Spaying your female pet is a great way to prevent unwanted litter of kittens or puppies. It can also help deter unwanted behaviors and protect your pet from some serious forms of cancer. Here, our Apple Valley vets explain more about the spaying process.
What Is Spaying?
An ovariohysterectomy, more commonly known as a spay procedure, is a surgical procedure to remove the female reproductive organs (the two ovaries, the uterine horns, and the body of the uterus.)
Benefits Of Spaying
By having your pet spayed, you are eliminating the risk of an unwanted litter of kittens or puppies. Spaying is especially important in the case of outdoor female cats, as they can begin getting pregnant early and have the highest pregnancy risk.
Spaying also helps decrease the chance that your pet will suffer from a disease affecting the female reproductive system. The spay procedure removes the possibility of a severe infection of the uterus (pyometra), and there is some evidence that pets who are spayed at a young age have a lower risk of developing breast cancer later in life.
The Spay Procedure
Before the surgery begins, your vet will run the appropriate diagnostic tests to ensure your pet is healthy enough to safely go under for the operation. Spay procedures are carried out under general anesthesia.
Following the anesthesia, your pet will have the hair on its abdomen shaved down and the skin thoroughly disinfected. The organs are then removed, either laparoscopically (with surgical lasers) or with a traditional scalpel. Both methods are safe.
After the procedure is complete your pet's skin will be closed with skin glue, sutures (stitches), or surgical staples. Stitches or staples will need to be removed by your veterinarian 10 to 14 days following the procedure.
How Long Does Spaying Take?
The procedure typically can last from 20 to 90 minutes to perform, depending on your pet's size and any special medical considerations. In older pets or large-breed dogs, the procedure can take longer and may require two surgeons to perform.
Although the actual procedure is relatively quick, you can typically expect your pet to spend a few hours at the hospital, allowing time for check-in, an initial physical assessment, the surgery itself, and time for recovery from anesthesia.
Recovery After Spaying Surgery
Most pets will start to feel better in 24 - 48 hours, but full recovery takes between 10 to 14 days. During this period you should aim to keep your pet calm and refrain from allowing them to jump, as this could cause the incision to reopen. The incision should be checked daily for signs of infection. If you notice redness, discharge, swelling, or a foul odor, contact your veterinarian.
You should also monitor your pet's behavior. If after 48 hours they still seem lethargic or are not eating or drinking it could be a sign of infection. Follow up with your veterinarian or bring them to an emergency veterinarian for care.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.