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Does your healthy pet need an antibiotic before their neuter?

All fur coat and no knickers - Is your veterinary practice as clean as you think it is?

From the outside everything about your veterinary practice, to you, looks lovely and clean…but if everything is so clean, why then are some practices pumping your poor pets full of unnecessary antibiotics with potential side effects when they are being neutered (also known as: spay, castrate, getting them dressed – take your pick!)

Did you even know that they were?

Does your healthy pet need an antibiotic before their neuter?

This is easy – NO! Neutering operations are what we call CLEAN surgeries.

That means as long as everything is prepared meticulously, that the practice is confident in their cleaning, hygiene and surgical protocols and that the patient has no underlying health problems, then we don’t need to use any antibiotics. That means less drugs for your pets - isn’t that great? And, less chance of creating antibiotic resistance and nasty superbugs.

So why then would some practices still use them before spays or castrations in young, healthy patients?

Old habits die hard

I don’t have the definitive answer.

My belief is that maybe they still use antibiotics before your pets’ neuter because they cling on to an unsupported belief that a shot of antibiotics under the skin will stop infection happening (in actual fact an injection under the skin makes it difficult to predict when concentrations in the tissues are at the right level to be effective. They need to be given straight into the vein to be confident they reach the right concentrations at the time of surgery – but remember, even then we still don’t need them in healthy patients in for a neutering operation).

Maybe they don’t want to spend the time and effort changing and developing meticulous and effective hygiene, cleaning and surgical protocols in order to kiss goodbye to antibiotic use for these elective procedures.

Maybe they think ‘better safe than sorry’ (wrong, wrong, wrong – have you heard of MRSA!)

Or worse still, maybe they are using them because they aren’t confident in their cleaning and hygiene protocols. This is scary stuff.

Why do Vets4Pets Dunfermline not use antibiotics for neutering operations?

Because we have very high standards. Because we don’t want to give your pets unnecessary drugs and because we don’t want to contribute to more MRSA like superbugs. Instead of antibiotics this is what we do:

  • Meticulous preparation of the patient (clipping the fur and cleansing the skin in a separate area to where the surgery will be performed)
  • Having a separate sterile, modern surgical theatre
  • Rotating the use of disinfectants
  • Proper sterilisation of surgical equipment
  • Providing hats, masks, sterile gloves and gowns for the surgeon as necessary

This all takes a lot of time, a lot of effort and yes, it costs money. But we believe the time, effort and expense is worth it.

“In a gentle way, you can shake the world.”
Mahatma Ghandi

Change takes effort. But with a little effort big changes can be made.

Superbugs are becoming a real problem. As vets we have a responsibility to use antibiotics appropriately – as owners we know you want to make the right choices.

There’s a time and a place for antibiotics – routine neutering in a healthy patient is not one of them. And let’s be clear on this, antibiotics should NOT be used as a mask for inadequate clinical standards.

If it was me, I’d take my furry friend to the vets that were so confident in their practices, protocols, and surgical techniques that they deemed it unnecessary to reach for the antibiotic injection for your healthy pet when you book them in for their spay or castration.

If they do I’d be left wondering what cracks these antibiotics might be being used to cover up.

Okay rant over, now where’s those marigolds…