Spaying Your Female Puppy or Kitten

Spaying is the surgical removal, performed under full anesthesia, of a female animal’s ovaries and uterus.  Spaying has many benefits, including health and behavioral advantages for your pet, and the social benefit of preventing a contribution to overpopulation.

Spaying reduces or eliminates the incidence of several kinds of diseases.  First, a dog or cat with no uterus has no risk of uterine cancer or infection, both of which can be deadly.  Spaying also reduces the incidence of breast cancer when performed early in life (before the age of 2 years). This is especially true if the procedure is performed before the animal’s first heat cycle.

Spaying prevents your pet from going into heat. Female cats will generally go into heat four to five days every three weeks during the breeding season, although cycles vary between individuals. In an attempt to attract mates, females in heat will urinate in as many locations as possible, and yowl loudly, both of which are poorly suited to life in a human home.

Not to be overlooked is the fact that spaying prevents the birth of new puppies and kittens.  There is currently a companion animal overpopulation crisis; there are far more dogs and cats than there are homes able and willing to care for them.  As a result, animals are euthanized every day, simply because they cannot find a home willing to adopt them.  Even if you find a home for all members of a litter, this takes away from the number of homes willing to adopt an animal, and so merely displaces the problem from the kittens or puppies of your pet’s litter unto other animals.

Many are under the impression that there are health benefits to waiting for your female dog or cat to either go into heat or have a litter at least once before spaying.  This is an unfounded misconception.  The reality is that spaying has the greatest health benefit when completed before the animal ever goes into heat.  That said; animals can still benefit from spaying after this window has passed.

The Process

Before your dog or cat can be spayed, we need to do preanesthetic blood work to ensure that there are no issues with either the kidneys or liver.  The kidneys and liver filter the anesthesia from the bloodstream.  Therefore, any problem with either of these two may be a hazard to a pet undergoing anesthesia. It is possible for there to be issues which do not show any outward symptoms, yet could still endanger the health of your pet under anesthesia.

After the Doctor reviews your pet’s blood work results and determines that we can safely proceed, an IV catheter is placed to allow for emergency drug access. Your pet will be given an injection for sedation; a tube will be placed in the throat so your pet can be connected to an anesthesia machine which will administer a combination of anesthesia and oxygen. One of our trained veterinary technicians will perform surgical monitoring.  It will be the task of this technician to keep the surgeon informed about factors including the patient’s temperature, blood pressure, respiration, oxygen level and heart rate.  Following the completion of the surgery, your pet will be put in a recovery area, administered an injection of pain relief medication and closely watched until she is fully awake. The surgeons with World of Animals at Mayfair recommend that your pet wears an Elizabethan collar (cone) when she goes home, so as to prevent licking of the incision, and additional pain medication, in order to reduce the discomfort which will follow the surgery.  You will need to keep your pet well rested for the first 2 weeks following surgery, and limit unnecessary activity.

Having your pet spayed is the best way to make sure she lives a long and healthy life with you and your family.