Spaying is an operation to remove the ovaries and womb of a female dog. After the operation she will not have seasons, and cannot have puppies. Spaying stops unwanted litters of puppies from being born.
There are also good health reasons for the operation. Spaying before the second season will almost certainly prevent breast cancer. If a bitch is not spayed she runs a high risk of getting a serious womb infection later in life called pyometra. This condition means that the dog will need an emergency spay operation when she is very ill. This can be avoided by early spaying.
It is important to know that spayed bitches need less food than before they had the operation. Most people find that by reducing their dog’s food intake by about 25-30% they can keep their dog slim. Your bitch will be weighed at the time of the operation. You might like to take advantage of the free nurse clinics at Meridian and check your dog’s weight a month after the operation, or at any time you are concerned to be sure that you are feeding the correct amount. Studies suggest that spaying has no effect on a bitch’s temperament.
In some bitches the neck of the bladder closes less tightly than before the operation, allowing urine to leak out when the dog lies down. This passive leaking is more common in spayed than unspayed bitches. It is controlled easily with drops or tablets in the vast majority of cases. This urine leaking problem also happens in unspayed bitches.
We recommend the best time is three months after the first season. This allows the bitch to reach full maturity first. However, if you are worried there is any chance your dog could get pregnant by delaying the operation, we will consider spaying from 6 months of age – please ask one of the vets about the pros and cons of this.
A free consultation is arranged with one of the vets a few days before the surgery. The vet will check your bitch thoroughly to make sure she is fit for an anaesthetic. Her weight is checked and recorded. Please feel free to use this visit to ask about any aspect of the procedure you don’t understand or are concerned about.
On admission your bitch is settled into a kennel with a comfortable blanket. A pre-med injection which also contains a very strong painkiller is given to relax her. Once the pre-med has taken effect the anaesthetic is given into pre-placed catheter in the vein in her front leg. We need to shave some hair from the leg to do this.
The operation is carried out on our heated operating table in our scrupulously clean operating theatre. During the procedure a nurse constantly monitors your dog. Under veterinary supervision, the nurse measures the breathing, heart, colour and reflexes and keeps a written record. We also use a pulse oximeter which constantly monitors you dog’s pulse and blood oxygen levels.
In the vast majority of cases your dog will be able to go home on the day of the operation. When you collect your dog you will notice a shaved area under her tummy. We use dissolving stitches in several layers. We usually do all the stitching internally so there are no external skin sutures to be removed.
Your bitch will get 2 types of pain killer. The first is a shorter acting but very strong analgaesic which is given in the pre-med, on recovery and as needed in the next few hours. A longer acting (24 hour) pain killer is also given before the operation. We also send bitches home with at least 5 days of pain killers.
Full care instructions will be given when you collect you dog. She will need complete rest for the first night and limited lead exercise only for 10 days. Your dog will be checked 3-5 days after the operation.