Spay Tattoos Are In The News

Tattoos have been in the news at lately.

A reader wrote in to complain that the doctor she took her female dog to for ovariohysterectomy surgery didn’t offer her the option to decline a tattoo indicating her dog had had surgery. Marie’s description: “A black crossed out female sign is revolting imagery. Who even thought of that symbol?”

I wish we had a photo.

If you consider that to be over the top, consider this: Verna came to us, having had spay surgery at a shelter in a nearby town. Well, not exactly spay surgery. As it turns out, she had already been spayed. However, the surgeon didn’t know that until he was inside her abdomen and found no reproductive organs. This is the exact reason we recommend tattoos indicating prior surgery.

But, wait, there’s more!

Verna came back a couple of weeks later for suture removal. We rolled her onto her back, gave her a tummy rub, and, in the process, noticed something inside the middle of her left rear leg. A tattoo. A green “S.” Presumably, it stood for “spay,” but it was so far from the abdominal incision site that not only did the surgeon and his prep assistant miss it, we didn’t see it on our initial examination, either.

There was no reason for Verna to have had surgery twice.
WAY over here on her left rear leg was an “S,” presumably standing for “Spayed.” Spay tattoos should be positioned very near the surgical incision, clearly indicating that the patient has already had spay/neuter surgery.

But, wait, that’s not all!

While removing stitches, I noticed a faint, green color in a small area of the skin. There was another tattoo, we assume placed by the second surgeon or his staff, but it was so short and so faint that it, too, was barely noticeable.

Verna, our wish for you is to never have unnecessary surgery again!
Apparently, the facility where Verna was explored applied this tattoo, which is still so far from the incision site and so small that we didn’t see it on her initial physical examination. We will fix that on her next anesthesia.

Verna will soon be having dental care under anesthesia, and we will be placing a proper tattoo so that she will never have to undergo unnecessary abdominal intervention again.

Verna’s new owners have already approved it.

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