Notes from a layman – neutering.

By: Jason

Men are from Mars and women are from Venus” or so the saying goes.  A close friend and client said to me recently it should be adapted for doctors, vets and nurses – “Clients [patients] are from Earth but clinical staff are from outer space”.  Now this rather obscure analogy was not to say that all doctors and vets are aliens but was a way to describe how sometimes clinical staff forget that lay people, the public, don’t understand what it is they are talking about.  This comment reminded me of my own experience and has inspired me to write a blog and give you a perspective from a layman.

Kelly knows from early on in our relationship that I didn’t know my spays from my Pyos or a cryptorchid to hermaphrodite.  It caused much amusement for us at times when we were talking cross purposes because of my misunderstanding about what she had done at work.  Now things have changed and my knowledge of things clinical is much better and I can hold my own, providing clients help when they ring.  My friends comments were a timely reminder though that we need to ensure we don’t forget that not everyone has (or wants) the level of knowledge the clinical staff have.

At Bright Side we pride ourselves in making sure that things are explained as clearly as possible.  We have longer consults so that you have the time to get answers out of the vets or nurses.  Nevertheless there are topics that don’t come up all of the time and this is where this blog will come in handy over the months to come.  I hope to give a lay person’s spin on some of the common things we see at Bright Side, helping you (and me) to understand what might seem like a foreign language at times!

First up…its neutering month!  This is a highly emotive topic and more so than I ever thought it would be…and not for the reasons I would have thought.  The number of my fellow Martians that don’t want their dogs castrating is surprising!  I have to admit it used to make me squirm in my seat when the topic came up and even more so when I told my non-clinical friends how efficient Kelly is at castrations.  Not a claim many husbands have about their wives!

So some of the key things I never knew that changed my perspective of neutering’s…

There is a population crises amongst cats.  Who knew that kittens from the age of 4 months are mature enough to have babies…and they will mate with their siblings!  When I heard that only 1 in 12 cats and 1 in 10 dogs find a permanent home I was horrified!  We work with four rescue charities and they are often overrun with unwanted pets, which is heart-breaking.

Neutering can help reduce cancers!  I never associated the two but for bitches it can reduce the chances of mammary or ovary tumours and in males it reduces the chance of testicular or prostate cancers.  It doesn’t make them less of a male (or female) but it could help them live a fuller life.  It doesn’t change their personality (although it might calm some excited youngsters a little) – they will still be your dog so if you are a bloke with hang ups…get over yourself!  It’s not your balls on the line but it might be in the future if your dog gets ill as a result of your indecision.

Three amigos

A spay is what they do to females…a
spade is what you use in the garden.  It’s like a hysterectomy that human women can have but pets bounce back so much faster.  I remember a friend having the procedure and being out of action for several weeks, which is common place.  Female pets are out of hospital same day and have stitches out in ten days.  I had assumed it was a simpler procedure but the reality is that it’s the same.  It’s a routine operation but it is a big op that needs proper recovery time.  Again, who knew that whilst humans are told to have bed rest pets must have cage rest after these procedures.  I had no idea just how many pets we might see with issues (e.g. hernias) because of not taking appropriate rest.

Finally and perhaps most commonly…why do they need to wear those stupid lamp shades!  I was always told that cats and dogs clean themselves by grooming and licking themselves.  Well yes that is true but when you stop and think about what they eat and where they lick…irrespective of if it’s their fur or their nether regions their tongues go everywhere.  It is then natural to realise that the germs will be spread by their tongues and those wounds from the operations can easily get infected, which will add to the costs of taking care of your pet.  Additionally, as wounds heal (just like ours) they will itch.  Pets will lick them or bite at them to relieve the intensity of the feeling, this could not only infect the wound but stitches could be pulled out sooner than they are ready to come out.  Hence the cone of shame…it stops them getting to it and causing more issues.  At Bright Side we have pet T-shirts but they are not always ideal for male animals.

So, a few things I have learnt.  If there is anything that is confusing you then let me know and I will try and shed some light on it (in other words I will ask the experts and get you a layman’s view).