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Understanding Spays: by Dr. Mariana Zietsman

March 6, 2017 by Helderkruin Vet

The medical term for a spay is an ovariohysterectomy. It is also referred to as sterilisation. It is the complete surgical removal of the female reproductive tract, which includes the ovaries, uterine horns and the uterus.

When is the right time to spay my dog/cat?

A spay is preformed before 6 months of age. There is firm medical research  indicating that if a spay is preformed before your pet’s first oestrus cycle (heat) chances of developing of mammary gland cancer later in life are nearly  zero. There is no medical evidence that having a litter of pups is beneficial. It will only increase your dogs risk of developing mammary cancer.

What are the benefits of having my pet spayed?

The most common reason is to prevent unwanted offspring’s. Other advantages include:

  • Eliminating unwanted behaviour—Oestrus:

During the heat cycle there are behavioural and hygienic problems that develop. Female cats will attract male cats by vocalising loudly and will do so every 14-21 days until she is mated. Intact cats are also at risk of contracting diseases such as FIV/FELV due to courtship fighting. Bitches in heat will actively search for males and may attempt to escape putting them in danger of fights with other animals and traffic.

  • Mammary cancer:

Oestrogen is one of the primary causes of mammary caner. Animal spayed early very rarely develop this malignancy.

  • Tumours of the reproductive tract:

Removing the ovaries and uterus eliminates any possibility of these occurring.

  • Utererine infection (pyometra)

This is a severe, potentially fatal disease where the uterus fills with puss. Spaying eliminates this from occurring.

How should I care for my dog or cat at home after a spay?

When home only offer small amount of food & water

Do not allow other pets & children to pester her

Do not allow your pet to lick the wound, because it could lead to infection

Check wound, daily for infection. Signs of infection include: redness, swelling or discharge

Do not allow swimming for at least 10 days after surgery or until her skin sutures have been removed.

“Spaying your pet will not change their personality”



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