(OOPHORECTOMY OR OVARIOTOMY) By the term"spaying"is meant the un sexing of the female animal by the removal of the ovaries.
This may be done when the ovaries are healthy, m order to prevent the troublesome characteristics exhibited by the female when in cestrum, in which case the operation is technic ally known as"0Ophorectomy,"or it may be done when the ovaries are diseased, being then termed"Ovariotomy." The term"Hysterectomy"indicates the removal of the uterus alone, and"Ovaro hysterectomy"the excision of the ovaries and uterus; whilst"Hysterotomy"or"Caesarean section"indicates the removal of the feetus or fcetuses from the uterus by incision into this organ, the wound being sewn up, and the uterus being preserved afterwards.
"Spaying"is practised upon all the domes ticated animals. The mare is operated upon when troublesome or vicious, the cow for milk and meat utility, the pig for fattening purposes, and the bitch and cat when they become a nuisance to the owner from continually having young ones. Even the female ostrich and the common fowl do not escape, but are operated on frequently in this way.
The ovaries alone may be removed, but more often than not, in the smaller animals, the whole uterus is removed as well as the ovaries, and the results show that this is an excellent practice to adopt. The ovaries of the mare and the milking cow are removed per vaginam, but in the smaller animals the flank or the linea alba is the best site to select.
The operation itself is one which calls for the strictest antiseptic precautions in regard to everything concerned. The instruments must he carefully sterilized, the hands of the operator thoroughly cleansed, and the parts to be operated upon made aseptic before the opera tion commences.
The pig is the only animal in which a little laxity in this respect does not seem to cause any large proportion of had results, but even in this animal strict attention to surgical cleanli ness pays in the long run, and is always a pre caution to be adopted by the professional man.
Ovariotomy of the Mare.This operation is a most valuable one for mares in continual cestrum, especially if they are vicious kickers or squealers from this cause. It is one which gives success in a large proportion of cases, especially in those taken at the commencement of the vicious habits. The failures are usually to be found in aged mares, or those in whom kicking has become a confirmed habit. Removal of the ovaries when healthy (Oophorectomy) is some times practised in racing mares in order that when put in training they can be relied upon to keep in better condition during the summer, and not to"hug"another horse during a race. It makes them more even-tempered. In some cases of disease of the ovary or ovaries only one organ may be affected, and the removal of this is done as a curative measure. This has been done in mares where the pain and irritation caused inability to breed a foal, the result of the removal of the diseased ovary being that the other resumed its normal function, and a foal was afterwards born,' As a rule, in troublesome mares, the ovaries are diseased—sometimes cystic and enlarged, sometimes smaller than normal and cirrhotic.
Operation. This can be done either with the patient standing or cast. In the former chloral is used as the anmsthetic, and the animal, if possible, placed in stocks. When cast, chloro form anaesthesia is used. No special method of securing is necessary other than that used for ordinary chloroform cases.
The usual precautions are taken for the sterilization of the instruments and the hands of the operator. The vagina is thoroughly irri gated with antiseptic solution, and the operator cleanses his hands.
The mare has been previously dieted for three or four days and kept without food at all for the previous twenty-four hours.
If an enema is used or catheterization is practised, this should be done an hour before hand, and the tail and vulva thoroughly washed with soap and disinfectant water. Very often, however, owing to the temper of the mare, this is impossible until she has been cast and secured.
The side upon which she is thrown depends upon the convenience of the operator. After emptying the vagina of any disinfectant solu tion which may be present, the operator intro duces Colin's knife, concealed in his hand, and punctures the wall of the vagina just above the mouth of the uterus. Some operators prefer to puncture the vagina below the os uteri, but the intestine is not so likely to come through the incision made above the os uteri as when made below.
Having made the incision the operator withdraws the knife, inserts the middle finger into the wound, and proceeds to enlarge it sufficiently to admit the whole hand. It is an easy matter then to trace along the body and horns of the uterus until one comes to each ovary in turn. The latter are removed, one at a time, with the special ecraseur, care being taken that no intestine or other of the internal organs shall be included.
After both have been removed the vagina is swabbed out with antiseptic gauze or wool, and the patient allowed to get up.
As a rule no further treatment whatever is needed for the wound, but the patient is kept quiet for three or four days and fed sparingly and with food of a laxative nature. The latter is necessary as, if constipation occurs, consider able soreness and stiffness may be shown.
As a rule the animal is back at work again in about three weeks.
In young mares, in which the vagina is too 1 Castration and Ovariotomy (Hobday), p. 113. Published by W. & A. K. Johnston, Ltd., Edinburgh.
small to allow of the passage of the hand, the operation is performed through the flank. This is largely done on certain of the large ranches in America—no anaesthetic being used—the mare simply being cast and secured with ropes until the operation is finished. The left flank is shaved and disinfected, and an incision made between the last rib and the angle of the haunch just sufficiently large to admit the hand. The ovaries are found and removed with an ecraseur. The wound is sutured, the animal is unfastened and allowed to return to the prairie (if on a ranch), or placed in a comfortable loose- box (if in England).
After-treatment is the usual antiseptic one for a flesh wound, care being taken that the dietary is laxative and sparing for about a week. As soon as the flank wound has healed satis factorily, the animal may return to work.
Untoward Sequelce. —The main untoward sequelee are those of protrusion of the intestine, eversion of the rectum, hwmorrhage, colic, peritonitis, and the formation of an abscess in the vagina. None of these is common when the operation is done under antiseptic surgical precautions, and if any of them should occur they must be treated in the usual way.
Remarks. The results of this operation, except in cases where the animals are old, or have been vicious for some considerable time, are most excellent; the operation having much the same effect on the mare as castration has on the stallion.
Ovariotomy of Cattle.This operation is per formed upon cattle either with a view to in creasing the milk supply or of inducing them to fatten quicker. In dairy herds, especially in Switzerland, the operation is very extensively practised on cows about eight or nine years old, when they are nearing the age at which their dairy utility is diminishing, and it is a remark able fact that the milk supply is thereby in creased in quantity and enriched in quality, whilst the period of lactation is extended to an average of about eighteen months, and some have been known to give a paying quantity of milk even for three or four years. Old cows,
too, which have been"spayed"fatten quicker, and the flesh becomes more tender, resembling"steer"beef, rather than the flesh of an old cow. Calves and heifers are still"spayed"in some counties of England, although it is on the big ranches of America that the operation has been brought to a fine art. Where thousands of cattle are reared for beef-producing purposes it is an operation which pays well, as the animals herd more kindly together and put on flesh more quickly. Heifers and calves are spayed through the left flank, the milking cattle being spayed per vaginam, and it is not usual for a general anaesthetic to be used in either instance, the animal being operated upon in the standing posture, and the parts to be incised anzesthetized with cocaine.
The Flank Incision in Ovariotomy of Cattle. In heifers and adult cattle destined for the flank method the animal is tied up and"bulldogs"placed on the nose, an assistant holding her by these and the horns. Another assistant takes hold of the tail and presses the cow against the side of the byre or wall, whilst the operator shaves the hair, injects the cocaine, paints with iodine, and makes an incision in the upper part of the left flank.
With the hand he seeks the ovaries and, when found, removes them with an ocraseur.
The wound is then sutured closely with boiled silk, dressed each day with iodine, the stitches being removed a week later.
On ranches, and where large numbers are done, no further notice is taken of the wound.
Calves are thrown on the side and secured by a rope in the usual way.
For dairy cows the vaginal method is prefer able, and there is always plenty of room in which to work after a cow has had several calves. The mode of operation is as follows: The tail and genitals are washed and syringed with antiseptic solution, and the interior of the vagina swabbed out with sterilized wool.
Solution of cocaine on cotton-wool is applied to the vagina at the site of incision, immediately above the os uteri, and this is then punctured with a Colin's knife; care being taken not to injure the aorta or any of the internal organs of the abdomen.
The opening is then enlarged sufficiently to admit the middle and forefingers, which are passed through in order to seek for the ovaries.
As a rule these can be withdrawn without inserting the whole hand. With the left hand the operator passes the ecraseur into the vagina, using his right arm as a guide. The ovaries are guided into the chain loop, being pinched off slowly one by one. As a rule, beyond giving less milk for three or four days, the cow takes no notice of the operation, but there is the risk of peritonitis and internal hemorrhage to be thought of, and the author has seen death from each as a sequel.
Results. The average monthly supply of milk becomes greater, and the duration of lactation is prolonged for an average of twenty to twenty-four months, besides which the milk supply is more constant, as the troublesome periods of cestrum are done away with; or, if they occur at all, they are very short in dura tion. The milk has been proved by analysis to be richer in butter fat, and when the cow"dries off"she is sufficiently fat to be almost ready for the butcher.
The actual yield of meat is said to be increased about 6 per cent.
Ovariotomy of the Bitch and Cat.The con tinual nuisance of a female cat or a bitch about a house is the reason for the unsexing of these animals. It is not in every case a success as regards the cessation of cestrum, but this is generally the sequel, especially if the animal is operated upon before cestrum has taken place. At any rate pregnancy is an impossibility.
Morphia is a sufficient anesthetic for the bitch, although chloroform can be used if desired, and for the cat either chloroform or ether.
The ovaries can be reached either through the flank or the linea alba, and the preparation of the site of incision is made in the usual anti septic way. For the cat, owing to the crouch ing or sitting attitude assumed afterwards when resting in a cage, undoubtedly the flank situa tion is the best; but whichever is selected, provided the strictest precautions have been adopted as regards antiseptics, the wound will usually heal per primam.
As regards the question of the removal of the ovaries and uterus together or the removal of the ovaries alone, the latter is undoubtedly preferable, except in the case of an animal whose uterus is enlarged. The incision having been made, the operator inserts the middle fmger and seeks for one of the uterine horns, which feels like a piece of thick string. This is withdrawn, or merely scraped at discretion before removal, and the other side traced up in the same way—both being removed through the one incision.
The wound is then sutured with sterile gut for the interior, and silkworm-gut or silk for the skin. The animal is kept quiet for a week or ten days. As a rule the patient takes no notice of the operation. The sutures are removed in five or six days, the diet being restricted during this period. The dangers to be feared are those of peritonitis, haemorrhage, and escape of the omentum or bowel through the sutures giving way.
Ovariotomy of the Monkey.For this, chloro form or A.C.E. mixture is used as the anaes thetic, the ovaries being reached through the median line.
The principles to be adopted are the same as for the bitch and cat. It is not usual to remove the uterus, the ovaries only being taken away.
Ovariotomy of the Pig.Thousands of female pigs are operated upon every year in order to increase their fat-forming properties, and as the fee for each operation only amounts to a few pence, it is usually done by the country gelder, who becomes so expert that he will do it from start to finish in an average of about thirty seconds.
It is usually done when the"gilt"is from six weeks to three months old,' the operator holding the animal by the left hind leg and placing his foot on the neck, slightly raising the hind quarters off the ground. Then stoop ing over the patient, he deftly makes an incision in the left flank, inserts his middle or fore finger into the abdomen and extracts the uterine horns, which are then excised. A cross suture (usually of string or thread) draws the wound together and the pig is allowed to get on her legs and escape. No after-treatment is em ployed, the sutures being rubbed out or falling out in the course of about ten days.
Adult sows are operated upon through the left flank, generally without an armsthetic, the squealing animal being secured between two posts by the aid of one noose on the upper jaw and another on the hind legs.
Ovariotomy of the Sheep and She - goat. Sheep and goats are not"spayed"to any appreciable extent in England, but in some countries it is done; in the former case to increase the fattening properties, and in the case of the goat to increase the milk-producing power. The operation is performed in the left flank in much the same position and manner as with the adult sow.