Lapis ISSN 2398-2969

Ovariohysterectomy

Contributor(s): Brendan Carmel, Bairbre O'Malley, Sharon Redrobe, David Perpinan

Introduction

Uses

  • For the treatment and prevention of uterine pathology, eg adenocarcinoma Uterine adenocarcinoma, aneurysm, pyometra Pyometra, hydrometra , torsion, etc, and behavioral problems (aggression Aggression: female, sexual behavior, territorial marking Scent marking and spraying).
  • Less commonly, for the treatment of unwanted pregnancy, pseudopregnancy Pseudopregnancy and ovarian neoplasia.
  • Prophylactic ovariohysterectomy is usually performed between the ages of 5 months and 2 years (ideally between 5-8 months).

Print off the Owner factsheets Neutering - why and when and Caring for your rabbit before and after surgery to give to your clients.

Advantages

  • Permanent prevention of breeding.
  • Prevention of uterine conditions.
  • Facilitates bonding.

Disadvantages

  • Technically more difficult in obese or even moderately fat rabbits as the uterine and ovarian vessels are hidden within the fatty mesometrium and within the mesovarium, respectively. Rabbit does are better spayed before one year of age in order to avoid large amounts of fat in the mesometrium.
  • The uterus becomes engorged in the pregnant or pseudopregnant female, making the associated blood vessels more friable for handling or suturing.
  • The ovarian pedicle is friable and easily torn.
  • Electro- or radio-cautery greatly assists the surgeon in achieving hemostasis of these vessels.
  • Metal vascular clips reduce the risk of laceration and can considerably reduce the surgical time required for this procedure.
  • If the uterus is removed caudal to the cervix, the reproductive tract must be sealed securely to prevent urine leakage into the abdomen.
  • Ideally the ureters should be identified to avoid their accidental ligation; this is not usually necessary if most part of the vagina is left in place.
  • Ovariohysterectomy may not alter behavior.
  • Although uterine pathology is common in adult entire females, there is no scientific study assessing lifespan in neutered vs. entire female rabbits. Some breeds, eg New Zealand white New Zealand White, may be more predisposed than others to uterine pathology.

Requirements

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Preparation

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Procedure

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Aftercare

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Outcomes

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Prognosis

  • Fat necrosis and adhesions may produced chronic pain, which may not be noticed by the owner. In some cases this chronic pain will lead to recurrent episodes of gastrointestinal stasis Gastric dilation and stasis, and a surgical procedure may be necessary to resolve the problem; prognosis is fair to good after surgery.
  • In a case of hemorrhage, the prognosis is fair to good if the hemorrhage is controlled before life-threatening anemia has occurred.
  • Problems with ureters or bladder are easily prevented by using a proper surgical technique. In case of post-surgical incontinence, the problem may be controlled, but resolution is not usually possible. Ligation of both ureters is extremely unlikely and will carry a poor prognosis.

Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Richardson V (2012) Urogenital diseases in rabbits. In Pract 34 (10), 554-563.
  • Walter B, Poth T, Bohmer E, Braun J & Matis U (2010) Uterine disorders in 59 rabbits. Vet Rec 166 (8), 230-233 PubMed.
  • Boussarie D (2001) Routine sterilisation techniques in companion rodents and lagomorphs. Eur J Companion Anim Pract XI (1), 61-78.
  • Jenkins J R (2000) Surgical sterilization in small mammals. Spay and castration. Veterinary Clin North Am Exot Anim Pract 3 (3), 617-627 PubMed.
  • Sommerville L M (1998) Treatment of a uterine adenocarcinoma in a domestic rabbit by ovariohysterectomy. Vet Rec 142, 550-551 PubMed.
  • Sebesteny A (1972) A case of torsion of the uterus in a rabbit. Lab Anim 6 (3), 357-358 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Harcourt-Brown F (2013) Neutering. In: BSAVA Manual of Rabbit Surgery, Dentistry and Imaging. Eds: Harcourt-Brown F & Chitty J. pp 138-156.


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