Perioperative mortality in cats and dogs undergoing spay or castration at a high-volume clinic

Vet J. 2017 Jun;224:11-15. doi: 10.1016/j.tvjl.2017.05.013. Epub 2017 Jun 2.

Abstract

High volume spay-neuter (spay-castration) clinics have been established to improve population control of cats and dogs to reduce the number of animals admitted to and euthanazed in animal shelters. The rise in the number of spay-neuter clinics in the USA has been accompanied by concern about the quality of animal care provided in high volume facilities, which focus on minimally invasive, time saving techniques, high throughput and simultaneous management of multiple animals under various stages of anesthesia. The aim of this study was to determine perioperative mortality for cats and dogs in a high volume spay-neuter clinic in the USA. Electronic medical records and a written mortality log were used to collect data for 71,557 cats and 42,349 dogs undergoing spay-neuter surgery from 2010 to 2016 at a single high volume clinic in Florida. Perioperative mortality was defined as deaths occurring in the 24h period starting with the administration of the first sedation or anesthetic drugs. Perioperative mortality was reported for 34 cats and four dogs for an overall mortality of 3.3 animals/10,000 surgeries (0.03%). The risk of mortality was more than twice as high for females (0.05%) as for males (0.02%) (P=0.008) and five times as high for cats (0.05%) as for dogs (0.009%) (P=0.0007). High volume spay-neuter surgery was associated with a lower mortality rate than that previously reported in low volume clinics, approaching that achieved in human surgery. This is likely to be due to the young, healthy population of dogs and cats, and the continuous refinement of techniques based on experience and the skills and proficiency of teams that specialize in a limited spectrum of procedures.

Keywords: Canine; Castration; Feline; Ovariohysterectomy; Shelter medicine.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cats*
  • Dogs*
  • Female
  • Hospitals, Animal / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Perioperative Period / mortality
  • Perioperative Period / veterinary*
  • Sex Factors
  • Sterilization, Reproductive / mortality
  • Sterilization, Reproductive / veterinary*