Q. Should I spay/neuter my bitch?
A. At the Paddock Vet Practice we advise that the benefits of spaying bitches far outweigh the potential problems. As such we would recommend that all bitches not intended for breeding are neutered. This is consistent with the views of both British Small Animal Veterinary Association and the RSPCA.
Q. When to spay?
A. There is a lot of debate regarding the best time to neuter as spaying early can prevent some problems e.g. mammary tumours but may potentially have a higher risk of other problems e.g. urinary incontinence.
The breed of dog should also be considered when deciding when best to neuter.
Commonly we will spay at 6 months old before the first season or sometimes 3 months after the bitches first season. However, there are still health benefits to spaying older bitches and we recommend it being performed 3 months after their last season.
Q. What is done when a bitch is spayed?
A. When a bitch is spayed an ovariohysterectomy is performed. This means the ovaries and uterus are removed. It is carried out under general anaesthesia as a day procedure only rarely requiring an overnight stay.
Q. What are the benefits of spaying?
A. -Prevents unwanted pregnancies
-Prevents false pregnancies
-Prevents pyometra; a potentially fatal condition of the uterus seen commonly in middle aged and older bitches
-Reduces the incidence of mammary cancer.
Studies have shown that by neutering a bitch prior to her first season the risk of mammary cancer can be reduced by as much as 99%, each subsequent season increasing the risk.
- No more seasons and the associated vulval discharge and attraction to male dogs.
- Prevents ovarian and uterine cancers
Q. Are there any downsides of spaying?
A. -When a bitch is spayed she my have a tendency to gain weight. This is due to changes in her metabolism. However, weight gain can easily be prevented by controlling her feed intake.
- When bitches are spayed there is an increased risk of developing urinary incontinence later in life. However, this can usually be controlled with medication.
-Risks associated with general anaesthesia and surgery. Unfortunately there is always an inherent risk with any anaesthetic or surgical procedure. At the Paddock vets we do all we can to minimise these risks by performing pre-anaesthetic checks and a blood test if desired.
We use up to date anaesthetic protocols and anaesthetics are monitored with specialised equipment. We also provide all animals undergoing surgery with pain relief both during and after the procedure.
Q. How do I arrange to have my bitch spayed?
A. -We perform routine neutering operations on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.
-You can book your bitch in over the phone. Should you wish to discuss whether and when to spay your bitch in more detail prior to booking her operation you are very welcome to come in for an appointment.
-When you book your bitches surgery you will be advised to starve her from 9pm the night before. To allow access to water until you bring her in, and to take her for a short walk prior to her coming in to allow her to empty her bladder and bowels.
-An admissions appointment will be made for the morning of her operation. At this time a nurse will go through an admissions and consent form with you. If you have any concerns we are happy to discuss them fully at this time.
Q. What to expect the day of her operation?
A, -An admissions appointment usually takes about 10 minutes. Any queries you have can be discussed at this time.
- After admission your bitch will be given a pre-medication prior to anaesthetic and surgery. If you have a very nervous bitch and would prefer to sit quietly with he while her pre-med works this can be arranged.
-Your bitch will have her operation during the morning.
- You will be asked to ring at approximately 2:30pm that afternoon to see what time she will be ready for collection. A discharge appointment time will be organised then.
-Aftercare instructions will be discussed at this appointment. These instructions can also be found on our website under post-operative care.
Q. What to expect after her spay operation?
A.-Due to the anaesthetic your bitch may be sleepy and a bit unsteady for 12-24hours. During this time she should be allowed to rest in a warm comfortable draught free place.
-Allow her access to water as soon as she gets home.
-Give her a small light meal the evening of her surgery.
-Normal appetite should return within 24-48hours.
-Only gentle lead exercise should be undertaken for the next 10days
-Keep her wound clean and dry (avoid muddy walks)
-Prevent licking of her wound. We use intradermal dissolvable stitches in bitch spays when possible.This means your bitch cannot pull her stitches out but it is still important not to let her lick her wound. There are number of options to prevent wound licking, some are more suitable for certain breeds dependant on their size and shape. Possible options include a cone collar, a blow up ring collar and bodysuits. The nurse who admits your bitch will discuss which is most appropriate for your pet and/or which you would prefer.
-A post operative check appointment will be made for 2-3 days after her operation. However, if you have any concerns prior to this please contact the surgery for advice.
-Your bitch will be sent home with post operative pain relief for you to give orally at home for a few days. Please follow the directions given for your pet.
If you have any other questions on spaying your bitch please feel free to ring the surgery to discuss them.