Let’s call her Rosie. This sweet Labrador is pushing her golden years. That’s right, our imaginary dog is between eight and ten years old, perhaps even older. She’s not sterilized but her case is not unique and certainly not rare. Millions of elderly dogs remain capable of having puppies. The reasons could be financial, living for years as a stray or owners never realizing the operation’s importance. When a family wants to make the appointment but their dog is old, age is naturally a concern.
When looking at a gray-lipped pet, the idea of subjecting them to a serious, invasive operation seems distasteful. For this reason, many owners avoid sterilizing their golden girls. Unfortunately, the avoidance comes with a risk. Not just a plain risk that bobs along and stays the same. Oh no, this goober intensifies twice a year.
The Trouble With Pyometra
Vets encourage sterilization for three reasons. The most obvious is to stem the tide of unwanted puppies. Secondly, the earlier a female is spayed, the less likely she’ll develop mammary cancer. As one of the most common cancers among dogs, spaying offers a fantastic benefit. A female fixed before the first heat might never develop it. Regrettably, at Rosie’s age, any protection spaying has to offer against cancer is gone.
The third reason is Pyometra. This infection fills the uterus with pus. Frighteningly, the dog cannot survive when the condition goes untreated. The only treatment is emergency sterilization. Pyometra has a nasty sense of humor. As a dog grows older, her odds of developing the disease increases with every heat.
Isn’t She Too Old?
Knowing the benefits of spaying is one thing. Putting worry to bed is quite another. The best recourse is to book a vet appointment. During the visit, have the vet do a complete health check on your pet with future sterilization in mind. Now’s the time to voice any concerns. Many people are pleasantly surprised to discover that most doctors don’t view age as a danger factor in sterilization.
Older dogs do have more health problems. However, the examination alerts the vet to a particular female’s overall condition and unique needs. This allows the staff to work out a plan, if one is necessary, to ensure the dog’s safety during surgery. As far as the fee is concerned, normal sterilization is never as expensive as an emergency spay dealing with a puss-filled uterus.
They Need Extra Care
A good vet will send Rosie home with a care sheet or give verbal instructions. Post-operation care should at least include the following.
- Setting the dog in a quiet, safe and comfortable place
- She can be offered a small snack and a little water
- Check the wound for unnatural bleeding, signs of infection and keep it dry
- Rosie mustn’t fiddle with the stitches, no matter how interesting they are
- After sterilization, dogs can have trouble regulating their body heat. Make sure her environment is a cozy room that’s neither too hot nor cold.
Goldies can ace an operation. That being said, they need an extra dose of love afterward. It’s common for elderly pets to struggle with the effects of the anesthesia. They might choke on water or food, and display drowsy movements and a lack of coordination. For this reason, silver foxes need supervision until their cognition and motions return to normal in a few days’ time.
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