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Getting Your Dog Fixed - Guide to Spaying or Neutering Your Pet

Many new dog owners wonder if they should spay or neuter their puppies. Our veterinarians in Pittsboro can explain that fixing your dog not only prevents unwanted puppies but can also have positive effects on their behavior and overall health.

When should I get my dogs spayed or neutered? 

Timing is crucial when it comes to spaying and neutering your dog. Typically, it's recommended to schedule the procedure when your dog is around six months old. However, the optimal timing can depend on factors such as breed, size, and health status.

Consulting your veterinarian is the best way to determine when to schedule the procedure, as it's important to understand that spaying and neutering are vital for your pet's well-being.

Why is it important to get them fixed?

These procedures not only prevent unwanted litters but also help reduce pet overpopulation. Additionally, they offer numerous health and behavioral benefits for your furry friend.

Dogs that have been spayed or neutered are less likely to exhibit aggression, roam, or develop certain reproductive-related health issues, such as mammary tumors or testicular cancer.

What is the difference between spaying and neutering?

It's important to understand that "fixing your dog" refers to spaying or neutering.

Spaying Female Dogs

Spaying entails the removal of a female dog's reproductive organs through either an ovariohysterectomy (removal of both uterus and ovaries) or an ovariectomy (removal of only the ovaries). After spaying, female dogs will not be able to have puppies.

Neutering Male Dogs

Neutering involves the removal of both testicles and associated structures, rendering the dog unable to reproduce.

What are the benefits of spaying or neutering dogs?

There are many benefits of spaying or neutering a dog that pet parents should be aware of. Here are just some of the benefits:

Benefits of Spaying (Females)

  1. Prevents Unwanted Pregnancies: Spaying eliminates the risk of unplanned litters, helping to control pet overpopulation and reduce the number of animals in shelters.
  2. Reduces Risk of Certain Cancers: Spayed female dogs have a significantly lower risk of developing mammary tumors, especially if the procedure is performed before their first heat cycle. Additionally, eliminating the risk of uterine infections (pyometra) through spaying can prevent life-threatening medical emergencies.
  3. Eliminates Heat Cycles: Female dogs in heat can experience behavioral changes and physical discomfort. Spaying eliminates these heat cycles, leading to a calmer and more contented pet.
  4. Decreases Roaming: Unspayed female dogs may exhibit increased roaming behavior in search of mates during their heat cycles. Spaying helps reduce this urge to roam, decreasing the risk of accidents, injuries, and lost pets.

Benefits of Neutering (Males)

  1. Controls Aggression and Roaming: Neutering can reduce aggressive behavior, including dominance-related aggression and territorial marking. It also decreases the tendency to roam in search of mates, which can help prevent accidents, fights, and lost pets.
  2. Prevents Testicular Cancer: By removing the testicles, neutering eliminates the risk of testicular cancer, a common concern for intact male dogs as they age.
  3. Reduces Prostate Problems: Neutering reduces the risk of prostatic diseases, including benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and prostatitis, which can cause discomfort and urinary issues in male dogs.
  4. Curbs Undesirable Behaviors: Neutering can help mitigate behaviors such as mounting, urine marking, and aggression towards other dogs, making your pet easier to manage and integrate into your family and community.
  5. Promotes Longevity and Quality of Life: By reducing the risk of reproductive-related health issues and curbing certain behavioral problems, neutering can contribute to a longer, healthier, and happier life for your furry companion.

The Spay Procedure 

Before the surgery begins, your veterinarian will perform the necessary diagnostic tests to ensure that your pet is in good health and able to safely undergo the procedure. The spay procedure is performed under general anesthesia.

After administering anesthesia, your pet's abdomen area will be shaved and the skin will be thoroughly disinfected. The organs will be removed, either through laparoscopic surgery with the use of surgical lasers or with a traditional scalpel.

Upon completion of the procedure, your pet's skin will be closed with either skin glue, sutures (stitches), or surgical staples. If stitches or staples are used, they will need to be removed by your veterinarian 10 to 14 days after the procedure.

How long does spaying take?

The duration of the procedure can range from 20 to 90 minutes, depending on the size of your pet and any special medical requirements. For older pets or those of larger breeds, the procedure can take longer and may require two surgeons to perform.

Although the actual procedure is relatively short, your pet will typically need to spend a few hours at the hospital for check-in, an initial physical assessment, the surgery itself, and recovery from anesthesia.

Recovery After Spaying Surgery

Most pets will begin to feel better within 24 to 48 hours after surgery, but complete recovery can take anywhere from 10 to 14 days. During this period, it is essential to keep your pet calm and avoid allowing them to jump or exert themselves, as this could cause the incision to reopen.

Check the incision site daily for any signs of infection, such as redness, discharge, swelling, or a foul odor. If you notice any of these symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Also, monitor your pet's behavior; if they still seem lethargic after 48 hours or are not eating or drinking, it could be a sign of infection. In this case, follow up with your veterinarian, or if it's an emergency, take them to an emergency veterinarian for care.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Welcoming New Patients

Our vets at Hope Crossing Animal Hospital are now accepting new patients! Our talented veterinary team is passionate about caring for the pets of Pittsboro. Contact us today to book your first appointment. 

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