Linda Arndt ~ Canine Nutritional Consultant

Death After Spay-Neuter-Bloat Surgery


There are two issues you need to discuss before doing surgery on your large/giant breed.

1) keeping the dog warm when coming out of the surgery

2) supporting the head and neck during surgery and aftercare.

It is crucial that you make sure you have a meeting ahead of time with the vet and staff that will be doing the surgery and handling the after care of your dog.

In a survey taken of over 385 Great Dane owners/breeders, 30% of them had lost a dog to spay or neuter surgery. There are precautions you MUST take ahead of time, one being not to spay when bitches are in estrus (see above) or if you have a male in a house full of females in season. Wait until they are all out of season and he is no longer stressed.

Yes, they can die in surgery or recovery if they are in the cycle of estrus (season) but they can also expire due to a drop in body temperature causing bleed out.

If they get cold coming out of anesthesia and recovery and their body temp drops it can cause them to bleed to death internally, and they are gone before you even know they are bleeding. This is because on a very large dog, the "mass" of the dog is often greater than the area or body surface of the dog, causing them difficulty in keeping hot or cool.

If after the surgery they carry your dog to recovery and lay them on a cold concrete floor, it can be a death warrant. They MUST keep the dog on a warm floor - with ample bedding under the dog, and keep the dog covered up with a comforter or blanket as well during the recovery process - usually the first 24 hours is the most is the drop in body heat that causes bleedout internally. I mean make them understand THIS IS REQUIRED from you..and you supply the bed and blanket if you have to, and put it in writing and hand it to the vet as you drop off the dog. It's your dog, you pay the bills, be an advocate for your pet.

The second critical issues is for you to tell your vet and staff in writing and verbally"DO NOT ALLOW YOUR DOG'S NECK AND HEAD DANGLE OFF THE OPERATING TABLE DURING SURGERY AND YOU WANT IT SUPPORTED ON EITHER SIDE WITH TOWELS OR A SURGICAL TROUGH". I would ask to talk to the helper that will be carrying the dog back to recovery as well. Make sure every one knows that you want the head and neck of this dog supported at all times, while under anesthesia and during surgery and transport to recovery.

I can't tell you the number of dogs that end up with slip disc's or diagnosed with wobblers syndrome right after surgery. This is because the dogs are limp under anesthesia and then not supported properly during surgery or movement to recovery and it causes misalignment of the spine!!

Either of these problems wobblers or discs..usually means euthanasia, they are not repairable so you must step up to the plate and be the voice for your pet.

Surgery Guidelines - Print out for Vet

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