A Vet Confesses: I Delayed Spaying My Dog — and the Reason May Surprise You

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This meant I’d be working in Violet’s belly for at least 20 minutes. Not my least stressful workday activity, I assure you—even when it’s not my own dog. Plus, this day I had a supplier watching me perform the surgery.

What’s more, I’d taken this opportunity to try a new stitching technique for tacking the stomach (which was much easier than my past approach) and a new, pain-relieving premedication protocol (because when it’s my pet on the line, I am willing to take on a new challenge I'd be unwilling to apply to someone else's pet).

Not that any of this helped my state of mind. Though I’m a confident surgeon (20 years of practice will do that for you), I can’t help but allow unbidden irrational thoughts get in the way of my serenity. Not when it comes to the pets I call family.

After a great deal of sweating the details with shaky hands, the procedure was over. When I gratefully peeled off my cap, mask and surgical gown, I knew things had gone as well as could be expected, in spite of the nerves, my visitor and the coffee I’d forgotten to skip that morning.

Violet recovered uneventfully. Though she did remain loopy for much longer than I would have liked (turns out the new preop pain protocol isn’t for everyone), the rest went better than expected. Despite her ridiculous activity level and no cone of shame (I know, I know), five days later she’s healing perfectly.

Famous last words? I hope not. It would be just like a veterinarian to misjudge her own pet’s ability to keep away from an incision. As they say, “Do as I say, not as I do.” But given that my own pets get the best care I can manage, at least they can’t say that the cobbler's son has no shoes.

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