Benefits of Spaying Female Cats & Dogs
Spaying your female pets can help keep many serious health issues and undesirable behaviors from impacting your cat or dog.
If you have your cat spayed prior to their first heat, you will reduce their risk for malignant mammary tumors later in life.
Spaying also helps to cut your feline friend's chances of developing a uterine infection, and of developing cancers in the reproductive organs.
The procedure can also reduce undesirable behaviors such as intense rubbing on objects, marking territory with urine, the desire to wander, heat-induced howling and increased and overly intense affection.
Having your dog spayed before her first heat can give her a chance at a long, healthy and happy life by preventing serious issues such as infections in the uterus and breast tumors.
If this surgery is performed while they are young, spayed dogs won't go into heat. Female dogs who are not spayed will usually go into heat every six months, for about 2 to 4 weeks each time. A female dog in heat will excrete a bloody vaginal discharge and may seem jumpy, clingy or edgy.
The Spaying Process
Whether you choose a traditional spay or laser spay for your pet, the process is largely the same. Your vet will:
- Make a 2 to 3-inch incision just below the belly button into your pet's abdomen. The reproductive tract, both ovaries and the uterus are typically removed through the incision.
- Close the incision using internal stitches, skin staples and skin glue, and/or stitches.
Laser vs. Traditional Spay
During laser surgeries, the vet will use a hot or cold laser to replace the traditional scalpel. Some vets feel that using a laser to perform the surgery will help reduce both the risk of infection and recovery time due to the fact blood vessels are cauterized as the laser beam vaporizes the cells and "cuts" through tissues.
Many vets believe the benefits of laser spaying are:
- Less swelling at the surgical site.
- Reduced bleeding due to the cauterization of blood vessels as the laser beam cuts through the tissues.
- Decreased risk of infection due to superheating of tissues at the incision site, which helps to destroy bacteria present during surgery.
- Decreased levels of pain in the immediate period after the operation.
While using lasers in place of a scalpel can offer the surgeon extreme precision, as with traditional surgery using a scalpel there are also some risks with laser surgery. Though lasers may cause less pain than scalpels, laser surgery still has the potential to be painful. While rare, hemorrhage can still occur.
While some vets might prefer to use lasers to perform surgeries, others will prefer a scalpel. Scalpels are used for many different procedures and the vets who do use them are highly skilled at doing so. Also remember that spaying is among the most common of veterinary surgeries and most vets have become very skilled at spaying.
Benefits of a traditional spay include:
- Often costs less than laser spaying.
- Readily available at most veterinary hospitals.
Hemorrhage is not common when a spay is performed by a skilled veterinarian, and the type of bleeding that can happen as a result of complication during spays cannot be stopped or prevented by using a laser instead of a scalpel.
By choosing a reputable vet and an animal hospital that you trust the risks of complications due to the spaying surgery (whether laser or traditional) should be minimal. When you book an appointment to have your pet spayed be sure to ask your vet about the risks of surgery, as well as the recovery process.
Helping Your Pet Recover Comfortably From Spay Surgery
Whether you choose to have your pet laser spayed or traditionally spayed your pet will need some time to recover.
Here are tips for a safe and comfortable recovery:
- Provide your pet with a quiet place to recover indoors and away from other animals.
- Reduce your pets activity level for about two weeks following surgery, or as long as your veterinarian recommends.
- Prevent your pet from licking the incision site. Licking could cause an infection. Using a veterinary 'cone' or a post-surgical t-shirt can help to prevent your pet from licking the wound.
- Do not bath your pet or allow them to swim for at least ten days after surgery.
- Check the incision site daily in order to monitor healing and watch for early signs of infection.
If you notice any redness, swelling or discharge at the surgery site, or if the incision has opened up, contact your veterinarian. Also, be sure to contact your vet if your pet is lethargic, has a decreased appetite, is vomiting or has diarrhea or any other concerns following their spay surgery.
Whichever type of spay surgery you choose for your pet, keep in mind that the overall benefits outweigh the risks involved for either type of surgery. If you are at all concerned about the risks of spaying your female animal, contact your vet for further information.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding people or pets. If you are concerned about your pet's health, contact your veterinarian right away for diagnosis and treatment.