Veterinary Care Page 3

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Spay and Neuter

We recommend young skunks be spayed or neutered before the age of nine months to prevent behavior problems, reduce unwanted behaviors, and reduce stress on the skunk.


Sequence of spay procedure on a yearling skunk.
Sharp dissection of subcutaneous fat Ventral midline incision through linea alba Note abdominal fluid soaking into gauze
Pool of free peritoneal fluid noted upon entry into abdomen Small intestine (extracted for display purposes only) Spay hook used to find uterine horn allowing for smaller incision
Ovary in hand surrounded by fat Gentle traction on uterine horn to bring ovary out of abdominal cavity Close-up ovary in ovarian fat
Blunt dissection to confirm presence of ovary prior to ligation Traction applied to first ligated ovary to visualize uterine body and opposite side uterine horn Third clamp placed to crush tissue prior to ligation
Caudal reflexion of uterine body after severing ovarian ligaments Ligation of uterine body with 4-0 Vicryl Simple interrupted 4-0 Vicryl linea alba closure
4-0 Vicryl used to close linea alba Simple interrupted pattern of 4-0 Vicryl in linea Subcuticular closure, simple continuous 4-0 Vicryl
Subcuticular closure Surgical glue on skin surface Completed spay with completed closure
Photos by Dr. F. Krupka, DVM


In some cases if a skunk is not spayed they could get Pyometra (infection in the uterus). Watch for any small changes in her behaviour, unusual vaginal discharge, or anything abnormal. Pyometra will also cause the animal, (skunk, dog) to go down in the rear.

Once they become septic (infection in the blood) they fade very quickly and treatment may not help at all.

Read about Pyometra and Pyometra In the Dog...The Pet Center.

We do have a documented case that a skunk died of Pyometra.


When a male skunk's testicles descend he can be neutered. If only one testicle descends a more extensive surgery has to be performed and may cost more.

Photo of young male skunk showing testicles Photo by Leslie Kaplan


Neuter of young male skunk.
Neuter, courtesy Exotic DVM Magazine
From Exotic DVM Veterinary Magazine 5(1):8-10, 2003 and used with permission.

Although it is a common practice, is usually not necessary to use an Elizabethan collar after spay or neuter. We have had good success with internal sutures and external surgical glue to secure a neuter or spay incision.

Photo of a skunk in an E-collar Photo by Alicia Gore

Owners should keep an eye on the incision for any type of infection; signs of redness,swelling, discharge, etc.

To calm a skunk use a few drops of Rescue Remedy or a little valerian root. Always be careful of any allergic reactions with anything you may use.

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