There's a huge risk of infection or injury if a dog or cat is chewing at the surgery site. Personally, with precautions taken, I think that it's a risk worth taking. When my parents chihuahua broke his leg as a puppy he had to wear one to protect the $1000 surgery and plate he had in his leg. Had he chewed on this site he could have destroyed the surgery and further injured himself, not to mention the infection risk. If you take the collar off when you are gone to work for an 8 hour day then your pet can do a heck of a lot of damage to the surgery site. What about normal collars? There is still a risk involved, but I would rather know that someone can identify my pet if he escapes.
What happened to your family's pet is truly horrible, and absolutely devastating, especially because you were trying to do the responsible thing. But, these collars are a great tool in preventing complications from surgery. I just don't want folks reading this and choosing to not use one because of one negative experience. Read the information out there and make an informed decision. Neutering IS a relatively invasive surgery, and there is always a certain level of risk involved.
I am sorry to hear about your family pet. I WILL remember this as an example of why to think carefully about their surroundings while wearing collars of any sort :(
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