To determine if ovariectomy (OVE) by electrothermal bipolar vessel sealing (EBVS) is a safe alternative to ovariohysterectomy (OVH) by hand-tied ligatures as a method of spaying in pigs.

Study Design

Retrospective case series.


Intact female pigs (n = 14).


Medical records (2001–2010) of pigs admitted for sterilization were reviewed for signalment, surgical technique, intra- and postoperative complications, length of hospitalization, and outcome. Long-term follow-up was obtained by owner questionnaire.


Mean ± SD age and mean weight was 131 ± 86 days and 13.0 ± 6.2 kg, respectively. There were 5 OVH pigs and 9 OVE pigs; age and weight were not significantly different between groups. When comparing OVE to OVH, mean incisional length was less (12 ± 6 cm OVE; 22 ± 6 cm OVH; P < .01) and surgical time was short (50 ± 9 min OVE; 103 ± 15 min OVH; P < .01). Intraoperative hemorrhage occurred in 1 OVH pig. Postoperative complications included hemorrhage (n = 1), fever (3), hypothermia (2), surgical site infection (1), and inappetence (3). Return to normal behavior and appetite was significantly shorter for OVE pigs (1.10 ± 0.93 days; 4.30 ± 0.94 days OVH; P < .01). After a mean follow-up of 36 months, no difference between groups could be observed.


OVE using EBVS is a faster surgical technique with less perioperative complications when compared to OVH with ligatures. OVE can potentially replace OVH as a spaying method in pigs.