Elective Surgery

Here at Encina Veterinary Hospital, we offer the following surgical procedures:
– Spay/Ovariohysterectomy (OVH)
– Neuter
– Declawing
– Debarking/Devocalization
– Dew Claw Removal
– Tail Docking


What is a Spay/Ovariohysterectomy (OVH)? A Spay/OVH is a procedure done on female animals to prevent them from reproducing. We place the pet under general anesthesia after blood work and an exam have been performed, and remove the reproductive organs of the pet (ovaries and uterus). This not only eliminates the risk of unwanted pregnancy, but it also reduces the risk of your pet getting certain cancers and infections.
In addition to a traditional spay (where a 2″-4″ incision is made in the abdomen), we also offer laproscopic spays. When a spay is done laparoscopically (a minimally invasive technique for viewing the internal structures of the abdomen), the procedure is performed through one to three small incisions in the abdomen (1/8” to 1/2” in length depending on the size of your pet). A laparoscope (camera) magnifies the internal structures of the abdomen on a monitor, allowing for greater precision and fewer complications. The magnified view of the ovarian ligament allows the doctor to carefully cut and cauterize it which helps eliminate the pain your pet would experience from a traditional spay.

What is a Neuter? Much like a spay, a neuter is the removal of reproductive organs (testes) in a male pet. Once your pet has been approved for anesthesia after a physical exam and blood work, they will be put under general anesthesia for the procedure. A neuter is often performed on pets around the age of six months (sometimes earlier) but can be done later in life too. Pets are typically neutered in order to eliminate the possibility of reproduction and hormone related behaviors like marking. Neutering your dog also reduces the risk of certain cancers and testicular and prostate issues that may arise later in life.

Declawing is … the surgical removal of the toenails. The operation removes the last bone and toenail of each toe. Usually, only the nails of the fore/front feet are removed.   In a few cases, the nails of the rear paws may also be removed.   This operation is performed to prevent destructive behavior such as scratching and to prevent scratches to people and other animals.  This operation is primarily for cats only, and rarely performed in dogs.   Much like any other surgical procedure, blood work and an exam are preformed prior to anesthetizing the pet to rule out any potential anesthetic risks.

What is Debarking/Devocalization? Devocalization is a surgical procedure applied to dogs, where tissue is removed from the animal’s vocal cords in order to permanently reduce the volume of their vocalizations (barks). We offer multiple techniques for this procedure; you and your veterinarian will discuss and decide which technique is best for you and your pet. Just like with any and all surgery, the pet is examined by our veterinarians and blood work is performed prior to placing the pet under general anesthesia.

Dew Claw Removal Dew claws are like “thumbs” on your dog; they are located a short distance up the leg on the inside surface. Some dogs have one on each paw, some only on two and some have none at all. Many times, these “thumbs” are not fully attached to your pets’ foot and may become a hardship to your pet. Dew claws are usually removed when puppies are a few days old to prevent any problems in the future. At this age, the bones that make up the toes are tiny and soft so removing them is a simple procedure.

Tail Docking Tail docking is the procedure of intentionally removing a major part of the tail. This is usually done between 2-5 days of age in puppies. Tail docking has been around for centuries and performed for a number of reasons; to prevent tail injury (hunting dogs in the brush or cattle dogs from getting their tails trampled), hygiene, breed standards and more.


As with any surgical procedure, risks include anesthesia reaction, excessive bleeding, bruising and infection. Overall, the prognosis for a full recovery is excellent in healthy patients. 

Please give us a call at (925) 937-5000 to schedule an appointment for your pet