Objective: To determine short-term results and complications of prepubertal gonadectomy in cats and dogs.
Design: Prospective randomized study.
Animals: 775 cats and 1,213 dogs.
Procedure: Animals undergoing gonadectomy were allotted into 3 groups on the basis of estimated age (group 1, < 12 weeks old; group 2, 12 to 23 weeks old; group 3, > or = 24 weeks old). Complications during anesthesia, surgery, and the immediate postoperative period (7 days) were recorded. Complications were classified as major (required treatment and resulted in an increase in morbidity or mortality) or minor (required little or no treatment and caused a minimal increase in morbidity). An ANOVA was used to detect differences among groups in age, weight, body temperature, and duration of surgery. To detect differences in complication rates among groups, chi 2 analysis was used.
Results: Group 1 consisted of 723 animals, group 2 consisted of 532, and group 3 consisted of 733. Group-3 animals had a significantly higher overall complication rate (10.8%) than group-1 animals (6.5%), but did not differ from group-2 animals (8.8%). Differences were not detected among the 3 groups regarding major complications (2.9, 3.2, and 3.0% for groups 1, 2, and 3, respectively), but group-3 animals had significantly more minor complications (7.8%) than group-1 animals (3.6%), but not group-2 animals (5.6%).
Clinical implications: In this study, prepubertal gonadectomy did not increase morbidity or mortality on a short-term basis, compared with gonadectomy performed on animals at the traditional age. These procedures may be performed safely in prepubertal animals, provided that appropriate attention is given to anesthetic and surgical techniques.