Why should I have my dog spayed?
We recommend spaying all female pets. The benefits to your pet’s health and to help reduce the pet overpopulation crisis make this decision easier. It should be remembered that owners of Guide Dogs for the Blind, Hearing Dogs for Deaf People and Dogs for the Disabled routinely have their dogs spayed.
“I am told that letting my dog have one litter will quiet her down.”
There is no scientific evidence that having puppies has any calming psychological effect. This is quite honestly more myth than fact.
What are the advantages of spaying in the female dog?
- Prevention of “heat” or estrus
- When in “heat”, the female experiences an urge to escape in order to find a mate. This unwanted and dangerous behavior is eliminated.
- It eliminates the possibility of false pregnancy following the “heat cycle”
- Prevention of uterine infection known as pyometra
- The prevention of breast cancer. Breast Cancer is the number one type of cancer diagnosed in unsprayed female dogs. Dogs spayed before the first “heat” have less than 0.5% chance of developing breast cancer.
- Elimination of the risk of uterine and ovarian cancer
Is spaying performed for any other reason?
The operation may be performed for several medical conditions. These include:
- Treatment of intractable false or phantom pregnancy
- Females with irregular or abnormal cycles due to ovarian cysts
- Spaying is also carried out on occasions to correct certain behavioral abnormalities
- Treatment of uterine infection (pyometra) or cancer
- Dystocia (difficult birthing) or post caesarean-section surgery
What are the disadvantages?
Most of the perceived disadvantages are false. The most quoted of these are that the dog will become fat, lazy, and useless as a guard dog. Obesity is probably the most commonly quoted disadvantage of spaying. Obesity is the result of overfeeding and lack of physical activity. By regulating your dog’s diet and caloric intake, you can prevent obesity in neutered or intact males.
Spaying doesn’t cause a change in personality, guarding instincts, intelligence, playfulness or affection.
When should the operation be performed?
Research reveals that spaying a pet at an early age does not cause any increased risk. Most veterinarians recommend spaying between four and six months of age.
Why should I have my cat spayed?
We recommend that all non-breeding cats be sterilized. Here are several health benefits associated with spaying your cat.
- Spaying eliminates the risk of ovarian and uterine cancers.
- Breast cancer is the number one type of cancer diagnosed in intact or un-spayed female cats.
- If your cat is spayed before her first heat cycle, there is less than ½ of 1% (0.5%) chance of developing breast cancer.
- With every subsequent heat cycle, the risk of developing breast cancer increases.
- After 2½ years of age, ovariohysterectomy gives no protective benefit against developing breast cancer.
- Pets with diabetes or epilepsy should be spayed to prevent hormonal changes that may interfere with medications.
Are there other benefits to spaying my cat?
The most obvious benefit is the prevention of unplanned pregnancies. There is no medical or scientific reason for letting your cat have a litter before she is spayed.
Once a cat reaches puberty, usually at around seven months of age, she will have a heat or estrus cycle every two to three weeks for most of the year, unless she becomes pregnant. She will be “in heat” or receptive to mating for approximately one week in each cycle. During “heat” she may display unsociable behavior such as loud and persistent crying and frequent rubbing and rolling on the floor. This behavior coupled with her scent, will attract male cats from miles around. Removal of the ovaries will stop her estrus cycles.
When should I have my cat spayed?
Spaying should be performed before the first estrus or “heat cycle”. Most cats are spayed between four and six months of age although some veterinarians choose to spay cats at two to three months of age. It is possible to spay your cat if she is pregnant.
Are there any dangers associated with the operation?
Spaying is considered a major operation and requires general anesthesia. With modern anesthetics and monitoring equipment, the risk of a complication is very low. It has been said that your pet has a greater chance of being injured in a car wreck than having an anesthetic or surgical complication.
What happens when I leave my dog for this procedure?
Your pet will be examined by your veterinarian and pre-anesthetic blood tests will usually be performed. If everything is acceptable, your pet will then be anesthetized. Pets will have an intravenous catheter placed to administer the anesthetic and to provide fluid therapy during the surgery. After your pet is anesthetized, a breathing tube will be placed in her trachea or windpipe. This will allow the delivery of oxygen and the gas anesthetic directly into the lungs. The surgery consists of making a small incision just below the umbilicus and removing the ovaries and uterus. Many veterinarians use absorbable sutures so that you do not have to return to have them removed.
Are there any post-operative precautions I should take?
Rest and restriction of activity are the primary post-operative care you should provide. Most dogs can resume normal activity five to ten days after surgery. Until then, leash walks, no running or climbing stairs and lots of rest are the rule.