Spaying and Neutering Process

The spaying and neutering process may sound complicated, to those who are not well-versed in veterinary medicine. However, these are fairly simple surgeries, and provide many benefits, both to the pet and to society. While the old standard was six months of age for spaying and neutering procedures, many vets are doing these surgeries earlier. Some pets may even be spayed or neutered as young as six weeks of age. The spaying process is more involved than neutering. Here's what you should know when you take your pet to be surgically altered.

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Spay

This surgery should ideally be done on an empty stomach, so it's important to withhold food from your pet the night before. Most vets will have you drop your pet off early in the morning, and will keep her until later in the evening when you can pick her up. During the surgery, your pet will be under general anesthesia and will be closely monitored during the procedure. The vet will shave a small area on your pet's stomach, and then make a small incision in your pet's stomach and remove both the ovaries and the uterus. Once these are removed, the incision will be sewn back up and your pet will be ready to come home after the anesthesia has worn off.

Neuter

Again, with neutering, it is important to withhold food from your pet the night before. As with spaying, your pet should be dropped off at the vet's office early in the morning, and you can plan to pick him up later in the evening after anesthesia has worn off. Your pet will be under general anesthesia and will be closely monitored during the surgery for any complications with the medication. The vet will make a small incision just in front of your dog's testicles and remove the testicles through the opening. Once this is done, the incision will be closed with stitches. After the anesthesia has worn off and the vet is confident that no complications will take place, you can pick up your pet and take him home.

After you bring your pet home, you will need to watch the stitches for any signs of tearing or other issues. You should also keep your pet from licking his or her stitches as this can also cause complications. An Elizabethan collar is typically used to stop chewing and licking, but many dogs and cats quickly learn how to work around this. There are also several types of sprays that can be used on the site to deter licking and chewing; inquire with your vet about the best spray for your pet.

Nearly four million companion animals are euthanized in shelters in the United States each year, for the simple lack of homes for these pets. Very few cats and dogs that are born in this country ever find a home. Please spay or neuter your pets, and adopt pets from shelters or rescues to help do your part to end the pet over-population epidemic in this country.