We were able to have a sit down with Dr. Melanie Wood so that she could give us some much needed information on spaying and neutering. Every veterinarian has their own specific way of doing things and we wanted to give you an insight into how things are done here at Main Street Animal Hospital. It is extremely important to get your pets spayed and neutered and we will give you the reasoning behind that! If this does not answer all of your questions please feel free to call us at (513) 843-7542 and we will be happy to answer your questions!
What is spaying/neutering?
Dr. Melanie Wood: Spaying refers to sterilizing a female animal by removing both ovaries and the uterus. Neutering refers to sterilizing a male animal in which both testicles are removed.
Why should I neuter/ spay my pet?
Dr. Wood: We highly recommend spaying or neutering your dog. We in the veterinary profession are deeply saddened by the number of unwanted pets that are euthanized in Cincinnati every year simply because there isn’t a home for them. In addition to cutting down on the unwanted pet population in the tri-state area, “fixing” your dog helps prevent a lot of other issues such as breast cancer, an infected uterus requiring costly emergency surgery, testicular cancer, prostatic hyperplasia, aggression disorders, some skin conditions and roaming away from the house that can lead to getting hit by a car or attacked by a dog or coyote.
When should I spay or neuter my pet?
Dr. Wood: Here at Main Street Animal Hospital, we do the procedure any time after 5-6 months of age, we like the animal to be of that age at least because they recover from surgery easier if they are not so tiny. Research is now saying there are benefits to waiting until 12-18 months when the pet is fully grown to aid in bone development. We are okay waiting this time frame as long as you understand the risks of waiting and know the potential for your animal to become pregnant if not careful!
When will my animal go into heat?
Dr. Wood: Every animal is unique, just like humans. Dogs usually experience their first heat cycle at 5-6 months of age. A heat cycle can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. A dog usually goes into heat twice a year. You will notice your dog’s vulva will become swollen and may discharge blood. A feline can go into heat as early as 4-5 months. Felines usually go into heat seasonally but can repeatedly go into heat every few weeks until they are stimulated by a male. A heat cycle can last between a few days to a few weeks. During this time frame, your cat may become more affectionate, lift her tail, and will become vocal.
What is the recovery of the procedure like?
Dr. Wood: Our patients go home the same day as the procedure since we do not have anyone here overnight to keep an eye on them. If you are concerned about being with them overnight then a 24 hour clinic always has the option of overnight monitoring! Patients receive pain medication prior to surgery to decrease any discomfort afterwards. To increase healing and reduce inflammation, each patient is treated with our therapeutic laser after surgery as well. In most cases, there are no visual stitches or staples that need to be removed. Keeping your pet calm and quiet for a week following surgery is important. A technician will go over discharge instructions as well as incision care when you come to pick up your pet.
Can you spay my pet during a heat cycle?
Dr. Wood: Yes. To prevent any further heat cycles from happening and to prevent your pet from becoming pregnant, Dr. Wood will gladly spay your pet during their heat cycle. No significant complications are expected for your pet during surgery but there is a chance of slightly more bleeding.
Should I expect behavior changes after the procedure?
Dr. Wood: While there is no guarantee that spaying or neutering you pet will help decrease unwanted behaviors; inappropriate mounting, inappropriate urination and fighting may subside for male dogs if done at an early age before the behaviors become a habit. Male cats are less likely to mark their territory or spray after neutering. A female’s metabolism may decrease slightly but like humans, a proper diet and exercise routine is important.
My animal only has one testicle, can he still be neutered?
Dr. Wood: Yes, being cryptorchid means that one or both of the animal’s testicles has not descended into the scrotum but remains in the abdomen and needs to be removed surgically. This is a more complicated procedure for the animal since it is now abdominal surgery. The recovery time and rest period is longer for your animal. If you leave the undescended testicle in the abdomen, there is a higher risk of a tumor developing in or around the undescended testicle. A cryptorchid animal should never be bred because this is a genetic defect and we want to eliminate this animal from passing on the issue to their pups.