If you’re new to pet ownership, the process of spaying or neutering can seem overwhelming. There are a lot of misconceptions about the procedure and recovery, so we’ve put together these helpful tips to ensure you’re ready for what’s involved.
Spaying Versus Neutering
First, it’s important to understand the difference between spaying and neutering. Spaying is the process of removing a female dog or cat’s reproductive organs. This procedure involves removing the ovaries, fallopian tubes and uterus, so that her heat cycle stops and she can no longer get pregnant.
Neutering is the removal of a male dog’s reproductive organs, including the testicles and associated structures. In both spaying and neutering, breeding instincts may continue to be present.
Why Do Pet Owners Spay Or Neuter Their Pets?
The main reason for spaying or neutering your cat or dog is pretty obvious: to prevent reproduction and reduce the number of unwanted litters. However, this procedure can also help contribute to a longer, healthier life in your pet.
Spaying can help prevent mammary cancer, pyometra (a potentially life-threatening uterine infection), and other serious health problems. Male dogs can benefit because it can help prevents them from contracting benign prostatic hyperplasia and testicular cancer. Male dogs who are neutered may also show less aggressive behaviour.
When Should You Spay Or Neuter Your Cat Or Dog?
Typically, veterinarians recommend spaying or neutering between six and nine months old, but it could depend on the breed. Your veterinarian will be able to recommend the appropriate spaying or neutering age for your specific pet.
The key to ensuring a healthy, happy life for your pet is spaying and neutering while your cat or dog is still young.
What Can I Expect During The Recovery?
Despite the fact that spaying and neutering are serious surgical procedures, many pet owners are surprised by how quickly their pets recover. Some pets may be back to their normal selves by the next day. However, there are a few key things you can do to help in the recovery process:
- Minimal activity for the first few days followed by restricted exercise for as long as an additional week.
- Your vet will advise you about whether you should let your pet run or jump after surgery.
- Use an Elizabethan collar (cone of shame) to prevent your dog from licking the incision site.
- Check the incision regularly to ensure it’s healing properly; contact your vet if you notice redness, swelling or discharge.
- Don’t bathe your pet for 10 days after surgery.
- Contact your vet if you notice your pet is uncomfortable, lethargic, eating less, vomiting or has diarrhea.
Your vet will prescribe pain medication for your pet, the amount of time your pet will be on these is dependent on the extent of surgery.
Many pet owners are under the misconception that spaying or neutering their pet will cause a drastic change in their personality. However, this is not true. You can expect your pet to get back to their normal, energetic selves in no time!
For more information about this or other procedures, don’t hesitate to contact the team at Woodbine Animal Clinic in Toronto.