The word "surgery" often causes palms to sweat, but I'm here to tell you that even if its just you, getting your pet neutered or spayed is NBD!
There are a lot of opinions about neutering and spaying. I personally see the importance of it, but this post isn't about my opinion on neutering. I'm not going to delve into the benefits of neutering or spaying your pet. That information is very easily available and the only thought on the subject I will share is this - regardless of where you stand regarding getting your pet fixed, it’s important to educate yourself on the pros and cons of BOTH sides. This post aims to help soothe that irrational fear that pops up at the word "surgery".
Sterling is my family, my roommate, best friend and personal cuddle monster. So when the time came to get him neutered, although I was prepared and knew why I wanted to get it done, I still had tonnes of worries. When Sterling was around 7 months old, I took him to his vet to get the process started. Because he was small for his age, the doctor recommended we wait 6 more months to let Sterling grow some more. Six months flew by, and then another six... I was hesitant. Digging deeper I realised that the main reason that I was nervous about getting his neuter done was because I was worried about all the little risks that come with surgery.
Would he be in pain? Would the procedure be safe? I'd heard some horrifying stories about animals that die on the table and about post-op infections that made me hesitant. I was also nervous about handling it all alone. Bringing a heavy and drugged Sterling home and carrying him up the stairs seemed like a daunting task. What if I handled his care poorly, or he licked at his stitches too much while I was asleep or otherwise preoccupied? In a nutshell, my worry was doing this alone and if Sterling would be okay through it all.
I spoke to the vet about my worries, and I did A LOT of research. And decided to just go for it (Sterling's humping behaviour may also have played a role)! The horny little thing had made a girlfriend out of one of my couch cushions. Finally making the call, Sterling's vet assured me that the whole thing would be fine and I could even watch the process. To be allowed to be by his side the whole time helped calm my nerves immensely. So I got his blood tested (a necessary pre-op procedure to determine anaesthesia dosage and ensure there are no underlying problems that would make surgery risky) and set up his appointment when he got the all-clear.
After 12 hours of no food for either of us, necessary for Sterling and anxiety to blame for me... we drove out to the hospital. He got so much attention; I don't think he had a single idea that he was never going to see his balls again. Once he was sedated, passed out, and on the table, I was allowed to come into the operation theatre and watch. The whole thing lasted maybe 20 minutes and while watching Sterling in such a vulnerable position was hard, I also knew he was okay. His little sighs, while he was asleep, assured me that he couldn’t feel a thing. And before I knew it, the procedure was done. Because I was alone, I had to wait for some time for him to wake up. He was still incredibly woozy when he did wake up but he managed to stumble to and into the car. Meanwhile, I was still reeling from having to give the poor boy up to 10 pills a day for four days to help him heal and stay pain-free.
The next few days all Sterling did was sleep and lie around. The pain pills made him drowsy, and I only had to distract him from his stitches a handful of the time. He was too out of it for any of my previous concerns to be valid. By the time his dosage of post-op medication was done, he was almost entirely healed.
Looking back, a lot of my fear and anxiety revolved around the "what if's" of surgery. I hope this post helps ease any fears holding you back from neutering your pet and helps you make the decision. Make sure you like your vet, the right vet can make all the difference in helping you understand your pet’s needs and fulfilling them. And more importantly, with a good vet, no question is stupid and all concerns are well-understood.
So if the only thing holding you back is the worry associated with surgery... Both Sterling and I assure you, it’s no big deal!