Importance of Spaying your Bitch
The Importance of spaying your bitch, Ovariohysterectomy or “Spay” is the surgical removal of the uterus and ovaries in the female dog under a general anaesthetic. The procedure is not reversible, once spayed, a bitch is no longer able to have puppies.
The main benefits of the procedure include:
The prevention of uterine and ovarian cancer The significantly reduced risk of mammary or breast cancer (if spayed before the 3rd season) The prevention of uterine infection (pyometra) The elimination of unwanted pregnancies and complications during birth The prevention of bleeding and behavioural changes during a season The reduction in unwanted attention from male dogs
Possible disadvantages to spaying:
There are associated risks with any surgery or anaesthetic. These risks can be reduced by an experienced surgeon and close anaesthetic monitoring throughout the procedure. There is also a higher incidence of urinary incontinence later in life in spayed bitches, however this is not commonly seen and responds well to medication. On balance, the risks are outweighed by the prevention of potentially fatal diseases through spaying.
Deciding when to spay:
There are no known advantages to letting your bitch have a litter before being spayed. In fact postponing the surgery increases the risk of mammary cancer and after the third season, all the benefits of early spaying are lost. We strongly recommend spaying your dog from six months of age before the first season occurs or if this is not possible 3-4 months after a season. The cost of spaying ranges from £110 for small dogs to £135 for large dogs.
Before spaying a thorough physical examination will be carried out to ensure your dog is fit and well for the operation. Pre-anaesthetic bloods can be taken in older animals (at an extra cost) to check kidney and liver function before proceeding and intravenous fluids provided if required. We ask that you withhold food from your dog from 7pm the evening before the surgery and arrive at the practice from 8.15am to 8.45am ensuring your dog has had chance to go to the toilet. Your dog will be weighed before being admitted by a nurse who will discuss the procedure, answer any questions you may have and ask you to sign a consent form.
Your dog will receive a pre-med or sedation to relax her and provide pain relief before the surgery. The anaesthetic is then induced shortly afterwards and the operation itself normally lasts about one hour. Patients are closely monitored at all times throughout the anaesthetic by a theatre nurse and the supervising veterinary surgeon. Following the surgery your dog will then be transferred to a warm kennel with plenty of bedding and remain under close observation whilst coming round from the anaesthetic. Once fully awake and able to stand she is able to go home the same afternoon. Discharge will be with a nurse and full post-op instructions will be given at this stage.
Exercise restriction is required after the surgery and close monitoring of the wound to prevent licking. An Elizabethan (lampshade) collar can be provided if necessary. There will be a post-op check at the practice three days following the surgery to ensure your dog is recovering well and stitches are removed a week later. Following stitches out, exercise can be gradually increased back to normal. After being spayed, we recommend you reduce your dogs feed intake by 10-15% to prevent any weight gain.