What is spaying?
A spay procedure involves surgical removal of the ovaries (ovariectomy) or the ovaries and uterus (ovariohysterectomy). Although it is considered major surgery, it is also a very commonly performed one. A surgical incision will be made into the abdomen during the procedure. Dissolvable sutures will be placed to close the wound which will not need to be removed.
Why should I spay my pet?
Spaying prevents your pet from getting pregnant and reduces the risk of certain types of cancer such as mammary gland tumors. It also prevents a condition known as pyometra, a life-threatening infection of the uterus that commonly occurs in middle-aged to older unspayed female dogs
What is neutering?
A neuter procedure involves surgical removal of the testicles (castration). Male dogs will have a small incision just in front of the scrotum which will be sutured with dissolvable sutures that will not require removal. Male cats will have two incisions, one on each side of the scrotum which will not require any suturing.
Why should I neuter my pet?
Neutering helps in managing unwanted behaviours such as spraying, urine marking or aggression. It also reduces the risk of certain types of hernias, prostate disease and tumors of the testicles and anus.
What are the surgical risks?
Anesthetic risks are minimal in young and healthy patients. However the potential for complications still exists. We do everything we can to minimize these complications including pre-anesthetic bloodwork, tailored anesthetic protocols, close anesthetic monitoring by registered veterinary technicians throughout surgery. Surgical risks can include the following: hemorrhage (bleeding), bruising, scrotal swelling/hematoma, suture reactions, infection, and dehiscence (wound breakdown).
What will the pre-anesthetic blood work show?
The pre-anesthetic blood work gives us information on blood cell count, hydration level, electrolyte balances, organ (liver and kidney) function, any signs of systemic inflammation or anemia. Most anesthetic agents are metabolized through the liver or kidney so it is important to ensure they are healthy and functioning well prior to proceeding with surgery.
When should I come in for the pre-anesthetic blood work?
The pre-anesthetic blood work appointment is a technician appointment that is generally scheduled 1 week before the procedure day.
What if the bloodwork is not normal?
If abnormalities are found on the pre-anesthetic bloodwork, our veterinarian will contact you to inform you of the changes and create a plan for the procedure. If only mild changes are seen, we may have to alter our anesthetic agent and dosages but can still proceed with the procedure. If moderate changes are seen, our veterinarian may recommend postponing the procedure and perform additional tests to investigate the reason for the abnormalities.
When should spaying and neutering be done?
Spaying and neutering can be done as early as 6 months old. Some larger breed dogs may benefit from delaying sterilization until 12-18 months of age. Please consult with our veterinarian for more information and to determine the best time to spay/neuter your pet.
How much does spaying or neutering cost?
The cost for spaying and neutering can vary depending on your pet’s weight. The services and items that are in all of our surgery package includes:
- Pre-visit calming medication
- The neuter/surgery procedure
- Sedation and anti-nausea agent
- Anesthetic agent
- IV catheter and IV fluids throughout the procedure
- Pain relief to go home
- E-collar to go home
- Microchip implant (optional)
- Laser therapy
- Follow up appointment with a technician (10-14 days after the procedure)
Additional procedures that may be added
- Retained deciduous (baby) teeth removal
- Dental x-rays for unerupted adult teeth
- Hernia repair
- Retained testicles
For a detailed tailored treatment plan for your pet’s weight and age, please contact the clinic directly.
Will spaying and neutering change my pet’s personality?
Spaying and neutering will not change your pet’s personality in terms of energy level or anxiety level. However, it may improve behaviours such as inappropriate mounting, urine marking/spraying or fighting.
Will my pet get fat after spaying and neutering?
After spaying or neutering your pet, their metabolism may change slightly. Furthermore, growth and development slows around the age where pets are generally spayed/neutered which means there is a risk of weight gain. Meal sizes may have to be reduced after these procedures to prevent this. Please consult with our trained team members for more information on modifying your current diet plan.
What do I need to do to prepare for the surgery?
The night before the surgery, administer one dose of the calming medication at dinner time. Your pet will have to be fasted from midnight – this means no food to be given after 12:00am. Water is allowed throughout the night but be sure to remove the water bowl first thing in the morning. A second dose of the calming medication should be given around 6:15-6:30am before coming to the clinic. If your pet is on any other medications, please call the hospital directly for additional instructions.
What happens after I drop my pet off? Will they have to stay overnight?
After admission, our veterinarian will perform a physical exam and create an anesthetic protocol with tailored anesthetic agent and dosage. Our protocol consists of a sedation injection which aids in relaxation to allow smooth placement of an IV catheter. An induction agent is administered through the IV catheter where your pet will fall asleep quickly to allow placement of an endotracheal tube. The endotracheal tube provides direct access to the airways where the general anesthetic agent will be delivered. Inhalant anesthesia is the safest agent as it allows rapid change in anesthetic depth. As soon as your pet has recovered from anesthesia, a team member will contact you with updates and coordinate a discharge time. Your pet will not have to stay overnight. A registered veterinary technician will be monitoring your pet from the moment they are admitted until they are discharged.
What is the recovery period?
In general, it takes between 10-14 days for the surgery site to heal completely. However, your pet may recover from the anesthetic and be back to their regular energetic self within 1-2 days. During the full 10-14 day recovery period, it is important to keep your pet quiet and calm. The incision site needs to be kept dry and clean. An e-collar or cone should be worn at all times to prevent your pet from licking at the incision site and creating complications.
Will the procedure be painful?
Spaying and neutering can be mild to moderately painful. To reduce your pet’s pain level, multiple pain relief injections will be given both systemically and locally before and after the procedure. In addition, a few days of oral pain relief will be sent home to make sure your pet is comfortable post op.
What are persistent deciduous teeth and why do they need to be removed?
Most puppies and kittens will have all of their adult teeth by the age of 6 to 7 months. When a deciduous tooth (baby tooth) is still present at the time that the adult tooth has begun to erupt, it is referred to as a persistent tooth. When this happens, the baby tooth occupies the place in the mouth that is meant for the permanent tooth, forcing the permanent tooth to erupt in an abnormal position. This may result in crowding of the teeth and possibly malpositioned teeth subsequently leading to an abnormal bite. Persistent deciduous teeth should be extracted at the time of the spay or neuter to avoid issues with crowding and potential problems for the permanent adult tooth.
Why do I need to x-ray missing teeth?
All permanent adult teeth should be visible by 6-7 months of age. We will check and count your pet’s teeth at the time of the spay and neuter procedure to make sure all teeth are present. It is recommended that a dental x-ray be taken for any adult teeth that appear to be missing to determine if they are truly missing or buried under the gum. Buried teeth can lead to dentigerous cysts which can expand into the jaw bone and neighbouring teeth later on in life. If your pet has an unerupted tooth present, our veterinarian may recommend extraction of the tooth or a procedure called an operculectomy where the overlying gum tissue is removed to clear the eruption path for the impacted tooth on the day of the spay or neuter procedure.
What is an umbilical hernia?
It is not uncommon for some young dogs and cats to have an umbilical hernia. An umbilical hernia usually involves the protrusion of abdominal fat through the area around the umbilicus (belly button) due to the incomplete closure of the umbilical ring after birth. The hernia generally appears as a soft swelling beneath the skin and it often protrudes when your pet is standing, crying, or straining. In rare cases, a portion of the intestines or other tissues can become trapped and strangulated, potentially leading to serious complications requiring emergency surgery.
Why does an umbilical hernia need to be repaired?
If the hernia has not closed by the time of spaying, surgical repair of the hernia is recommended to avoid unwanted complications in the future. The surgery can be performed at the time of spaying. The fibrous or scar tissues that have formed around the hernia are dissected out or removed, and the defect is closed with sutures. In the case of a spay, the incision is extended to include the hernia and is closed all as one. In the case of a neuter, a second small incision is required in the umbilical area.