The decision to spay or neuter your pet is an important one that can affect their long-term health and behavior.
Spay – a traditional spay generally refers to an ovariohysterectomy or the removal of the uterus and ovaries in a female animal
Neuter – neutering refers to the removal of the testicles in a male animal.
Both of these surgeries are performed under general anesthesia. Most animals return home the evening following surgery and must be kept calm and quiet for 10-14 days after surgery to allow surgical incisions to heal.
We generally recommend spaying or neutering at 6 months of age or later. In larger breed dogs, we may recommend delaying to allow for further bone growth/development. There can be benefits to the procedure at any age.
Behavioral Benefits of Spaying and Neutering
- Can prevent aggression / fighting with other intact animals
- Can prevent wandering
- Prevents in heat behavior, bleeding, yowling (cats)
- Can prevent spraying (male cats) and territory marking (male dogs)
- Can prevent various cancerous tumors: testicular, prostate, ovarian, uterine, and breast cancer; transmissible venereal tumor
- Prevents pyometra – an emergency surgical situation where the uterus fills with pus
- Prevents false pregnancy
- Spaying and Neutering does not affect your pet’s intelligence or ability to learn, work, hunt or play. It does slow down their metabolism, so we recommend decreasing their calorie intake after spaying or neutering and monitoring them carefully to prevent excess weight gain.
Medical Benefits of Spaying and Neutering
- Spaying and neutering helps dogs and cats live longer, healthier lives
- Spaying and neutering makes pets better, more affectionate companions
- Spaying and neutering prevents unnecessary litters that contribute to pet overpopulation
A spay or neuter is done as a day surgery. You should take away all your pet’s food by 8 pm the evening before the surgery. When they come in that morning (between 7:30 and 8:00 am) we will draw blood and do an ECG for a pre-anesthetic evaluation. The surgeon will give your pet a thorough exam and review the bloodwork and ECG results. They will receive sedative and pain medications prior to anesthesia and surgery. They will have an area on their belly shaved for surgery. During surgery, their vital signs will be closely monitored. When they are in recovery, one of our technicians will call you. If everything goes as expected, they will be ready to go between 5 and 5:30 pm. Occasionally some pets are slower to recover and will need to stay overnight. We will remove sutures in 10-14 days. You do not need an appointment for suture removal.
Spay or neuter surgery carries a one-time cost that is relatively small when one considers its benefits. It's a small price to pay for the health of your pet and the prevention of more unwanted animals.