Pepe's close call a reminder on the benefits of desexing

Pepe is an eleven year old, Maltese Shih Tzu cross who recently visited us.  Pepe's owners were concerned that he had been drinking excessive amounts of water, was irritable and noticed he was having trouble getting up and down stairs.  They were even more worried after noticing one of his testicles had begun to swell.

Pepe visited Dr Shanna at Vetwest Beaumaris. She gave Pepe a thorough clinical examination and found a number of concerns including some dental problems and a heart murmur, but of most concern was that one testicle was considerably larger than the other. The most common reason for one enlarged testicle is a tumourous growth within the testicle (seminoma, sertoli cell tumour or an interstitial cell tumour). These types of tumours can be malignant and spread to lymph nodes and organs. They can also produce high levels of oestrogen which may lead to bone marrow suppression, feminisation and changes in behaviour and the coat (hair).
The best option for a testicular tumour is surgical removal. Prior to surgery, Dr Shanna also needed more information in relation to Pepe's overall health. She took a series of radiographs of Pepe's chest looking for any signs that the tumor had spread and blood tests to check his kidney and liver function (vital in providing information on how Pepe's organs will cope with the anaesthetic required for surgery). 

Pepe's owners were very relieved when Pepe's x-ray results came back clear. However, the blood results did show some concerns of his kidney and liver function so extra care was taken with the anaesthetic (especially important because of his heart murmur).  

Pepe coped extremely well with the anaesthetic and during the surgery; both testicles were removed including the scrotal skin just in case the tumour had spread.  Dr Shanna also took the opportunity to remove some problem teeth as well as clean Pepe's teeth.

Just a week later Pepe's owners are delighted with his progress. He is able to move up and down the stairs with ease, again, is no longer irritable and a lot happier.


Desexing  - exposing the myths!

If you do not intend to breed, surgical desexing has undoubted advantages both in the male and the female. In the male dog it removes the sexual urge so that if a dog gets the scent of a bitch in oestrus he is unlikely to show any interest. It also reduces the likelihood of prostate problems, perineal hernias and testicular cancer.

It is a common misconception that a desexed dog will become fat and lazy. By removing organs that produce hormones your pet's metabolism may slow down, however it is overfeeding that will make your pet fat. 

Another common myth is that a desexed dog can lose character. Admittedly desexing is often carried out, both in dogs and bitches, for certain behavioural problems and often dogs will become more gentle but they lose neither their spirit nor their intelligence.

Learn about sterilisation (desexing), the operation  and more here


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