Thursday, July 4, 2013

Photo Essay: Spay of a Female Dog in Mexico #TBSU

This post is a little off the beaten track for my blog, but I'm immersed in a spay/neuter campaign at the moment! If you've ever wondered what happens when a female dog is spayed, here's your chance to watch it all. We are at a FREE week-long government sponsored spay/neuter campaign in Colima, Mexico. We'll follow the beautiful golden retriever Kenya from arrival to recovery.

Kenya has been tranquilized, shaved for surgery, and at the last minute, anesthetized. Her two slightly nervous owners are on the right. The vet students who prep the animals are on the left.

Kenya's tongue is protected from accidental bites by a piece of plastic, actually the snipped end of a syringe cap.

She's on the table, and the veterinarian, Enrique Benitez, is putting on sterile gloves. Enrique is a master surgeon. Watching him work is like watching a well-choreographed ballet.

The incision is tiny, maybe an inch and a half.

Here's the first ovary.

Internal ligatures are made with plastic cable ties, snipped short.

The second ovary. The bits at the back are fat. Kenya gets a mini-liposuction!

Total concentration.

The uterus. Enrique will pull the plastic tie tight and slice above it.

Uterus and ovaries. Bye bye!

It takes three levels of sutures to close Kenya back up. The innermost level is the peritoneum and muscles. Enrique will put several sutures at each level.

The next level of sutures is through the fat.

The top level of sutures is through the skin, and these are invisible. No need to go back to get the stitches removed. Doesn't she look fantastic? Like I said, Enrique is a really gifted vet!

Kenya's owner celebrating with and congratulating Enrique! A beautiful success! Kenya is still sound asleep. The surgery only took a few minutes.

So now you know. You've just watched a skilled vet perform a spay with good anesthesia, but everything else pretty basic! We're outdoors, trying to stay cool in the shade under a tree.

Even though this post is in English and everyone in the photos speaks only Spanish, I want to take this opportunity to thank all the responsible pet owners both here in Mexico and around the world! Spaying or neutering your four-legged family member is the best gift you can give them, yourselves, and all the rest of us!

I'll be posting soon about how you can contribute to our efforts to spay/neuter, vaccinate, and control parasites here in Mexico. The Colima city government is an excellent partner in sponsoring four free spay/neuter clinics a year. Every animal adopted from Animal Control is also spay/neutered for free in the main office all year.

But even here, everyone in the campaign except the two government vets are unpaid volunteers, and many of the supplies are donated. It only costs about $20 US to spay, and even less to neuter, a cat or dog. Start saving your spare change, and next go round we'll be asking for your help! If you'd like to participate directly, I have two comfy guest rooms. Come on down!

I'll be happy to translate your comments and get answers to your questions for Enrique. Please join us for a lively discussion in the comments!

Check out these related posts for more information on spay/neuter campaigns and other animal rescue activities in Colima:


  1. The idea of open-air spay/neuter surgeries boggles my mind. As long as everyone made it all right--it's all good.

    In my younger days I was a veterinary anesthetist and surgical assistant. It was one of my very favorite jobs.

    1. Hi Maria,

      Sorry for the delay in responding. The first time I saw the open air surgeries, I freaked out. But you're right, everybody was fine, and I've gotten used to it. We monitor the animals closely post-surgery (that's my job), and everything works out fine. The vets check the animals first, and any with issues have to go to a veterinary hospital. The trouble is, that costs a lot, and most of our clients have NO money. Free is the only right price. From this one week, we probably prevented about 3000 potentially unwanted kittens and puppies.

      I'm so glad we two animal lovers have connected. I love reading about all your adventures! Your blog is awesome.