Dog, cat, and rabbit neutering outcome data revealed in new benchmarking report 

Data on the postoperative outcomes of dogs, cats, and rabbits undergoing neutering procedures have been revealed in a new benchmarking report compiled by veterinary charity RCVS Knowledge. The data was submitted by veterinary practices voluntarily to the National Audit for Small Animal Neutering (NASAN), which is managed by RCVS Knowledge. 

The report, comprising data from 63,276 cats, dogs, and rabbits, submitted by 256 veterinary practices across the UK shows post-operative outcomes after routine neutering procedures. The aim is to enable veterinary teams to compare their own neutering outcomes against a national benchmark and to support them to take systematic steps to drive improvements in their outcomes.  

Five post-operative outcomes are captured by the report, which are; no abnormality present, abnormal but no treatment necessary, abnormal requiring medical treatment, abnormal requiring surgical intervention, and fatality. A sixth category also exists for patients that were lost to follow-up. 

Across all species and procedures logged: 

  • The most common postoperative outcome was ‘no abnormality present’ – accounting for 70.84% of data. 
  • 8.79% of patients experienced abnormalities that didn’t require any further intervention. 
  • 12.64% of patients were lost to follow up. 
  • 6.80% of patients required additional medical treatment. 
  • 0.84% of patients had an outcome of ‘abnormal requiring surgical intervention’. 
  • The least common was ‘fatality’, at 0.09%.
  • The report also provides species-specific data on dogs, cats, and rabbits which is broken down into spays and castrates, as well as laparoscopic bitch spays. 

The NASAN has collected data on post-operative complications rates in neutered dogs and cats since 2005, with rabbits being added in 2018.  New for 2024 is the ability to record and audit the breed and weight of the animal, and the type of neuter, including flank, midline, and cryptorchid procedures.  

The report reflects data from a wide range of independent and corporate practices across the UK. Data are submitted voluntarily, enabling practices to fulfil their professional responsibilities and audit their own performance against national benchmarks. 

Pam Mosedale, Clinical Lead at RCVS Knowledge, said: “Benchmarking reports like this one are invaluable in helping veterinary teams improve outcomes in practice. Comparing your own results to a national average can give you a clearer picture of how you’re doing. Your results may be better than you think they are! Once you’ve analysed your own results against the benchmarks, you can start to identify areas where you can improve. 

“We’d like to thank the vets who’ve submitted data to the NASAN. This report was made possible by your dedication to growing the evidence base for the betterment of patient safety and outcomes in future. If you’re thinking about submitting your own data, please do get involved.” 

Veterinary professionals who want to improve neutering outcomes in their practices can use the free NASAN Resource Hub on RCVS Knowledge’s website. This includes practical information and evidence on how to effectively manage complications and learn from them when they do occur.  

You can read the 2023 NASAN Annual Report on the RCVS Knowledge website, here: 

Anyone who carries out neutering procedures can share their data to help grow the data set and contribute to evidence-based veterinary medicine at:

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