Myth – It’s healthier for my female dog/cat to have a litter before she is spayed.
Truth – Having a litter will put your pet at risk of having a trouble giving birth, potentially needing a c-section, and when you do decide to have them spayed, they will have a more involved, complex surgery with larger blood vessels and higher risk for complications.
Myth – My male dog won’t feel manly if I neuter him!
Truth – Your male dog or cat has no attachment to their testicles. Most pets recover very quickly from their neuter surgeries.
Myth – My dog will gain weight after she/he is spayed/neutered.
Truth – As dogs mature, they are no longer as active as they were as a puppy. With less activity your dog will start to gain weight. The amount of food your dog is fed in a day should be relative to their activity level. Also switching from a puppy food to an adult food by 12 months of age will be helpful in decreasing the number of calories your dog gets in a day. (Same goes for cats.)
Myth – They won’t get the mothering instinct to be a good dog without having a litter.
Truth – Female dogs either are the mothering type or not. Having a heat or a litter will not change this. There are actually female dogs who have a litter who are bad mothers!
Myth – Their personality will change once they are spayed/neutered.
Truth – Your dog or cat’s personality won’t change after they are neutered or spayed. As they mature they will settle into their own, but your cuddly cat will still be cuddly and your goofy active dog will still be goofy and active.
Myth – My dog won’t grow enough if I neuter him early.
Truth – Dogs neutered before 6 months actually tend to be taller since their long bones continue to grow when their testicles are removed and there is less focus on secondary sex characteristics.
We always encourage you to bring up your questions or concerns when it comes to your pets health! We want you to be informed about the decisions you make in regards to your pet!
Who’s a fan of Bob Barker and The Price is Right? Bob Barker is a big fan of spaying and neutering your pets! He always made sure to end the show by reminding everyone to have their pets spayed and neutered to help control pet overpopulation!
Pet overpopulation is a problem! There are thousands of cats and dogs that go through shelters on a yearly basis. They get surrendered for a number of reasons, one of which being having too many pets! Many times litters of kittens especially are found and brought in to the OSPCA or humane society in an attempt to find them homes. It is unfortunate, but many cats and dogs are euthanized each year because there just aren’t enough homes for them.
What can you do to help? Have your pet spayed or neutered!
So what happens when you leave your pet at the Egan Fife Animal Hospital for their spay or neuter surgery? Here’s a brief explanation of your pet’s day:
The night before surgery you will be asked not to feed your cat or dog after 8 pm, this means no breakfast. Water is okay until they come in.
The morning of your pet’s surgery you will drop them off between 8:30 and 9:00 am. You will meet with one of our veterinary technicians who will go over a few questions with you, as well as any of your concerns. Your pet is then admitted to the hospital for the day.
The veterinarian performing the surgery will do a pre-surgical exam listening to their heart and lungs, checking for any deciduous (baby) teeth that may need to come out, checking for abdominal hernias that need repair and making sure your pet is in good health for their anesthetic and surgery.
If you have opted to have bloodwork done on your pet (or if it is an older dog or cat in which the veterinarian has required bloodwork prior to anesthesia), they have a small amount of blood drawn, which is immediately run through our in-house laboratory equipment. Within 10-15 minutes the doctor has results to review. As long as they have no concerns, they will decide on sedation medications for your pet.
(Above: Our in-house laboratory)
Your pet will be pre-medicated with a sedative and pain medication prior to surgery. This allows them to have pain medication on board even at the start of surgery, and sedation allows them to relax prior to be putting under general anesthesia.
Once the premedication has had time to work your pet will have an IV catheter placed so that IV fluids can be run during surgery to help maintain hydration and blood pressure during surgery, and also to give immediate IV access in case any additional medications need to be given.
Next your pet will be put under gas anesthetic for the duration of their surgery. Monitoring equipment is placed to monitor their heart rate and oxygen saturation while your pet is prepared for surgery.
In female dogs and cats the hair on their abdomen is shaved, in male dogs the space in front of their scrotum is shaved, and in male cats the hair on their scrotum is removed as these are the locations of the incisions for each surgery. These areas are then cleaned to be aseptic for surgery.
Your pet is moved to the surgical suite where they are hooked up to further monitoring equipment, and also placed on a warming mat to keep their body temperature as normal as possible during surgery.
During the entire surgery a veterinary technician monitors your pet’s vital signs while the veterinarian performs surgery.
In female dogs and cats an incision is made into the abdomen. Both ovaries which are the hormone and egg-producing organ in females is located. There is a vascular attachment to each ovary that has to be tightly tied off prior to releasing the ovaries attachment to your pet’s body. The rest of the uterus is then exposed – this is the part of the body that holds fetuses and can also develop deadly infections called pyometra. There are lots of blood vessels associated with the uterus and ovaries, and these blood vessels are larger in mature animals that have gone through one or more heat cycles. Once the ovaries and uterus are removed and the doctor has checked that there is no bleeding, the abdomen is closed in 3 layers. All of our doctors use intradermal suture patterns so there are no external sutures to be removed in most of our patients.
In male dogs the testicle is pushed forwards to the prescrotal region where an incision is made over the testicle. The testicle which makes hormones including testosterone, as well as sperm also has a large vascular attachment to the body. These blood vessels are tied off with suture material prior to the testicle being removed from the body. The same procedure is performed on the other testicle through the same incision. Like with female dogs, the more mature the dog, the larger the blood vessels are that need to be tied off. This incision is then closed in 2 layers. Like our spay surgeries, out neuters also do not have external sutures to be removed.
Male cats have incisions over the scrotum rather and their testicles are tied with special knots that do not require suture material. Unlike our other spays and neuters, their incisions are left open to heal by second intention, and no suture material is used.
Once your pets surgery is done they are given another injection of pain medication, and will have their nails trimmed prior to waking up. We also offer microchip implanting at this time so that your pet can be identified if they ever get lost.
Laser therapy is another option for your pet as they are recovering from their anesthetic. The therapeutic laser is used over the surgical incision to help decrease pain and inflammation and to help speed healing after surgery.
Your pet is then moved to a recovery kennel where a technician sits with them while they start to wake up. They are also given warm packs if they are cold, and extra blankets while they recover.
Once they are able to sit up and move around, they are taken off their IV fluids and dogs are taken outside for a walk. They rest the remainder of the afternoon until you come back to pick them up. At that time a veterinary technician will go over the pain medications we send home with your pet after surgery, and the discharge instructions including exercise restriction.
We recommend you bring your pet back about 10 days after their surgery for the doctor to check their incision to make sure they are healing well after surgery. This post-surgery recheck is complimentary for each of our surgeries.
If you have any other questions about spay or neuter procedures, make sure to ask your veterinarian at your next appointment.
Recommended by Dr. Montgomery
I'm going to start us off with our new Friday Favourites with a toy my dogs love!
We’ve had the Kong Wobbler for many years, and with just a small handful of kibble and sometimes the occasional treat mixed in for smell, they will spend lots of time batting this toy around the house or yard!
Unlike the traditional rubber Kong toy, this one is a solid plastic and is very durable. It has a weighted bottom so will always right itself. It has a single small kibble hole to release treats.
Your dog can bat it with their paw or push it with their nose to get the treats out. They can’t just shake it upside down and squeeze to get the cookies out like they could with the original Kong.
These toys are great for rainy days (or snowy days), or when you are tired and your dog has enough energy to run a marathon! Set them up with their Kong Wobbler and they'll have a blast using their brain to try to figure out how to get the treats, and some exercise moving it around the house.
Below: My dog Luna playing with her Kong Wobbler.
Spaying and neutering cats and dogs is very important for their individual health, but also for preventing behaviour issues and for population control.
We spend a lot of time discussing spaying and neutering with our clients – from why we recommend it, to when it is recommended, and what happens during the procedure. We will go through more of this throughout the month, but today I want to discuss why it is important to YOU and YOUR pet that they get spayed or neutered.
Health benefits for females - It is true that female dogs and cats, like women, can get breast cancer! Spaying your female dog or cat before their first heat almost completely eliminates the risk of them ever getting breast cancer. Here are the some statistics to think about from the American College of Veterinary Surgeons:
In female dogs 50% of these tumors will be benign and 50% will be malignant. In cats 85% of these tumors will be malignant, meaning they are invasive and cause more severe disease.
I wish I could tell you breast cancer is rare in pets, but in the 14 months that I have been working at the Egan Fife Animal Hospital, I have found mammary tumors in at least three dogs and one cat (this is not including cases other veterinarians in our clinic have seen). All of these pets were intact. Please spay your pets!
The other major concern for female dogs and cats is pyometra. Pyometra is a severe infection of the uterus in which the uterus is full of pus. This can cause a very sick pet that requires surgery (a spay!) to remove the infected uterus. Even after removing the infected uterus your pet will still take many days to recover from the infection as well as now having to recover from a major surgery.
Health benefits for male dogs include removing the risk of testicular cancer as well as helping to prevent prostate enlargement that can cause your dog significant disease which requires neutering to remove the hormones causing the problem. If your pet is a cryptorchid, meaning one or both testicles did not descend into the scrotum, neutering is even more important! Testicles that stay within the abdominal cavity are 13 times more likely to become cancerous, so removing them when your cat or dog is neutered is key to your pet’s health.
In some ways the more important benefit for male dogs and cats is the behavioural aspect. Male dogs and cats are apt to roam the neighbourhood in search of their perfect mate! Male dogs and cats will stop at nothing to get to a female in heat! Tragically, intact males are much more likely to get hit by a car in their pursuit of a mate.
Male cats also develop very strong smelling urine that makes them less suitable to living indoors. They also like to spray to mark their territory that for most people is unacceptable in the house.
Overall, spaying and neutering will make your cat or dog a better family pet and will help prevent serious diseases!
Weekends, Holidays and After-hours we are available 24 hours daily 365 days a year at our location for local service by your veterinary team. Please call our office in case of emergency.
Please note - Weekend, Holiday and After-hour service is offered only to current clientele who have not transferred their files to another facility and whose animals are a patient of our practice that has been examined by one of our doctors in the past 24 months.
Check out our social media pages on Facebook and Pinterest for some educational information. Follow us on both to stay caught up on our current awareness campaigns.
Egan Fife Animal Hospital