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Should I desex my pug after a previous bad experience with desexing operation?

Hi Bondi Vet! I am trying to do as much research as possible about desexing pugs. Last year I lost my female pug puppy Pepper, she passed away at the vet whilst getting desexed. It was one of the hardest things I have had to go through. These little puppies rely on you and I really felt like I had let her down. The vet could not explain what went wrong but that little Pepper's heart stopped whilst she was in recovery. She also mentioned that she had been left alone. It broke my heart... I have since then gotten another pug puppy, a little boy named Oreo. I am so worried about getting him desexed, it makes me so anxious and worried. What are your thoughts on it? Do you believe that desexing him is the right thing to do? Is the operation a lot more complicated for dogs with flat faces? He is 7 months old so I understand I need to start thinking about it. Your advise would be much appreciated. Thanks Vanessa.


1 Answer


Hi Vanessa,

I am so sorry to hear about little Pepper and I can completely understand your concern regarding Oreo’s surgery. As you mentioned, with Oreo now being 7 months of age he will start to display signs of increasing testosterone levels and for this reason de-sexing or castration surgery is recommended from 6 months of age.

Pugs are classified as brachycephalic dogs, this gives them their characteristic human like face but unfortunately can also come with many health issues. Problems associated with a brachycephalic face include an elongated soft palate, stenotic nares (small nostrils) and macroblepharon (over sized eyelid openings). Pugs snore and snort because of their abnormal airways and this is why they can struggle on hot days. Anaesthetising a brachycephalic dog does involve some additional risk but this is usually during recovery and can be minimised. Pugs actually breath better under general anaesthetic with a tube opening up their normally narrow airways! A castration surgery is far quicker than an ovariohysterectomy or spey surgery performed on female dogs so Oreo will not need to be under general anaesthetic for long. Once the surgery is completed the anaesthetic gas will be turned off and he will be allowed to just breath oxygen through the tube until he wakes up. At this point the tube will be removed. Close monitoring can help avoid any recovery issues particularly with pugs. An anaesthetic death is highly uncommon and very painful for everyone involved. Sometimes, all precautions are taken and an animal (or even human) can still have complications under general anaesthetic. This could be due to an usual anatomical abnormality that they were born with or even a reaction to the drugs used – all of which are very difficult to predict or prevent and again very unusual.

I would recommend discussing your concerns with your veterinarian and asking them how they can reduce any risk for Oreo’s surgery. A pre-anaesthetic blood test may be recommended as well as a full physical examination to ensure that Oreo’s health is optimal prior to the anaesthetic. Lastly, I know how you feel, I am always worried about my own dogs when they go under anaesthetic but all pets will require a GA at some point in their lives and the benefits of castration surgery far out weigh the risks.

Best of luck!


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