Dog Spay Surgery Explained
Spaying will prevent male guests to your door and unwanted pregnancies
Your puppy is growing very fast and now that she is reaching near her six months, you are debating on if she should be spayed or not. As a new dog owner, this questioning may be quite normal, you love your dog but yet you fear the surgery, the anesthetic and the recovery phase. Yet, on a corner of your mind you envision your dog having puppies at least once, the joy of birth and the cuddling with the pups. On another hand, you have also heard about the importance of spaying in avoiding more unwanted dogs from shelters. So, at some point you may feel quite overwhelmed on making the big decision.
Before, discussing the pros and cons of spaying it is important to debunk some very common myths around about spaying dogs. These are some of the most common:
''Spayed dogs get fat"
This is not true. Dogs become fat because they are fed more than they are supposed to be fed. Dogs also become fat because they are under exercised. If as an owner you provide the normal quantity of food you pet needs while offering a regular exercise regimen, your dog will remain slim as it was meant to be.
''Spaying is a risky surgery''
Spaying is a routine surgery. Some veterinarians working for shelters can spay a lot of dogs each day with no complications. The risks of a dog dying from a spay surgery are very low. Of course, do your research well and find a good veterinarian with a good reputation.
''Spaying makes dogs lazy''
Dogs do not get lazy from being spayed, they get lazy if their life offers no stimulus. If allowed to stay all day at home with nothing to do a then yes, a dog will get lazy. Rest assured that if you provide daily walks and some activities like playing fetch, your dog will not get lazy. Lazy dogs are often the by-product of lazy people.
Pros of Spaying:
- No More heat cycles
Heat cycles in dogs can be quite messy, some dogs get pretty heavy flows. With no more heat cycles, no more irritability, no more need for doggie diapers and no more stained carpets.
- Less dogs in Shelters
Each year thousands of unwanted puppies are born. Some may be adopted because of being cute and cuddly but there are way more puppies than housholds considering to adopt pets. It is a disgrace that countless happy and healthy dogs are put to sleep every day in shelters because of irresponsible dog owners.
- No more Attracting Males
Males can sniff a female in heat even from miles away. Going to the dog park may be quite an adventure with all the intact males interested in her. Even a thing simple as a walk may turn into an annoying hassle if your neighbors have males nearby.
- Longer Life Expectancy
When dogs give birth to puppies over and over, they weaken in the long term and also become vulnerable to various health conditions. Ideally, spaying before the first heat will dramatically lower the chances of getting mammary cancer. However, even spaying at a later time will contribute to significantly lowering the chances.
- No more Complications
Pyometra is a serious and potentially fatal infection of the uterus. Because the uterus is removed during a spay surgery, the chances of getting pyometra are close to none. The same principle applies to potentially deadly tumors of the ovaries and uterus.
- A better Disposition
Once the dog is spayed, all of the hormones are out of the way, making your dog much calmer and easier to deal with. Many owners even notice their dog becomes more cuddly and loving.
- No More False Pregnancies
Sometimes when dogs are are not mated they may resort to simulating a pregnancy. This annoying and stressful behavior is avoided with spaying.
Cons of Spaying a Female Dog
- You must Pay For it
It must be admitted, spaying can turn out to be a pretty costly especially if you get it done in a veterinary hospital setting. However, it is done only once and ultimately lasts a lifetime. Spaying can be considered as an investment in health and peace of mind. There are more and more low cost spay and neuter clinics popping up nation wide. Ask your nearest Humane Society for a referral. Many offer spay surgeries for less than 60 dollars. If your dog is in heat or pregnant however, the price may go slightly up.
- Your Dog Must go Under
Yes, as already mentioned your dog must go under anesthesia. However, it is a very routine spay so hundreds of spays are routinely performed in clinics safely each day. This does not make the procedure fail proof but the benefits of the spay procedure greatly outweigh the health risks associated with keeping a female dog intact.
- There may Be some Pain
Of course, with any surgery there may be some pain involved. Your vet may prescribe some pain meds if she seems particularly uncomfortable. You will also have to monitor your dog for licking the wound and keep her quite for the first few days.
As seen, the pros of spaying by far, outweight the cons. If you are debating on spaying your dog, please do the dog population, yourself and your dog a big favor and have the procedure done. Many reputable breeders are putting the requirement of spaying and neutering the puppies they sell on their contracts. More and more vets offer early spay programs where dogs as young as a few months old can be spayed. Doing so offers faster recovery times while minimizing the chances of getting your dog pregnant. Consult with your vet on the proper age to spay.
Things To Ask Your Vet Prior
Sometimes dogs are not spayed as puppies but further along the road, when older. Owners that are particularly preoccupied about the procedure should focus on asking their vets the following:
1) Ask for isoflurane anesthesia. This anesthetic is one of the safest and has been used in human infant surgery for years. It is particularly recommended in dogs beyond five years of age because of it's safety margin.
2) Ask for pre-anesthetic blood work. This blood work is usually done a day before or even the morning before surgery and checks for blood sugar, kidney values, and red blood cell count. This blood work will rule out underlying conditions that can cause anesthetic complications when the pet is under.
3)Ask if an oximeter is used when your dog is under. This helpful instrument ensures proper oxygenation of the blood.
4) Ask if fluids can be given as necessary. This will help the pet's hydration level and help him recover faster by flushing out the anesthetic.
5) Ask if your dog is placed on a nice warm water pad after surgery. Pets lose temperature fast after surgery and need to be kept warm.
6) Ask for pain medication-. It can be given prior to surgery and you can have some to take home with you in case of pain following surgery. Nothing is worse than having a dog in pain when the vet office is closed.
7) Last but not least, this depends on you. Ask yourself if you followed carefully the protocol of not feeding your dog the night prior surgery. Most hospitals will tell you not to feed anymore food or treats after 6PM the night prior. Water is acceptable. This is vital as it prevents from vomiting and inhaling stomach contents during surgery. Please make sure that non of your family members gave any food or treats. If your dog did eat you will need to reschedule the surgery.
Spay Surgery (viewer discretion advised)
After the spay surgery your dog may still appear to be a bit wobbly from the anesthesia if you pick her up the same day. She may walk uncoordinated for the few first hours and appear to be in a ''drunk'' like state. Keep her safe in a small room and keep a close eye on her. Do not keep her near stairs or places where she may get hurt. Do not let her jump on and off furniture.
Once walking better, you want to monitor the incision site. Prevent her from licking by using an e-collar (most vets can fit her with one for you) or as an alternative, apply some bitter apple spray around the stitches, but never on top because it may burn. If she continuously attempts to lick tell her a firm ''no''. Having her sleep nearby your bed if feasible for the first few nights may be helpful.
Baths should be avoided during the first few weeks.
Sometimes a little bit of blood may be seen seeping through the stitches. If this is just a drop or two keep an eye on it and make sure the bleeding stops within a minute or two. If there is blood oozing out and will not stop, have her seen by a vet immediately, she may have an underlying blood disorder that needs addressed immediately.
Opened stitches should also be treated immediately. Some dogs may need to go under again to get the area stitched up again. For this reason you want to keep a very careful eye on her the first few days and keep quiet. A crate may be helpful for the first couple of days.
Spay recovery, awakening from surgery
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