Getting your dog fixed seems to frighten people for reasons unknown by many. However, more experienced pet owners seem to think of it as just another procedure. Truthfully, at any busy veterinary clinic the staff would tell you just that, its a major operation, but they are so commonly done you should expect nothing more than a routine visit.
Spaying or ovariohysterectomy is the term used to “fix” a bitch, (female dog). This is a surgical procedure in which an incision is made on the abdomen. Normally the cut is no more than a couple of inches long. The uterus and ovaries are either removed completely, or the ovaries are simply tied off with suture material, thus making it impossible for the female to reproduce.
Facts of Spaying
- No messy heat cycles to deal with. The bleeding usually lasts between 7 and 14 days.
- Males will more or less “ignore” your female rather than being attracted to her. Male dogs will be able to smell the scent of a female in heat. This attracts the male to prepare for breeding. If your female is within a yard, males can still invade your property only to mark their territory on plants, and trees. After some time this can begin stink.
- Pet population will maintain, which makes everybody happy.
- Spaying before the first heat cycle will also significantly reduce the chance of breast cancer in your dog.
- There is a condition that some dogs suffer from. It can happen if your female is not spayed, and goes through the regular heat cycles, but is never bred. Pyometra (pie-oh-mee-truh), which is an infection of the uterus lining. This usually makes the dog very ill, typically results in spaying the female, and has been known to be fatal.
Neutering or castration is the procedure used to “fix” a male dog. Neuter is also the generic term for “fixing” a male or female dog. This is a surgical procedure in which a tiny incision is made on the scrotum. The testicles are removed from the scrotal sac. After this is done, the incision which is barely even noticeable is typically glued with a surgical glue. Sometimes sutures may be used, but this is no longer common today. This will make it so the male dog is incapable of impregnating a female dog.
- Neutering will NOT “stunt” the growth of your male dog.
- Reduces the roaming/wandering of the male, as he will no longer go out of his way to seek the female in heat.
- Reduces territorial aggression. However, once a dog is mature and aggressive neutering may no longer help at a certain age.
- Territorial marking/spraying. Male dogs will mark their territory by urinating on objects such as: Trees, fences, vehicles, and the ever so popular fire hydrants. Again, as stated above once a dog is mature neutering may no longer resolve this issue.
- As with the female, the chance of cancerous tumors, except on the testicles will be significantly reduced if the male is neutered.
- There is a condition known as a cryptorchidism, this is when one or both testicles do not “drop”. The result for neutering is usually one or two incisions similar to a spay within the groin area of the dog. The incisions are very small, typically about an inch in length. Unfortunately, this procedure is normally more expensive than a regular neuter.
Most veterinarians prefer to wait until the dog is about six months old to spay or neuter. Some doctors will do the operation earlier on, such as humane societies. There is nothing wrong with doing it earlier than six months, but as all surgical procedures there are risks. These risks just increase when the dog is younger. It is more so up to the veterinarian, and their comfort zone.
On the day of surgery, you should not be alarmed when the veterinary staff tells you not to feed your pet the morning of, and possibly hold off of food until later that evening or the next morning. Since the animal is going under anesthesia, like with humans, eating may cause stomach upset. Also, the dog will be lying on its back during the procedure, usually with a tracheal tube in its throat for breathing assistance. Should your dog vomit, there may be complications. Also, do not be worried if a technician or doctor asks if you would like a ten panel. Although there is usually an extra charge for this, and it is a good idea especially for very young, and older dogs, it simply is a blood test to check the functions of the liver and kidneys, to make sure they will sustain anesthesia. If you decide to spay or neuter your dog, you should still speak with your veterinarian about any questions or concerns, as this article only touches on the basics.