Spaying your female pet prevents unwanted litters, provides them with a number of health benefits, and can also help to curb some undesirable behaviors. So, what does spaying entail and how long does it take? Our Tucson vets explain.
What is spaying?
Spaying (also called an ovariohysterectomy) is a surgery performed in order to remove a female pet's reproductive organs. During this common procedure, your veterinarian will remove the two ovaries, the uterine horns and the body of the uterus.
What are the benefits of spaying?
By spaying your pet you are eliminating the risk of unwanted litters. This is especially important in the case of outdoor female cats as they have the highest pregnancy risk.
Spaying also helps decrease the chance that your pet will suffer from a disease of the female reproductive system. The spay operation essentially removes the possibility of a severe infection of the uterus (pyometra). There is also evidence that pets who are spayed at a young age have a lower risk of developing breast cancer later in life.
What happens during a spaying procedure?
Spay procedures are done under general anesthesia. Prior to surgery, your vet will run the appropriate diagnostic tests to ensure your pet is healthy enough to safely go under for the operation.
Following the anesthesia, your pet will have the hair on their abdomen clipped and the skin thoroughly disinfected. The organs are then removed. Spays can be done laparoscopically (with surgical lasers) or with a traditional scalpel. Both methods are safe.
After the procedure is complete your pet's skin will be closed with skin glue, sutures (stitches), or surgical staples. Stitches or staples will need to be removed by your veterinarian 10 to 14 days following the procedure.
How long does spaying surgery take?
The procedure typically takes anywhere from 20 to 90 minutes to perform, depending on your pet's size and any unique medical considerations. In older pets or large-breed dogs, the procedure can take longer and may require two surgeons.
Although the actual procedure is relatively quick, you can typically expect your pet to spend a few hours at the hospital, allowing time for check-in, an initial physical assessment, the surgery itself, and time for recovery from anesthesia.
How long does spaying take to heal?
How long it takes your pet to recover from spaying will depend upon a number of factors and can vary. Most pets will start to feel better in 24 to 48 hours, but full recovery takes between 10 to 14 days. During this period you should aim to keep your pet calm and refrain from allowing them to jump, as this could cause the incision to reopen. The incision should be checked daily for signs of infection. If you notice redness, discharge, swelling, or a foul odor, contact your veterinarian.
You should also monitor your pet's behavior. If after 48 hours they still seem lethargic or are not eating or drinking it could be a sign of infection. Follow up with your veterinarian or bring them to an emergency veterinarian for care.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.