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Dog Spay & Neuter - Everything You Need To Know About Spaying or Neutering Your Dog

What is the difference between dog spaying and neutering?

Dog spaying is the surgical procedure performed in female dogs to remove their ovaries and uterus, preventing them from procreating. On the other hand, dog neutering is a surgical procedure to remove a male dog's testicles, thereby preventing them from procreating.

Dr. Madelyn Lloyd
Ridgetowne Animal Clinic

How does spaying or neutering impact the health and well-being of my pet?

Spayed or neutered dogs typically live longer, healthier, and happier lives compared to unspayed dogs and cats.

How soon should I bring my pet in to see a veterinarian to get my dog spayed or neutered?

Usually, we can perform the procedure around five to six months, potentially up to a year to a year and a half. However, this time frame might be adjusted based on the size of your dog or any other behavioral issues.

What are some possible conditions that can be helped by spaying or neutering my dog?

In females, the earlier we spay, the fewer heat cycles they go through, significantly decreasing their chances of getting mammary cancer (breast cancer in humans). Spaying also completely removes the probability of them getting ovarian cancers or a uterine infection called a pyometra, which is a surgical emergency. For males, neutering eliminates the possibility of them getting testicular cancer and an inflammatory or hyperplastic condition of the prostate called benign prostatic hyperplasia.

How will spaying or neutering affect my dog in the future?

Spayed or neutered dogs will not be able to procreate. Major behavioral changes are not usually observed after the procedure. However, if there are behavioral issues such as aggression with other dogs or humping, primarily in males, the earlier we neuter, the better. So, in some situations, we might recommend neutering them when they are closer to six months old. As they grow older, many of these behaviors become more ingrained, and neutering them might not have the desired effects. However, it's worth noting that we often receive questions from people who are concerned that neutering will alter their cat's demeanor, but in reality, we generally don't see significant changes in behavior.

What will my veterinarian need to know about my dog before spaying or neutering?

It's essential to inform your veterinarian if your pet has any underlying illnesses or a previous history of anything significant. For females, it's useful to know if they're pregnant or in heat, which can alter the cost and risk of the procedure. We also offer the option of pre-anesthetic lab work, which is optional for our pets under seven years of age. This provides us with valuable information about your pet's overall health. It checks various parameters such as liver values, kidney values, blood sugar, electrolytes, white blood cell count, red blood cell count, and platelet count. This comprehensive overview helps ensure that your pet is in good health and can safely undergo anesthesia. It also allows us to make any necessary adjustments to the anesthesia plan if needed, providing an extra layer of safety and care for your pet.

How long will it take for my dog to recover from being spayed or neutered?

For our younger pets, typically around seven days, they are usually good to go. We always request that our surgical patients return for a follow-up appointment seven days after their spay or neuter procedure. This checkup is essential to examine their incision, ensure everything appears normal, and provide them with a clean bill of health. It also gives us the opportunity to remove the e-collar or cone and allow them to return to their normal activities. For our older pets, the recovery period might be a bit longer, possibly up to fourteen days. However, the majority of the time, these pets recover quickly and bounce back to their usual selves.

What care should I be prepared to provide at home while my dog is recovering from their spay or neuter surgery?

All spayed and neutered pets are sent home with an e-collar, often referred to as the "cone of shame," which they need to wear for a week to prevent them from licking the incision. This helps to avoid infection and the opening of stitches. At home, you'll need to keep them calm and confined, preventing running, jumping, or playing. In some cases, we may send home a calming medication, particularly for puppies that are exceptionally active.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (601) 856-3589, or you can email us at [email protected]. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can. Don't forget to follow us on social media Facebook, Instagram

Dog Spay & Neuter - FAQs

Dr. Madelyn Lloyd
Ridgetowne Animal Clinic

Will my veterinarian give me post-op instructions after my dog's spay or neuter surgery?

Yes, we provide discharge instructions for all of our spays and neuters. The veterinarian who conducts the procedure will also call you post-op to explain how the operation went and to discuss these instructions, which cover activity, cone usage, check-ups, and any other details relevant to your pet. We also provide written discharge instructions for you to review at your convenience.

How long is the recovery period after a dog's spay or neuter?

The recovery period typically lasts about a week. We ask that you return with your dog a week after the procedure so we can check the incision and ensure everything is healing correctly. In rare cases, such as with older patients, the recovery might take slightly longer.

Will my dog need pain medication at home after the spay or neuter?

Yes, we provide a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication that should be given to your dog twice daily for a week to manage pain. This can be started the night of the operation or the following morning, depending on whether your dog stays overnight. Female dogs undergoing spaying usually stay overnight, while male dogs who are neutered can go home the same day.

Will my dog gain weight after a spay or neuter?

No, spaying or neutering does not directly cause weight gain. Dogs around the age of spaying or neutering are entering adulthood, a time when they, like humans, might naturally put on a bit of extra weight. However, many spayed and neutered dogs maintain a healthy body condition with regular exercise and a balanced diet. We recommend monitoring your dog's food intake and adhering to the feeding guide provided with their food.

Will my dog's personality change after being spayed or neutered?

No, spaying or neutering does not alter a dog's personality or demeanor. However, neutering or spaying can help reduce certain behavior issues if done early enough. For instance, male puppies showing signs of aggression or excessive humping may benefit from neutering by six months of age. After this point, such behaviors may become ingrained and less likely to change after neutering or spaying.

Will my dog stop running away if I neuter him?

Partially, yes. If your dog runs away to mate, neutering should help mitigate this behavior. However, some dogs are natural escape artists and love to roam around. It can take a few weeks for the sex hormones to fully exit their system after neutering, but usually, a month or two after surgery, these hormones are completely out of their system. Please feel free to reach out if you have any other questions about post-op care following a dog's spay or neuter.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (601) 856-3589, or you can email us at [email protected]. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can. Don't forget to follow us on social media Facebook, Instagram

Dog Spay & Neuter - FAQs 2

Dr. Madelyn Lloyd
Ridgetowne Animal Clinic

How are dog spay surgeries performed?

For dog spays, please drop off your female dog in the morning between 7:30 to 8:00. A technician will guide you through the surgery and anesthesia consent forms, addressing any questions you may have. We will then insert an IV catheter into one of your dog's front legs, allowing us to administer IV medications. This includes pain medication mixed with anesthesia medications. Afterward, we will prepare the abdomen by shaving and sanitizing it aseptically. Next, we make a small incision into the abdomen, remove the ovaries and uterus, and close the abdomen with two to three layers of sutures. The dog then enters the recovery phase, during which we continuously monitor vital signs such as pulse ox, EKG, blood pressure, and capnograph to ensure the safety of the anesthesia. Additionally, we intubate all dogs undergoing spays and neuters to maintain an open airway, with access to oxygen and gas anesthesia as needed.

How are dog neuter surgeries performed?

The process for dog neuters is similar. You'll review consent forms with the technician in the exam room, and we'll place an IV catheter in one of the front legs. We'll then prepare the pre-scrotal and scrotal area by shaving and sanitizing. Afterward, we surgically remove both testicles and close the skin to the scrotum. Occasionally, there may be some post-surgery swelling in the scrotum, which can give the appearance that the testicles are still present, but they have been removed. All dog neuters are discharged on the same day after recovering from anesthesia. We keep dog spays overnight for close monitoring and recheck the incision the next day.

Will the spay or neuter be painful for my dog?

Like any surgery, we prioritize pain control for your dog. We administer pre-anesthetic medications and promptly initiate post-operative pain medication. As a result, the pain is typically minimal. Your dog will also receive pain medications to take home for a week.

Are there any complications to a spay or neuter surgery?

As with any surgical procedure, there are potential complications. These include a small risk of infection at the incision site, occasional bruising around the incision, or suture reactions that may occur within a week or up to two to three months post-surgery. Additionally, there can be fluid pockets called seromas, which resolve over time. We take measures to minimize anesthesia complications by closely monitoring your pet during the procedure, but there is always a small inherent risk.

How long does a spay or neuter take?

Typically, a dog's spay surgery takes about 30 minutes, potentially up to an hour for dogs in heat or larger breeds. Dog neuters are quicker, usually around 15 minutes.

What are some misconceptions about the spay and neuter process?

There are common misconceptions about spaying and neutering. One is that it changes your pet's personality, which is generally not the case. Behavioral changes may occur earlier in puppyhood, and if necessary, we recommend early neutering to address specific behaviors. However, as pets mature, their behavior and personality remain largely unchanged. Another misconception is that spaying and neutering lead to weight gain. While some pets may experience weight issues as they reach middle age, many castrated or spayed dogs maintain a healthy body condition score and remain active.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (601) 856-3589, or you can email us at [email protected]. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can. Don't forget to follow us on social media Facebook, Instagram

Dog Spay & Neuter - FAQs 3

Dr. Madelyn Lloyd
Ridgetowne Animal Clinic

Does my dog need to be spayed or neutered?

We would recommend it. If you're not showing your dog or breeding your dog, there are a lot of health risks that come with your pet being intact or un-spayed or un-neutered.

Why is spaying or neutering a dog so important?

There are a lot of health risks for female dogs, such as ovarian and mammary cancer, and a uterine infection called pyometra. Spaying your dog will remove all of those issues. For male dogs, neutering removes the risk of testicular cancer, decreases the chance of benign prostatic hyperplasia - a painful condition that can cause urinary issues - and reduces the likelihood of prostatic abscesses and hernias in the perineum. Overall, it's very helpful to increase the life expectancy of your dog.

Should I let my dog have a litter before I spay her?

My personal recommendation is no, unless you are using your dog for breeding or your dog is a show dog. I would recommend spaying or neutering before the possibility of them breeding. There are a lot of risks that come with carrying and delivering a litter. That also increases your female dog's chances of getting mammary cancer later in life.

My dog urinates all over the house. Will spaying or neutering help?

With male dogs, it may help if it's a marking or territorial issue. A lot of that you're probably going to see improvement as your pet gets older. A lot of it's a puppy potty training issue, which typically gets better with age and not necessarily with the spay or neuter.

Will spaying or neutering my dog prevent future illnesses?

Yes, as we mentioned, it can definitely prevent a lot of scary illnesses that are really all preventable by spaying or neutering your dog.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (601) 856-3589, or you can email us at [email protected]. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can. Don't forget to follow us on social media Facebook, Instagram

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