New JVME Study: Training Veterinary Students to Perform Ovariectomy Using the MOOSE Spay Model With Traditional Method Versus the Dowling Spay Retractor™

Study Abstract: "Educators understand the importance of developing safe and effective methods to teach veterinary students basic surgical skills. Ovariectomy is a procedure that employs many of the skills agreed to be vital for a newly graduated veterinarian. This study endeavored to compare two methods to teach ovariectomy on a model based on assessment of procedure time and skill performance scores. Students’ opinions regarding their experience are also reported. Students performed the Dowling Spay Retractor™ method more quickly (p<0.001) but with similar performance scores compared to the Traditional method depicted in textbooks. Students responded positively when surveyed regarding their experience with the training and the Dowling Spay Retractor™ method."

Authors of the above Study: Maria Fahie, DVM, MS, Diplomate ACVS, is a Professor in Small Animal Surgery, College of Veterinary Medicine, Western University of Health Sciences, Pomona, CA; Amanda Cloke is a fourth-year student at the College of Veterinary Medicine, Western University of Health Sciences, Pomona, CA; Minette Lagman, BS, MS, is a student at Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine, New York; Ohad Levi, DVM, is an Associate Professor in Equine Surgery, College of Veterinary Medicine, Western University of Health Sciences, Pomona, CA; Peggy Schmidt, DVM, MS, Diplomate ACVPM is an Associate Professor, Population Health and Epidemiology, and Director of College Outcomes Assessment, College of Veterinary Medicine, Western University of Health Sciences, Pomona, CA.


Please watch the videos.
Start with the "Average Dog Spay" 8 minute video that shows you exactly how to use the Dowling Spay Retractor:

Average Dog Spay (26.7MB)
Cat Spay (19.5MB)
Large Dog Spay (52.9MB)
Closed Castration & Miller's Knot - Autoclavable Silicone Lard Guard (14.8MB)

The Dowling Spay Retractor (U.S. Patent #7722639B2) can be ordered

In the USA:

In Canada:

In Japan:

Or, if you prefer to order your Dowling Spay Retractor or replacement parts directly from Dr. Brian Dowling for either U.S. Domestic or International orders you may do so by clicking on the Add to Cart button below. You will be charged $5 for S&H regardless of how many you order for the US and $10 for S&H for International orders. (Orders within Washington State have 8.3% added for sales tax.)

Our payment system uses PayPal, but you don't have to have a PayPal account to use it, just a major credit card.

Dowling Spay Retractor (complete set) $110

Large Foot (replacement part) $10

Small Foot (replacement part) $10

Lard Guard (replacement part, autoclavable silicone) $2.50

2 for 1 Veterinary Student Special: Order the first Dowling Spay Retractor (complete set) online using the order form above, then E-mail your name, mailing address, and school name to and a second one will be sent free. Only 1 free item per student.

"I love love love this spay retractor. It took 25 mins off my time!! I gave the extra one to my friend, also a new grad and her externship mates were amazed! . . . with all the gratitude in the world" - Stephanie Ortiz

"Dr. Dowling - I have been meaning to send this for over a year now and just now decided to complete the task. I bought a Spay Retractor...I guess 3 years ago...and it immediately revolutionized the daily OVH's we do. After over 40 years in private practice, I list the Spay Retractor as one of my top three purchases over my career. Thanks for developing it and making it available to the profession." - Martin Coffman DVM

"Hello and thanks for inventing the spay retractor! I've been using them for 6 years and I shudder at the thought of being without them. The make my spays fast, easy and safe. I'd be lost without my spay retractors!!! I also use them in my dog neuters and love it! Six years is a long time to go without saying thanks and well done - so here goes ;) thanks and well done! All the best!" - Laura Betts, DVM - Parkdale Animal Hospital, Manistee, Michigan

"I am the staff veterinarian for Canine Assistants, a non-profit service dog school in Atlanta. Love your spay retractor! After 20 years of practice, I can finally do a fast spay through a small incision without worry. A brillant instrument." - Dr. Kent Bruner, DVM

"Brian: As you see, we have placed another order! Can't live without these now . . . I dont know how we did spays before! These spoil you to no end! Now when that 130 pound in heat rotty comes in . . . no fear! Thanks." -
Mark Justice, Double J Animal Hospital

"My name is Dr. Luke Proctor and I can't live without my spay retractors.  We will not let a vet spay an animal in our clinic without learning to use this instrument. The exposure of the ovaries and its blood suplie is superior to any hemostat .  Its like an extra two hands holding the ovary and keeping tissue out of the way. Genius and simple. Thanks." - Luke Proctor DVM

"I just tried one and must say it was the most fun I've had spaying in 27 years!!!" - Jackie Greenwood DVM, Toronto

"You're absolutely welcome to quote me. We REALLY enjoy using these. We've tried several others and been disappointed." - Michael Dahlman DVM, California

"Today, came into one of my relief jobs and found a 98# Lab-mix that had been dropped off by animal control for heat of course. Now I usually make a large incision to do my spays but decided to keep the incision down to about 2", it looked like your retractor would be more effective the smaller the incision. Anyway, needless to say, it went extremely well, no problems, the retractor worked as it should and the fat guards were very effective and the spay went smooth, smooth, smooth. Now, I am usually slinging colorful phrases around pretty freely after doing a large in-heat dog spay... but not this time. Thanks alot for a great instrument. Only improvement (suggestion) I can see the need for a larger version... say based on a Carmalt clamp." (This was his second use of the retractor) - Todd Westin DVM

Note that Dr Dowling has some imperfect instruments that he is giving away to nonprofit spay organizations and Veterinary schools. Again contact Dr. Dowling directly, not Butler for these imperfect samples.

Dr. Brian Dowling, the inventor, has now been using the Dowling Spay Retractor for over twelve years and has performed over 2,900+ successful proceedures. You can ask questions by sending an email to

The Dowling Spay Retractor

The retractor is placed to maintain exposure "hands-free" without rupturing the ovarian ligament.

Better exposure allows:

  • Better ligature security
  • Less post op pain without tearing the ovarian ligament
  • No tissue damage, therefore no leakage from proximal to the ligatures
  • Faster, more consistent, surgery

Other Benefits:

  • Quickly becomes second nature
  • One size fits all
  • Inexpensive - includes the body with both a large and small foot

Simply Effective

  • The Retractor streamlines the whole process of solo spays
  • "I have finally had to religate 1 ovarian stump over the past 6 years because I didn't pull it down tight enough. Other than that, it's been 2,900+ boring procedures using the Dowling Spay Retractor."
  • Routine spays can be routine

Sales Stats

  • We've sold over 2,400 Spay Retractors and only 2 have been returned because they didn't like it.

Instructions for Use

  • Assemble the Dowling Spay Retractor by inserting the tapered end of the foot into the tapered socket and twist to seat firmly (like seating a needle on a syringe). The Retractor comes in two pieces for ease of packing with other instruments in a spay pack.
  • Push the tip of the foot through the window in the broad ligament and around the ovarian pedicle to engage the curved part of the foot against the base of the pedicle.

  • While pushing down on the skin and pulling up the ovary, clamp the hemostat near the ovary (that tough bit of tissue between the ovary and the tip of the uterine horn holds well).
  • Apply ligatures (I use millers' knots here and take advantage of the immobile tissues to get great knot security).
  • Sever the pedicle, replace the retractor with another clamp and go on to the other side and uterine body.

- Dr. Brian Dowling
  Inventor of the Dowling Spay Retractor


Helpful Ideas:

  • Some dogs have very deep chests which cause the body wall to be tightly strung between the Xiphoid and the Pubis. This tension can be lessened (making it easier to get the body wall down where you want it) if you tilt the pelvis cranial by tucking a towel, or ideally, a foam wedge under the tail head.
    - Brian Dowling, DVM