Pet Spaying Or Neutering: What To Expect

Spaying or neutering your pet can help control your household pet population, reduce the burden on local animal shelters, and protect your pet's health and wellness. If you've never had a pet sexually sterilized, however, you may not know what to expect from any aspect of these safe, tried-and-true procedures. Here is an introduction to the benefits, processes, and recovery periods associated with pet spaying and neutering.

What to Expect for Your Pet's Well-Being

Spaying or neutering does far more than just keep unwanted litters of puppies or kittens from crowding your home. For one thing, the reproductive organs are vulnerable to (or involved in) a number of serious health threats. Some of the more aggressive and deadly cancers that endanger pets include ovarian, testicular, and uterine cancer. By removing these organs, your vet is also removing that cancer risk. Since the hormones produced by these organs can also contribute to mammary cancer or prostate disease, sterilization surgery reduces your pet's risks for these conditions as well. Yet another benefit involves behavior modification. Animals in heat tend to roam strange streets and get into fights with other animals. Spay or neuter surgery can remove these compulsions, allowing your pet to lead a safer life.

What to Expect From the Process

If possible, you want to schedule spay or neuter surgery before your pet becomes sexually mature — not only to start reaping the benefits early on, but also because heat cycles can make spay surgery more difficult. Neutering takes only a few minutes, but spay surgery can take anywhere from 20 minutes to 1.5 hours. Your vet will probably instruct you to withhold food from your pet after a certain time of night. This helps to prevent the food from coming back up while your pet is anesthetized. If your pet requires regular medication, ask your vet whether you should keep administering these dosages before surgery.

What to Expect During Recovery

You can usually take a spayed or neutered pet home as soon as the anesthesia has started to wear off, although some cases might warrant overnight observation at the vet clinic. You'll receive prescriptions for antibiotics and painkillers to help your pet enjoy a smoother recovery. Your vet may also attach a conical neck collar to your pet. This device may look odd and awkward, but it helps to keep your pet from licking or chewing at the incision. You'll want to wait at least 10 days after surgery before bathing your pet. It's a good idea to discourage physical actions such as running or jumping for about 2 weeks. If you see redness, oozing, or other signs of an incision problem, take your pet back to the clinic for evaluation.

Now that you understand the benefits and processes of spay and neuter surgery, don't put off that call to your local veterinary center. Schedule surgery for your beloved pet as soon as reasonably possible!