, ,

A recent post on one of my dog forums mentioned a list of things a vet recommended for a standard neuter:

  • general blood panel no more than 2 days before the operation
  • pre-surgery relaxation meds
  • pre-surgery IV injection to induce sleepiness
  • oxygen and isoflurane gas to keep him asleep throughout surgery
  • a Doppler monitor to keep track of blood pressure and heart during surgery
  • a post op injection of pain relief

Now, I’ve only gotten a dog neutered once in the Western world, and that was before I was old enough to care… but it didn’t strike me as anywhere near this intensive!

Given all the information that the average pet owner can now access regarding long-term health considerations with spaying and neutering, we might have done things differently for Bowdu. But at any rate, this is how it happened:

Bowdu was neutered at about 7 months old, when we were still living in Taiwan. I had gone back to the US for a 2-week vacation, leaving the Doggy Daddy to watch the puppy. During the second week of my absence, he had news for me: Bowdu’s balls had dropped, “BIG TIME” he said, and it was making a huge difference in their relationship. I figured he was exaggerating, and the behavioral changes he noted had more to do with being without my balancing, feminine influence (ah, the girlfriend’s conceit). But when I returned, it was truly a shock to see those swollen purple things mounted to Bowdu’s back end — an alien pair that seemed to pulse with a life of their own.

And boy, did he act like he knew they were there!

Photo taken 22 August 2005, right before we brought him in.

So we made an appointment and took him down to our neighborhood vet. Doctor Hsu was a one-man operation, and as old school as they came, having been in the field long enough to claim he’d been a vet before the very concept of a specialized pet doctor had even become commonplace in Taiwan. The spay/neuter procedure was one of the most basic services he could render, and he went about it entirely as a matter of routine business — which indeed it was, as the city had an ongoing campaign to compensate vets 1600NT (about $50 USD) for every spay or neuter they performed. We paid 1800NT on our end (less than $60 USD). Dr. Hsu earned a nice sum for his work, and we got what we paid for.

First, the doctor weighed Bowdu then injected him with the appropriate amount of anesthesia. It hit Bowdu hard, and he was out within minutes. The operation began right there and then. He flipped Bowdu onto his back, pulled his legs apart, and tied them in place with a little bit of hemp rope. He still needed the Doggy Daddy’s assistance to help keep Bowdu’s legs splayed. So he got front and center seats to the performance, while I was too squeamish to watch.

We were in and out within an hour. The Doggy Daddy carried Bowdu home in his arms, while he was still completely knocked out, tongue lolling out of his mouth. As we walked home, we passed a group of men who poked fun at the tall white man “babying” his dog. Wow, look, that dog is so spoiled they joked, probably playing up the stereotype that foreigners coddle their pets to unnatural extremes. I explained that Bowdu just got neutered and they all stopped laughing and cringed, visibly.

Bowdu after neutering

We slipped on his E-collar while he was still unconscious. He must have awoken in pain, slightly confused, and completely disoriented from within the cone, as he just laid still and stared groggily into space while he slowly regained consciousness. What finally caused him to stir, a couple hours later, was the arrival of Miss Liu, the Doggy Daddy’s language tutor, and one of Bowdu’s favorite houseguests. He attempted to leap off the couch to greet her as usual, but crashed instead in an uncoordinated heap on the floor.

Bowdu after neutering

That first day must have been the worst of it. He slept on the floor next to the human bed that night. He vomited a bit in the morning, probably some residual nausea from the anesthesia or the procedure itself. Within 3 days, he seemed completely recovered. The cone came off and the stitches came out about a week later.

And that’s how Bowdu was forever changed.