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Dog Neutering - Female

What are the major benefits of all neutering?

The major benifits of neutering is to prevent unwanted litters.  It also prevents the inconvenience and upset of seasons in female bitches and cats.  There are many heath benifits including prevention of certain tumours ie mammary or uterine, & prevention of utering infections.

From what age can we neuter?

We recommend neutering bitches pre-season this is usually at 5-6 months (in larger breeds we would often advise waiting until 12 months of age).

There is no upper age limit for neutering but the risks of a general anaesthetic do increase as animals get older due to potential underlying problems, but it is advised on each individual case as there are risks in un neutered older animals ie pyometra.

What are the risks?

There is always a risk with a general anaesthetic but your pets will be given a full health check on the day of admission and they will be fully monitored throughout the procedure by our qualified nurses.  We have all the latest monitoring equipment very similar to human hospitals that check oxygen levels, ECG and blood pressure to name a few.

With any surgical procedures there is a risk of bleeding and infection but this is closely monitored and all our surgeons are experienced

Should they have a season first?

They do not need to have a season before spaying and in the cases of bitches there alot of health befits spaying pre season ie reduction in the chance of mammary tumours.  In some larger and giant breeds we may recommend they are over a year before we spay them so this would usually mean thay have had one season

Can my bitch be spayed whilst she is in season?

We do not advise spaying while your bitch is in season, due to the increased risk of bleeding during surgery.  You will have to be careful while they are in season to minimise the chance of meeting and mating with an entire dog and unwanted pregnancies.  We would then spay 2-3 months after finishing the season

Should they have a litter before neutering?

There is no need for them to have a litter before neutering there is no physical or mental advantages for a bitch having a litter prior to spaying.  It is one of the common myths that they should have a litter.

Can I spay my pet if they are already pregnant?

Spaying whilst pregnant in all species comes with a higher risk due to an increased blood supply to the uterus so this would really be done on a case basis after discussion with the owner.

Can it change their behaviour?

Spaying will eliminate them coming into season and so any problems related to this i.e. prevent the risk of phantom/false pregnancies. Spaying early has no effect on behaviour unless there is inhouse dog to dog aggression and spaying will make this worse

Is my pet still fertile for a while after being neutered?

Females will no longer be able to have litters as soon as they have been spayed

How much does a phantom pregnancy effect when they can be neutered?

A hormonal imbalance is usually the cause of a phantom pregnancy in bitches, it is a condition where a non-pregnant female dog shows symptoms of pregnancy, lactation or nursing without actually, being pregnant.  It is a condition that can be self-limiting but if the signs are severe medical treatment is available.  We would wait for the signs of phantom pregnancy to be fully resolved before we would then spay the bitch which can take up to one month.  Spaying is recommended to prevent the recurrence of phantom pregnancies

When we say three months post season is it from the beginning or when the season finishes?

We would advise spaying 3 months after the end of a season as usually dogs will have a season every 6 months so this means we are spaying mid cycle to minimise risks.

Can they have a lap spay if they have had a season?

Yes they can have a lap spay if they have had a season but the timing of the procedure is the same for a normal spay ie 3 months after the season

Does a lap spay prevent Pyometra?

Yes a lap spay will prevent a pyometra as the ovaires are removed and it is the ovaries that produce the hormones that are thought to influence the occurrence of pyometra

What is the major benefit of a lap spay?

The major benifit for a lap spay is a faster return to activity vs the conventional spay this is due to smaller wounds that are required to insert the camera and equipment. This could be benificial to working or agilty dogs.  As it is less invasive there is evidence that there is a lower level of post operative pain but all our bitch spays are given adequate pain relief. Other procedures can be carried out at the same time for example in larger breed/deep chested dogs that are at risk of a twisted stomach (GDV)  a gastropexy (attaching the stomach to the body wall) can be done which can prevent this life threatening condition, this however can also be done during routine surgery.

What is the difference between a lap spay and a "normal" spay?

The main difference between a lap spay vs conventional 'open' surgery is the incisions.  In a lap spay the patient will have two or three 1-1.5cm incisions to allow the camera and instruments In the conventional surgery a single longer incision is made into the abdomen the size of this is dependant on the size of the dogs.  In both procedures it is usual just to remove the ovaries.  The clippping of the fur will be similar for both procedures.  It is worth considering that with a lap spay owners are always informed of the chance of converting to routine open surgery if it is not possible to visualise the ovaries.

Do they have to be vaccinated to be neutered?

It is advisable that dogs and cats are vaccinated when they come into be neutered as they will be in a hospital enviroment and vaccinations help prevent the spread of infectious diseases

Do you do neutering at the weekends?

We do not do routine surgeries i.e. neutering at the weekends as we have a reduced number of staff available and we need to be able to deal with any emergency cases. Neutering procedures are carried out Monday to Friday at our main hospital and at our local practices.

What is the latest they can be fed prior to surgery?

We usually recommend starving from about 10pm the night prior to surgery but they can have access to fresh water through the night.

Do I need to take my dog out for a walk before admission?

We would suggest you take them for a short walk to enable them to empty their bladder and bowels before admission, but please try to keep them clean as this reduces the time needed to prepare them for surgery.

Why do they need to be admitted so early?

We like to have our patients admitted before 9am to give them time to settle in the kennel prior to their procedure and also to allow time for their pre med to take affect prior to surgery.  It also enables us to plan the procedures that are in for the day when we know they have all been admitted.

How long will my pet be in the hospital for?

All neutering's are carried out as day cases.  They are usually admitted from 7.30 to 9am on the day of the surgery and they are usually ready for discharge after 3.30pm.  Once back in the recovery ward after their surgery you will receive a call from our nursing team or vets to advise that the procedure has been completed and confirm your discharge time

Are disolvable stitches used?

In dogs we will usually use all internal dissolvable stitches but we still advise that they come in for a post op check to ensure that the wound has healed.

Can they eat normally afterwards?

We would normally recommend a recovery or intestinal diet after surgery.  These tend to be palatable to encourage them to eat, bland as not to upset their gastrointestinal system which can be a little sensitive after an anaesthetic and contains the right nutrition to aid healing.

How long before we can take our pet our for walks?

We would usually advise that you keep your dogs rested for 24-48 hours post surgery with just gentle exercise in the garden, after this we would then advise short lead walks until they are seen for their post op check.

Will they put on weight after neutering?

It is a myth that pets will put on weight after neutering.  They will have a reduced energy requirement making them more prone to weight gain but this is easily managed by having them on the correct diet and regular exercise.  Neutered diets are available to compensate for this.

Will my pet need to wear a buster collar afterwards?

This does depend on how much they lick at the wound.  We like to keep licking at a minimum to prevent post-operative infections.  There are other options available to the traditional plastic collar such as medical shirts and inflatable collars.

The wound - should it be flat post operation? what if there is a lump?

The wound should be flat post surgery although there can be some minor swelling, we would always recommend a check of the wound if any change is noted after discharge.

How long post op do they need lead walks?

We would advise lead walks for at least a week after surgery or until they have been signed off at their post op check

What happens if my dog has vomiting and diarrhoea when taking post-operative pain relief?

It would normally be recommended that the loxicom is stopped if there is any signs of vomiting or diarrhoea.  There are alternative pain killers available if they still seem in discomfort a consult or talking to a vet would be recommended.

Do they NEED a post op check especially if they had disolvable stitches?

The post op check is for assessing the wound not just removing stitches so we do advise a check even if there are no stitches to remove.  This is to enable to assess that the wound has healed and advise owners on their dpgs return to exercise

What are normal expected after effects? things to look out for if needed an earlier recheck?

It would normally be expected for them to be a little quite for a few days post general anesthetic but should be more or less back to normal withing 24-48 hours.  Things to look out for would be any swelling, redness or discharge from the wound, excessive licking, not wanting to eat or drink, not passing urine or faeces, vomiting or diarrhoea. If a client phones and they are worried its often best to speak to a vet or nurse or possibly book them an appointment.