SPAYING AND NEUTERING
WHAT IS STERILIZATION/SPAYING/NEUTERING?
Sterilization in dogs/cats is a routine surgical procedure wherein the testicles of males (neutering) and ovaries+uterus of females (spaying) are removed. A veterinarian does the procedure while the animal is under sedation and general anesthesia. Sterilization is a method of population control for our own pets and for stray dogs/cats, which are at least 6 months old.
BENEFITS OF STERILIZATION
- Prevention of unwanted/unplanned pregnancies in female pet dogs/cats, which results in excessive litters.
- Humane population control for stray dogs/cats, which would facilitate the control of diseases that may be transmitted to humans (such as rabies, leptospirosis, scabies, fungal infections).
- Ease of providing the proper care for one or a few pets, compared to a large number of pets in a household.
- Prevention of pyometra (infection in the uterus) in female dogs/cats.
- Study shows that sterilized pets live longer compared to unfixed dogs/cats.
- Seasonal shedding for long haired dogs would be minimal.
ARE THERE HEALTH RISKS TO STERILIZATION?
Sterilization itself is a fast and simple procedure that is commonly done. However, just as with any surgical procedure in humans that involves sedatives and general anesthetics, the same health concerns exist for dogs/cats. Nevertheless, adverse reactions to the drugs are actually rare.
HOW WILL I KNOW IF MY PET IS FIT FOR SURGERY?
General health status and fitness for surgery is assessed based on the general appearance, agility and based on the clinical judgement of the surgeon.
WHAT SHOULD BE DONE ON THE DAY BEFORE STERILIZATION?
Fast your dog/cat from food and water from 12 o’clock on the evening before the day of surgery. This is an important step in preparing your pet for the coming surgery.
Upon booking your appointment, kindly inform the veterinarian if your male dog/cat has only one descended testicle. There are special considerations for animals with retained testicles.
SPAY/NEUTER POST-OPERATIVE CARE
HOW MANY HOURS WILL IT TAKE BEFORE A STERILIZED DOG/CAT FULLY RECOVERS FROM ANESTHESIA?
The time of recovery from the anesthesia varies per individual animal. Generally, the dog/cat should be fully awake approximately 6-10 hours after the surgery. Nevertheless, from one hour post-surgery, there should be visible signs of gradual recovery.
WHAT MUST BE DONE WHILE WAITING FOR A STERILIZED DOG/CAT TO RECOVER FROM THE ANESTHESIA?
Remember that recovery will be gradual. The animal will be uncoordinated and groggy for several hours. With this in mind, keep the dog/cat secure in a cage or a place where he/she is free from any danger. Do not tie/tether your pet to prevent accidental strangulation. Temporarily remove the food/water bowls and any other potential obstacles/structures (especially glass items) in the recovery cage/area that may injure the recovering dog/cat. Make sure the recovery cage/area is well ventilated, free from excessive heat, and safe from the rain. It should also be free from drafts, because an animal’s body temperature drops while under anesthetics. Monitor the recovering dog/cat at least hourly to make sure that he/she is relatively comfortable and recovering from the anesthesia.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE SIGNS THAT THE DOG/CAT IS RECOVERING FROM THE ANESTHESIA?
The initial signs of recovery would include twitching of the ears and blinking of the eyelids. After some hours, the dog/cat should be able to move his/her head and paws/legs. Eventually, the dog/cat will attempt to sit-up/stand and/or walk. Do remember that an animal is not fully recovered if he/she is still uncoordinated/groggy, or moves/barks/meows like a drunken human.
WHEN CAN A NEWLY STERILIZED DOG/CAT BE FED?
Feeding is only done once the dog/cat is fully awake, and fully capable of eating independently, and swallowing food and water properly. This would be approximately 6-10 hours after the surgery. First offer small amounts of water. Then offer a light meal (approximately one-third to one-half of his/her usual portion). Giving too much food or water too soon runs the risk of choking, vomiting, or indigestion. You may resume with the regular feeding portions the following day.
WHEN CAN A STERILIZED DOG/CAT BE BATHED?
Bathing can be done once the surgical wound is completely healed, and once the dog/cat has fully recovered from the operation. This would be about 7-10 days after surgery and/or after the sutures have been removed. Check with the veterinarian if you have to come back for suture removal.
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE FOR THE SURGICAL WOUND TO HEAL?
Healing time varies with every individual animal. It is influenced by age, sex and general health. It usually takes between 5-10 days to heal completely. Proper post-operative care and management is important during this period after surgery.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE IMPORTANT REMINDERS FOR THE FIRST 5-10 DAYS AFTER SURGERY?
Follow the veterinarian’s prescription and instructions, if any. Usually, there will be a prescription for antibiotics and notes on wound cleaning. Inquire with the veterinarian after the surgery.
Inspect the wound once to twice daily to make sure that it is healing properly and that there are no signs of infection.
Allow the dog/cat to rest and recuperate, especially on the first three days after surgery.
No running and jumping and excessive playing, especially during the first five days after surgery. This is to prevent jarring and bleeding of the operated internal tissues/structures.
No licking, nibbling, or biting of the surgical wound or sutures. This is to prevent infection of the wound and dehiscence of the sutures. If necessary, let your dog/cat wear an e-collar or buster collar to prevent him/her from reaching the surgical wound.
Keep the surgical wound and surrounding areas clean and dry. This is to prevent infection. If the area accidentally gets wet, gently wipe/dab it with cotton or a clean cloth to dry it. If the area gets dirty, gently clean it using hydrogen peroxide.
Do not allow flies to hover about or lay their eggs on or around the surgical wound.
CONSULT THE VETERINARIAN IMMEDIATELY IF YOU NOTICE ANY OF THE FOLLOWING DURING THE FIRST TWO WEEKS AFTER STERILIZATION:
- Pus, excessive swelling and pain, continuous bleeding, or dehiscence of stitches from or in the surgical wound
- depression or lethargy
- loss of appetite and/or water intake
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