SASKATOON – The Saskatchewan SPCA says it is getting reports from across the province of people performing do-it-yourself surgery on their pets.
SPCA manager Kaley Pugh says veterinarians have reported treating dogs “who have suffered from this practice.”
This year she’s seen five reports of dog owners using elastrator bands to neuter their male dogs, a practice usually found on the farm when castrating young bulls.
Pugh says such people may assume the practice is transferable, but it’s not because unlike bulls, dogs can lick and chew the area that’s under pressure, thus inflicting more damage.
She also speculates such people may not want to pay the vet bill to have their dog neutered.
“The photographs I’ve seen are quite shocking,” said Pugh. “Animals with significant wounds and bleeding and rotting tissue still attached to the animal.
“The damage is significant and they did need emergency medical care or they would have likely passed away from their injuries.”
At the Cumberland Veterinary clinic in Saskatoon, Dr. Terri Chotowitz said even with her years of experience neutering animals, even she can’t do the procedure at home.
“There’s no way you can get that (elastrator band) tight enough without causing a lot of discomfort for the dog,” said Chotowitz. “I can only imagine how much chewing and licking and trauma they are doing to that area, trying to get that off. To use an elastrator ring is terrible and it doesn’t make sense on any level.”
She added dog-owners who refuse to pay for a proper neutering procedure will end up paying a lot more trying to repair the damage done.
Pugh said if they can’t afford the surgery, they probably shouldn’t have a dog in the first place.
The City of Saskatoon offers a subsidized spay-neuter program where low-income families can qualify for a pet surgery for a small fraction of the full price.
Pugh said such practices could be in violation of the Animal Protection Act and the Criminal Code and said the SPCA may start launching investigations.