Ectopic Ovarian Tissue
One of the more common procedures performed in the veterinary world is the spay (also called the ovariohysterectomy). It is often assumed to be a simple procedure, partially because it is done so frequently, but also because it is done for generally discounted pricing. This can give a false sense of the actual risks involved. An ovariohysterectomy is a major surgical procedure, and it can be difficult for both the surgeon and the patient. However, we still strongly recommend having your pet spayed, as overpopulation is a serious problem affecting all pets. Also, intact female dogs in particular are prone to difficulties including pyometra (a life-threatening uterine infection) and breast cancer when not spayed. And of course, intact female pets can be challenging to live with, as they often display less desirable behaviors when hormones are unregulated.
One of the occasional complications seen with spay sur gery is known as Ovarian Remnant Syndrome. It is fortunately a rare problem postoperatively, but can occur in any spayed female. The symptoms are that a female who is known to be ‘fixed’ later in life begins to exhibit female behavior and cycling. Generally, it is assumed that there was ectopic ovarian tissue that was not discovered at the time the spay surgery was performed. In this image, you can see an example of such an anatomical anomaly – fortunately, Dr. Smyth was thorough in his technique and the ectopic tissue was removed with the ovary.