A spay or ovariohysterectomy is the surgical sterilization technique used in female dogs and cats. The ovaries and uterus are removed through an incision in the abdomen. At Bourbon Veterinary Hospital, we recommend spaying your dog or cat at 5-6 months of age.
There are several benefits to spaying your dog or cat including:
Spayed animals will not have heat cycles or be attractive to males
Decreased roaming behavior
Prevents the risk of a life-threatening uterine infection called a pyometra
Decreases the risk of mammary cancer and eliminates the risk of ovarian and uterine cancer
Helps to control the number of unwanted puppies and kittens
What should I expect on the day of my pet’s surgery?
On the day of surgery, we ask that you bring your pet to the clinic between 8-8:30AM. We do allow check-in the night before surgery if this is more feasible for your schedule. Please let us know at the time you schedule your pet’s surgery if you would like to drop your pet off the night before. Your pet should be fasted for at least 8 hours and no water after midnight the night before surgery. You should bring any medications that your pet is taking so that the medications can be continued while at the clinic. If your pet is on a prescription diet, please bring enough food for two meals. When you bring your pet for surgery, the office staff or a technician will have you sign an admissions form and provide a contact phone number for the day. It is very important that you be accessible via this phone number in case the veterinarian needs to contact you in regards to your pet.
Your pet will have a quick exam to check their vital signs when they arrive for surgery. If your pet requires any bloodwork prior to surgery, we will perform it at this time. Surgeries are typically performed in the late morning and early afternoon. Each pet has a customized anesthetic protocol designed for their specific breed and health condition. After your pet’s surgery is complete, a veterinarian or technician will call to let you know how the surgery went and when your pet can go home.
How is my pet monitored during surgery?
The heart rate, respiratory rate, and SpO2 (or blood oxygenation level) is monitored during surgery. In addition, a veterinary technician and veterinarian are present at all times while your pet is anesthetized.
Is my pet given pain medication after the surgery?
Yes, your pet will receive an injection of pain medication during their spay surgery which will last for 24 hours. Your pet will also be sent home with an oral pain medication for you to give your pet for several days after the surgery.
Are there visible stitches after a spay?
Our veterinarians typically bury the skin sutures, which means that there will be no visible stitches after the spay. In addition, the buried sutures will dissolve away on their own. They do not need to be removed.
What are the benefits of using the CO2 laser for the spay surgery?
The surgical procedure while using the CO2 laser is the same as the procedure done with a scalpel blade except that the CO2 laser is used to make all of the incisions. The CO2 laser cauterizes blood vessels and nerves immediately, so there is less swelling, bleeding, and pain associated with the surgery.
What special care does my pet need after surgery?
Monitoring the spay incision for any swelling, discharge, or discoloration is important. The incision should improve in its appearance after your pet is discharged. If you notice any changes to the incision, please contact our clinic right away. In addition, your pet should return to their normal behaviors 24-48 hours after the surgery. If your pet is not eating or drinking, acting lethargic, or displaying abnormal behaviors, please contact the clinic right away.
After your dog or cat’s spay, you should limit their activity for 14 days. They can go outside on a leash to use the bathroom and can go for short leash walks. Running, jumping, and playing with any housemates should be prevented. These activities will put strain on the incision site and could lead to complications. Outdoor cats should be confined in a kennel, garage, shed, or barn during this time to minimize these activities and to help maintain a clean environment.
You should make sure that your pet does not lick at the incision site. If your pet does lick at the incision site, please contact the clinic so that we can supply you with an e-collar to prevent licking. If we notice that your pet is licking at the incision while they are hospitalized, we may send home an e-collar. E-collars should be left on at all times to prevent your pet from licking the incision. In addition, make sure that any housemates do not lick your pet’s incision site, otherwise you should keep the pets separate.