What is the procedure?
‘Spaying’ is also known as an ovariohysterectomy. This means removal of the ovaries and uterus. This stops the bitch from having regular heat cycles and from being able to reproduce.
Should I get my bitch spayed?
Unfortunately, there is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to spaying and ongoing research means advice is constantly evolving. It is a decision that should be based on the age, breed and your aims as an owner, carefully considering the benefits and risks. If you are at all unsure, then don’t hesitate to discuss the decision with us at Orchard Vets.
So, what are the proven benefits?
When should I get her spayed?
It is generally advisable in most cases to allow a female dog to go through her first heat cycle, as this can reduce the risk of vaginitis due to a recessed vulva, and is thought to reduce the risk of urinary incontinence later in life (USMI). If you would particularly like to desex younger than this, for example if you think it will not be possible to prevent accidental mating, please arrange to discuss with one of the veterinary team.
If you have no intention to breed your female, we usually advise spaying between the first and second seasons/ heat cycles. This allows some of the benefits of a heat cycle, but still minimises the risk of mammary cancers and pyometra. The natural variation in the age of first heat between small breed dogs and larger breed dogs will generally ensure that all dogs are appropriately mature at this point.
The best time to spay is during anoestrus, which is generally about three months after a season. This may need to be delayed if physical or behavioural changes suggestive of false pregnancy occur.
What are the potential complications and risks of the procedure?
Spaying is one of the most common operations performed in veterinary practice. Providing the bitch is in good health and aftercare protocols are followed, serious complications are extremely uncommon. However, despite being a routine surgery, ovariohysterectomy is a major procedure and minor to major complications can occur, so it is important that you are aware of them.
A special mention: Rottweilers
There is some evidence to show that rottweilers are at an increased risk of bone cancer (osteosarcoma) after spaying.
What should I expect after the procedure?
Your bitch will go home the same day as the surgery. She will be given a buster collar or medishirt to prevent her from licking her incision. She will need to have her exercise restricted, only going out to the toilet on the lead for the first 3 days.
We will see her for a check up 3 and 10 days post surgery to make sure she has recovered from the anaesthesia and that there are no complications that need addressing. At the 3 day check up exercise will be discussed and gentle lead exercise may be advised depending on the progression of healing