SPAYING YOUR DOG

Why should I have my dog spayed?

We recommend spaying all female pets. The benefits to your pet’s health and to help reduce the pet overpopulation crisis make this decision easier. It should be remembered that owners of Guide Dogs for the Blind, Hearing Dogs for Deaf People and Dogs for the Disabled routinely have their dogs spayed.

What are the advantages of spaying in the female dog?

  • Prevention of “heat” or estrus
  • When in “heat”, the female experiences an urge to escape in order to find a mate. This unwanted and dangerous behavior is eliminated.
  • It eliminates the possibility of false pregnancy following the “heat cycle”
  • Prevention of uterine infection known as pyometra
  • The prevention of breast cancer. Dogs spayed before the first “heat” have less than 0.5% chance of developing breast cancer.
  • Elimination of the risk of uterine and ovarian cancer
  • A female dog spayed before her first heat will have a near zero chance of developing mammary cancer.
  • After the first heat, this incidence climbs to 7% and after the second heat the risk is 25% (one in four!). It is easy to see that an early spay can completely prevent what is frequently a very difficult and potentially fatal form of cancer.
  • But is it too late if a dog is already past her second heat? No, in fact spaying is important even in female dogs who already have obvious tumors. This is because many mammary tumors are stimulated by estrogens; removing the ovaries, the source of estrogens, will help retard tumor spread.
  • Spaying removes both the uterus and both ovaries and is crucial in the prevention as well as the treatment of mammary cancer.

Is spaying performed for any other reason?

The operation may be performed for several medical conditions. These include:

  • Treatment of intractable false or phantom pregnancy
  • Females with irregular or abnormal cycles due to ovarian cysts
  • Spaying is also carried out on occasions to correct certain behavioral abnormalities
  • Treatment of uterine infection (pyometra) or cancer
  • Dystocia (difficult birthing) or post caesarean-section surgery

What are the disadvantages?

Most of the perceived disadvantages are false. The most quoted of these are that the dog will become fat, lazy, and useless as a guard dog. Obesity is probably the most commonly quoted disadvantage of spaying. Obesity is the result of overfeeding and lack of physical activity. By regulating your dog’s diet and caloric intake, you can prevent obesity in neutered or intact males.

Spaying doesn’t cause a change in personality, guarding instincts, intelligence, playfulness or affection.

When should the operation be performed?

Research reveals that spaying a pet at an early age does not cause any increased risk. Most veterinarians recommend spaying between four and six months of age.

Is there any alternative to surgery?

Not at the present time, although there are several promising advances being made in this area.

Are there any dangers associated with the operation?

Spaying is considered a major operation and requires general anesthesia. With = modern anesthetics and monitoring equipment, the risk of a complication is very low. It has been said that your pet has a greater chance of being injured in a car wreck than having an anesthetic or surgical complication.

What happens when I leave my dog for this procedure?

Your pet will be examined by your veterinarian and pre-anesthetic blood tests will usually be performed. If everything is acceptable, your pet will then be anesthetized. Most pets will have an intravenous catheter placed to administer the anesthetic and to provide fluid therapy during the surgery. After your pet is anesthetized, a breathing tube will be placed in her trachea or windpipe. This will allow the delivery of oxygen and the gas anesthetic directly into the lungs. The surgery consists of making a small incision just below the umbilicus and removing the ovaries and uterus. Many veterinarians use absorbable sutures so that you do not have to return to have them removed.

Are there any post-operative precautions I should take?

Rest and restriction of activity are the primary post-operative care you should provide. Most dogs can resume normal activity five to ten days after surgery. Until then, leash walks, no running or climbing stairs and lots of rest are the rule.

 I am told that letting my dog have one litter will quieten her down.

There is no scientific evidence that having puppies has any calming psychological effect. This is quite honestly more myth than fact.

 

Why should I have my dog neutered?

Neutering should be considered if you are keeping any male dog as a pet. Remember that Guide Dogs for the Blind, Hearing Dogs for Deaf People, and Dogs for the Disabled are routinely neutered.

What are the advantages of neutering my male dog?

·         Reduces the risk of prostate cancer and prostatitis

·         Reduces the risk of hormone-related diseases such as perianal adenoma

·         Eliminates the risk of testicular cancer, the second most common cancer in intact dogs

·         Removal of sexual urges, which usually decreases roaming behaviors

·         Reduction of certain types of aggression

Is neutering performed for any other reason?

The operation may be performed to treat testicular tumors and some prostate gland conditions. It is also used to control hormonal (testosterone) dependent diseases such as anal adenomas.

Neutering may also be used in an attempt to treat certain forms of aggression.

What are the disadvantages?

Most of the perceived disadvantages are false. The most quoted of these are that the dog will become fat, lazy, and useless as a guardian. Obesity is probably the most commonly quoted disadvantage of neutering. Obesity is the result of overfeeding and not exercising enough. By regulating your dog’s diet and caloric intake, you can prevent obesity in neutered or intact males.

Neutering doesn’t cause a change in personality, guarding instincts, intelligence, playfulness and affection.

When should the operation be performed?

Research reveals that neutering a pet at an early age does not cause any increased risk. Most veterinarians recommend neutering at around six months of age.

Is there any alternative to surgery?

There have been recent advances in non-surgical neutering. These involve injection of a compound directly into the testicle. You should discuss this treatment with your veterinarian to determine if it is appropriate for your pet.

Are there any dangers associated with the operation?

Neutering is considered a major operation and requires general anesthesia. With = modern anesthetics and monitoring equipment, the risk of a complication is very low. It has been said that your pet has a greater chance of being injured in a car wreck than having an anesthetic or surgical complication.

What happens when my dog undergoes this procedure?

Your pet will be examined by a veterinarian and pre-anesthetic blood tests will usually be performed. If everything is acceptable, your pet will then be anesthetized. Most pets will have an intravenous catheter placed to administer the anesthetic and to provide fluid therapy during the surgery. After your pet is anesthetized, a breathing tube will be placed in his trachea or “windpipe”. This will deliver oxygen and the gas anesthetic, most commonly isoflurane, directly into the lungs. The surgery consists of making a small incision in front of the scrotum and removing the testicles. Many veterinarians use absorbable internal sutures so that you do not have to return your dog to the hospital to have them removed.

Are there any post-operative precautions I should take?

Rest and restriction of activity are the primary post-operative care you should provide. Most dogs can resume normal activity five to ten days after surgery. Until then, leash walks, no swimming, bathing, running or climbing stairs and lots of rest are the rule.