2013, 08:00 AM   #25 (permalink)
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I also want to point out that every time you breed a bitch you run the risk of her dying, in fact I think deaths associated with birth is much higher than deaths from spays. Just saying...

I'd do a dental with the spay/neuter also.
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