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Letters: Thoughts on ovariectomy


Reader feedback about this alternative technique for spaying intact pets.

I would like to make a comment about the article on ovariectomy that appeared in your June issue ("Performing an ovariectomy in dogs and cats"). One of the approaches advocated was a flank approach. Forty years ago I tried this approach but stopped using it on cats because the hair at the incision site frequently grew back with a grey color. This seemed to be a problem, especially for Siamese cat owners.

Whatever's old is new again.

Jack Gorelick

Moorestown, N.J.

There is another ovariectomy approach I particularly like. You make the skin incision on or just to one side of the dorsal midline at the level of the position of the ovary. Then you slide the skin incision over to one flank right over the ovary, make a blunt stab wound in the muscle, and elevate the ovary from the abdominal cavity by grasping the fat pad. Excision of the ovary is the same as in the other techniques. (I worship hemoclips!) Then you slide the skin incision over the other flank and repeat.

The stab wound usually doesn't require suturing, so you close with one staple or suture in the skin. The dorsal location makes removal of staples very easy. This approach can be used for surgical insemination and embryo transplant as well. A few dogs may have skin that is too tight to slide over to the flank; however, I haven't seen one yet. If you use hemoclips on the pedicles and the rapID Skin Stapler (SystemVET)—which is reloadable, reusable, and autoclavable—to close the skin, this is a very quick procedure.

Jane M. Lindsey, DVM

San Diego, Calif.

Dr. Ehrhardt responds: Dr. Lindsey's letter demonstrates that there is more than one way to ovariectomize a dog. Using blunt puncture through the flank has been described in dogs, but Dr. Lindsey's dorsal approach is new to me. The dorsal midline abdominal approach was originally described for ovariectomizing newborn rats to avoid disadvantages of the ventral midline incision.1 In day-old rats, the outline of the kidney could be seen through the abdominal fascia. Dr. Lindsey's assessment of the advantages of the dorsal flank method in dogs is intriguing.

Dr. Lindsey's affection for hemoclips (some of my patients are quite attached to them) brings up the use of alternative hemostatic techniques in ovariectomy. Hemostatic clips and electrocoagulation have been used in ovariectomy.2,3 Properly employed, hemostatic clips should be fine. The surgeon should use methods that he or she is proficient in.


1. Brouwer EA, Dailey R, Brouwer JB. Ovariectomy of newborn rats: a descriptive procedure. Lab Anim Sci 1980;30(3):546-548.

2. Müller D. Zum Einsatz von Titan-Clips in der Kleintierchirurgie. Kleintiermedizin 2008;5(6):143-147.

3. Willimzik H, Weber KO. Diskussionsbeitrag zum Verschluss der die Ovarien versorgende Gefasse bei der Kastration der Katze. Kleintier-Praxis 1992;37(8):539-540.

Eric E. Ehrhardt, DVM, MS

Fruit Valley Veterinary Clinic

7100 State Route 104

Oswego, NY 13126

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