Unfortunately, many animal shelters are overrun by litters of puppies and kittens born to stray animals who haven’t been fixed. This causes overcrowding, a lack of resources, and even potential widespread disease among shelter pets.
As a pet owner, you need to do your part to decrease overcrowding by getting your female dogs and cats spayed.
What Is Spaying?
Spaying is a routine surgical procedure technically known as ovariohysterectomy (OHE).
In this procedure, the ovaries and uterus are removed completely. In addition to stopping unwanted reproduction of a female dog or cat, this procedure eliminates hormones which may cause severe disease and promote undesirable behaviors.
Should I Spay My Pet?
There are many benefits to spaying your female dog or cat.
Beyond simply helping prevent overpopulation problems, there are a variety of health and behavioral benefits associated with the procedure.
Some of these benefits include:
- Reduces the risk of uterine infections
- Reduces the risk of mammary tumors, which are malignant in 50 percent of dogs and 90 percent of cats that develop them
- Prevents your pet from going into heat
- Decreases your pet’s risk of running away in order to find a mate
- Many pets live longer if spayed
- Reduces the likelihood that your dog will have separation anxiety or fearful elimination
In general, it is always a good idea to spay your female dog or cat, even if you spay on a delayed schedule, unless your veterinarian recommends otherwise.
What Are the Risks of Spaying My Pet?
As with any other anesthetic, there is a risk of serious complications. However, modern anesthetics and monitoring equipment have decreased the risk of these serious complications. All anesthetized patients at Old Farm Veterinary Hospital benefit from full-time monitoring by Licensed Veterinary Technicians for their safety and comfort.
When Should I Spay My Pet?
Your veterinarian will give you guidance on when it’s best to spay your female pet. There are some general guidelines on the best time to spay dogs and cats:
For dogs: Most dogs should be spayed between four and six months, although healthy puppies as young as eight weeks old can be spayed. Dogs also can be spayed as adults, although there’s a slightly higher risk of post-operative complications in older dogs, overweight dogs, and dogs with health problems.
For cats: Kittens can be spayed as young as eight weeks old, and many animal shelters perform the procedure on young kittens so they’re ready to be adopted. As a general rule of thumb, it’s also best to spay cats between four and six months of age.
How Can I Help My Pet Before & After Surgery?
You will be provided with a set of pre-operative and post-operative instructions, so read them carefully.
Except in special circumstances, we will recommend withholding food after midnight the night before the procedure. However, we will never recommend that you withhold water. Pets will do better with anesthesia and recovery when they are properly hydrated.
You may want to send your pet with a familiar blanket or other item that can be laid in the recovery cage, so they have a little scent of home.
Here are some tips for helping your pet with a safe and comfortable recovery:
- Provide your pet a quiet place indoors to recover, away from other animals.
- Prevent your pet from running and jumping (as best you can) for up to two weeks following the surgery, or for as long as your veterinarian recommends.
- Keep your pet from licking the incision site, as it can cause infection, and distract your pet with treats or use a collar.
- Avoid bathing your pet for at least 10 days after surgery.
- Check the site of the incision daily to see that it’s healing properly.
Call your veterinarian if you notice any of the following:
- You notice redness, swelling, or discharge at the incision site.
- The incision is open.
- Your pet is lethargic.
- Your pet has decreased appetite.
- Your pet is vomiting or has diarrhea.
- Something just doesn’t seem “right” with your pet.
Get Your Pet Spayed at Old Farm Veterinary Hospital in Frederick, MD
At Old Farm Veterinary Hospital, our state-of-the-art surgical suite promotes safe, complete spaying procedures so your pet can recover quickly from their procedure. Our team of skilled veterinarians performs multiple spayings per week, and we work hard to keep your pets safe and healthy.