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Spaying your dog or cat

Spaying your dog or cat

Female dogs are recommended to be neutered prior to their first season (so around 6 months old) or at least 2 months post season. Female cats can be neutered from 14 - 16 weeks old as per ISFM guidelines and ideally not when in season and before access to outdoors.

  • Prevents the female coming into season and so males will not be attracted to them and for cats they are less likely to roam
  • The risk of mammary gland tumors, ovarian and/or uterine cancer is reduced or eliminated especially if done before the first season
  • It also eliminates the risk of pyometra which can be a life threatening infection of the womb and is common in older female dogs that haven’t been spayed
  • Prevents unwanted pregnancies

Castration in your dog and cat

Recommended from 5 months and older. We advise for cats to be castrated before being let outside.  

  • Reduction of unwanted sexual behavior (such as spraying and desire to roam in cats)
  • For dogs and cats, the risk of testicular cancer in castrated animals is eliminated and the risk of prostate disease is reduced
  • Reduction in the number of unwanted litters
  • It can decrease aggressive behavior depending on the cause

Spaying and castration of rabbits

Rabbits can be castrated or spayed from around 4 months old depending on the individual size. 

  • Eliminate the risk of uterine tumours in females so increasing life expectancy
  • Prevents unwanted litters in multi rabbit household
  • Reduces aggression in both males and females and enables pair bonding as are calmer and more relaxed.

Which procedure to choose for spaying?

For female dogs there are two options for spaying: midline laparotomy (incision into the underside of the abdomen) or the alternative is to remove the ovaries via laparoscopy (keyhole surgery). This procedure is less invasive and involves smaller wounds, with reduced post operative pain and quicker recovery time.

How long for recovery?

Neutering procedures are carried out between Monday - Friday. Recovery at home from the anaesthetic normally only takes a day or so but the wound can take up to around 10 days to fully heal so restricted exercise during this time is recommended. The necessary follow up checks and pain relief are included.

Feel free to book in to speak to a nurse or vet to discuss neutering and to answer any questions you may have.

What is a Laparoscopic Spay?

Laparoscopic spay is an alternative to the traditional or "open" method of spaying which has a number of advantages.

With a traditional spay, known as ovariohysterectomy, the ovaries and the uterus are removed through an incision in the mid abdomen which varies from approximately 5-15cm long depending on the size of the dog.  

With a laparoscopic spay, two small incisons 0.5-1cm long are made to allow the entry of a fibre optic camera and an instrument port. The ovaries are then removed with the help of a blood vessel sealing device. This is known as ovariectomy. The procedure is performed using the help of a TV monitor just as in human keyhole surgery.

There are a number of benefits to the laparoscopic spay.

  • The incisions are smaller and there is less "tugging" on the internal organs which means that the procedure is significantly less painful than a traditional spay and subsequently the anaesthetic is smoother.
  • The recovery is faster and there is less post operative pain due to the smaller incisions.
  • Dogs do not normally need to wear an Elizabethan collar after surgery as the incisions are so small and dissolvable stitches are used.
  • Dogs can return to normal life more quickly, usually just a week of lead walks is advised. 

The question often asked is can dogs still get a pyometra or womb infection if just the ovaries are removed?

The answer is no, once the ovaries are removed there is no more hormonal influence on the uterus and it will not become infected. Instead it atrophies or shrivels up. Just removing the ovaries or ovariectomy has been performed for decades in many European countries using an open incision.

Are there any disadavantages of laparoscopic spay? 

The only slight disdavantage is that area which is clipped or shaved is larger with a laparoscopic spay than with a normal spay as access to the side of the abdomen is required. Also a laparoscopic spay is a little more expensive due to the advanced training and expertise required to perform the procedure.

Can a laparascopic spay be performed on any size of dog?

At Grove Lodge we have performed many hundreds of laparascopic spays on dogs ranging from 1.5kg to 60 kg so almost any dog is suitable for the procedure. However in overweight dogs or tiny dogs the procedure is more difficult and there is a small chance that conversion to an open spay may be required.