BACKGROUND: Surgical sterilisation is currently the method of choice for controlling free-roaming dog populations. However, there are significant logistical challenges to neutering large numbers of dogs in low-resource clinics. The aim of this study was to investigate the incidence of short-term surgical complications in a low-resource sterilisation clinic which did not routinely administer post-operative antibiotics. The medical records of all sterilisation surgeries performed in 2015 at the Worldwide Veterinary Service International Training Centre in Tamil Nadu, India were reviewed (group A) to assess immediate surgical complications. All animals in this group were monitored for at least 24 h post-surgery but were not released until assessed by a veterinarian as having uncomplicated wound healing. In the second part of this study from August to December 2015, 200 free-roaming dogs undergoing sterilisation surgery, were monitored for a minimum of 4-days post-surgery to further assess postoperative complications (group B).
RESULTS: Surgery related complications were seen in 5.4% (95%CI, 4.5-6.5%) of the 1998 group A dogs monitored for at least 24 h, and in 7.0% (3.9-11.5%) of the 200 group B dogs monitored for 4 days. Major complications were classed as those requiring an intervention and resulted in increased morbidity or mortality. Major complications were seen in 2.8% (2.1-3.6%) and 1.5% (3.1-4.3%) of group A and B, respectively. Minor complications requiring little or no intervention were recorded for 2.6% (1.9-3.4%) for group A and 5.5% (2.8-9.6%) for group B. There was no evidence for a difference in complication rates between the two groups in a multivariate regression model.
CONCLUSION: This study demonstrated that high volume, low-resource sterilisation of dogs can be performed with a low incidence of surgical complications and low mortality.
- Sterilisation surgery,
- Surgical complications
- Companion animal