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Vasectomy

ISSN 2398-2985


Synonym(s): Deferentectomy

Introduction

  • Ferrets are seasonally induced ovulators remaining in estrus until they are mated or for as long as daylight lasts longer than 12 h. Hyperestrogenism results in anemia, which can be fatal Prolonged estrus.
  • A vasectomy is a surgical option for functional neutering of hobs, which can then be used to mate jills and bring them out of season through sterile mating.
  • The optimum time for vasectomy is the beginning of the breeding season (March to August). This is when testicular size increases and subcutaneous fat deposit decreases making it easier to visualize anatomical structures.
Print off the Owner factsheets on Caring for your ferret before and after surgery and Neutering - why and when? to give to your clients.

Uses

Advantages

Disadvantages

  • Requires surgical intervention carrying a risk of anesthesia, hemorrhage, infection, and wound breakdown.
  • Ideally requires an experienced surgeon to ensure enough of the spermatic duct is removed.
  • The mating process often carries a risk of fur loss and bites in the scruff of the female, which can be an issue in show animals.
  • In bigger groups of animals, males can exhibit aggression towards each other as they compete for the female in season.
  • The vasectomized hobs should not be used for 7 weeks after surgery to allow for spermatic semen degeneration.
  • Vasectomizing does not affect testosterone levels and males will retain their musky smell.

Technical problems

  • May be difficult to perform in overweight animals.
  • Requires good anatomical knowledge.
  • Can be challenging due to the size of patient.

Alternative techniques

  • GnRH deslorelin implant Deslorelin: requires repeat implanting every 12-48 months.
  • Proligestone at 50 mg/animal SC for females in estrus, also known as the ‘jill jab’ (In the UK: Delvosteron, MSD Animal Health).
Following the change of licensing, the commercially available, licensed product needs to be discarded immediately post use increasing the price of injections.
  • Surgical neutering of females Ovariohysterectomy: carries a risk of hyperadrenocorticism development later in life.

Time required

Preparation

  • Standard 5 min surgical scrub is required.

Procedure

  • 20 min.

Decision taking

Criteria for choosing test

  • Cheaper alternative to hormonal implants which require regular upkeep.
  • If one hob is kept with a group of females, it requires surgery on only one animal to control the population and prevent hyperestrogenism.

Risk assessment

  • Risk of anesthesia, hemorrhage, infection, and wound breakdown should all be discussed with the owner pre-operatively.
  • Risk of procedure failing, and unwanted pregnancies need to be highlighted to the owner and full consent obtained.
  • Hobs can sometimes fail at sterile mating and other intervention may be needed to bring females out of estrus.

Requirements

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Preparation

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Technique

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Aftercare

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Outcomes

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed Papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Baldrey V & Panto B (2017) How to perform a vasectomy in a domestic ferret (Mustela putorius furo). Comp Anim 22 (4), 233-237 VetMedResource.
  • Lloyd M (2002) Veterinary care of ferrets: 1. Clinical examination and routine procedures. In Pract 24 (2), 95 VetMedResource.

Other sources of information

  • Hedley J (2020) Ed BSAVA Small Animal Formulary. Part B: Exotic Pets. 10th edn. BSAVA, UK.
  • Capello V (2009) Ferrets: Common Surgical Procedures In: BSAVA Manual of Rodents and Ferrets. Eds: Keeble E & Meredith A. BSAVA, UK. pp 257.