Spaying (ovariohysterectomy) has many benefits for both you and your pet. This operation prevents female animals from going into heat (estrus) and becoming pregnant. The procedure is also indicated to remove diseased or cancerous female reproductive organs.  Spaying will not change your pet’s personality and can help your dog or cat live a longer, healthier life.

Spaying your female pet drastically reduces the risk of several acquired diseases of the reproductive system.  This operation essentially removes the possibility of a severe, life-threatening, bacterial infection of the uterus, or pyometra. In addition, there is extensive evidence that spaying a dog at an early age markedly reduces the future risk of developing mammary (breast) cancer.

There are also benefits to you when your pet is spayed. First, you won’t have to worry about her going into heat. This means avoiding the bloody mess that accompanies the heat cycle in female dogs and the pacing and crying that happens with female cats. Second, you won’t have to contend with unwanted pregnancies and finding homes for all of those unplanned kittens or puppies! In addition, spaying your pet will help control the dog and cat overpopulation problem, keeping more animals out of shelters.

Spaying, or ovariohysterectomy, is the surgical removal of the female reproductive organs. The operation removes the two ovaries, the uterine horns and the body of the uterus. This is an invasive surgical procedure and is performed with the pet under general anesthesia. We follow strict anesthetic and surgical protocols to help ensure her safety and comfort both during and after the operation. An important part of our protocol involves preoperative testing of your pet. The tests we recommend depend in part on the age and general health of your dog or cat.  In young animals, minimal tests are needed provided the pet has been vaccinated, dewormed and proven healthy based on physical examination. In this case, basic blood tests, including a PCV (packed cell volume), total protein, BUN (kidney enzyme), ALT (liver enzyme) and glucose (blood sugar) will be done prior to anesthesia. In older pets or ones with certain health conditions, we may recommend additional testing such as a CBC (complete blood count), serum biochemical tests, urinalysis and possibly a chest X-ray or EKG prior to anesthesia. These recommendations vary on a case-by-case basis and depend on the overall health of the pet.

No surgical procedure is risk-free, however the overall risk of ovariohysterectomy in a young, healthy pet is very low. The major risks are those of general anesthesia, bleeding (hemorrhage), post-operative infection and wound breakdown (dehiscence) over the incision. Overall complication rate is low, but serious complications can occur. Please see the descriptions under Anesthesia and Patient Monitoring for more information on what we do to keep your pet safe.

Your pet’s comfort is very important to us, so we routinely perform laser therapy on the incision line as well as providing pre and post-operative pain medication. In most cases post-operative pain is judged to be mild to moderate, and can be virtually eliminated with safe and effective pain medicines. Generally young animals are acting normally within 24 to 48 hours after surgery. The home care after surgery requires reduced activity until the stitches are removed in 10 to 14 days.

To set up an appointment to have your pet spayed or to learn more about this procedure, call or visit our clinic. If you are struggling with the decision of whether to spay your pet, please call us so we can discuss your concerns.