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Spay Your Pet

Dog and Cat Handing Out

Ovariohysterectomyis the medical term for when you “spay” the female pet. The procedure consists of removing both ovaries and the uterus. Though it is routinely performed, ovariohysterectomy is major abdominal surgery requiring general anesthesia and sterile operating technique.

REASONS why you should have your pet spayed:

  1. The most important reason is to prevent breast cancer. Research shows that with each heat cycle there is increased risk of breast cancer. In dogs, the breast tumors are malignant 50% of the time and can spread to other organ systems. In cats, breast cancer is highly malignant (90%) and radical mastectomies are often indicated when this condition occurs.
  2. There will be no more (or at least less) unwanted puppies and kittens.
  3. There will not be any life-threatening uterine infections (pyometra) or uterine cancer. Both of these diseases are possible in older dogs and cats.
  4. Prevent signs of estrus (heat) such as bloody vaginal discharge and behavioral changes.

FACTS about spaying:

  1. Spaying does not cause a pet to get fat or lazy. This comes from overfeeding, normal aging changes, and poor exercise regimens.
  2. Personalities are not altered by spaying. Personalities do not fully develop until 1-2 years of age. Aggressiveness and viciousness are not the result of surgery. Usually, personalities only get better.
  3. Surgical risk is very slight due to modern anesthesia and techniques, but there is ALWAYS some SMALL risk when an anesthetic agent is used. Our hospital uses the safest anesthetic on the market today.
  4. The best age to spay a pet is at 6 months, prior to the first heat cycle. This cuts down the risk of breast cancer to 0.5%.
  5. Surgery is performed painlessly while your pet is under general anesthesia. Post-surgical pain is minimal and oral medications are available for this if needed. Most pets go home the same day that surgery is performed.

A very small percentage of spayed dogs have trouble holding their urine (incontinence) as they become older. This is normally controllable with medication. The benefit of prevented breast cancer far outweighs this risk.

Prior to surgery, all patients receive a pre-anesthetic physical examination. All potential problems result in a phone call to you and are thoroughly discussed at that time. Just as your own doctor would never take you to surgery without first running “blood tests”, we require pre-surgical blood screening which can detect many potential problems. Not all veterinary clinics run these tests on a routine basis. It is an optional way that you can increase the anesthetic safety for your pet.

The procedures are performed under “general anesthesia”. The pet sleeps painlessly through the entire surgical procedure. Anesthesia choices used in our hospital are the same as those used with humans undergoing major surgery. Newer anesthetics that we use are reported to be ten times safer in older pets than other choices commonly used in many veterinary clinics today.

Surgery is performed in an operating room equipped with monitors, emergency equipment, oxygen and ventilation equipment, and the most modern surgical instruments available. All surgery is done using sterile gloves and surgical instruments. In our hospital, the same instrument pack is NEVER used on more than one patient without re-sterilization. Our hospital is committed to quality and therefore maintains high standards for both anesthesia and surgical procedures.

After surgery, each patient is monitored by our staff until fully awake and in stable condition. No pet is dismissed from the hospital until we are satisfied that it is fully recovered from the anesthesia.

Very little care is required at home after hospital discharge. Pets usually go home the same day that surgery is performed. Rechecks and suture removal in 14 days is included in the initial fee.

Since many people “price shop” these procedures, we suggest that you be sure that all prices quoted elsewhere are “all inclusive”, and that you tour the facility before making your choice.

Important considerations before and after surgery:

  1. Your pet should be free of intestinal parasites (worms) and all vaccinations should be current before surgery. Our hospital requires this on all routine surgical procedures.
  2. Do not feed your pet past 10 p.m. the evening before surgery and pick up the water in the morning.
  3. Restrict your pet’s activity for a week after surgery. Suture removal is in 14 days. Do not bathe until sutures come out.
  4. Monitor your pet’s incision daily. If your pet is licking at the incision too much, or is pulling at the sutures, you will need to come in for a restraint collar. Otherwise, your pet’s activity could potentially cause some serious complications.
  5. Any time that you have questions about the surgical area or your pet’s activity and attitude, please bring your pet in for us to examine (or at least call us).

Notify the Doctor if any of the following occurs:

  • Your pet removes a suture or otherwise irritates the incision.
  • Your pet refuses to eat or drink or seems depressed after the first day home.
  • You notice a discharge or swelling at the surgical site.
  • There is a change in the pet’s general health.

Ovariohysterectomy is a “once in a lifetime” procedure for your pet. Make sure that you have it completed correctly!

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