Both cats and dogs reach sexual maturity at around five to six months old. But it’s safe to have your pet spayed or neutered at most ages but not before then. Any type of surgery is stressful for both pet parents and fur babies. That’s because it’s invasive. Here’s what you need to know about spaying and neutering your cat or dog courtesy of Anima-Strath.
What are the benefits of spaying and neutering my pet?
There are many benefits to having your pet surgically sterilised. It’s shown to improve long-term health, reduce the chances of contracting cancers such as ovarian cancer in females or prostate and testicular cancers in males, it lowers the number of uterine infections and improves incontinency later. Your pet is also less likely to roam, become territorial and get into fights, display unwanted overt associated behaviours or surprise you with litters.
How are cats and dogs spayed?
A female cat or dog is spayed via the tummy. The area is first shaved and disinfected. The ovaries and often the womb or uterus is removed. This is done via a relatively small cut just below the belly button – depending on the technique used by the vet. The technical term for this is ovariohysterectomy.
Several layers of stitches or sutures are used to hold together the internal muscles and the skin. Vets tend to use dissolving stitches under the skin which get absorbed into the body. Follow-up visits are often not needed.
The procedure typically lasts between 30 minutes to an hour depending on the size of your pet and unique medical conditions should there be any. With more mature pets, or with larger-breed dogs, it may take a little longer and may require two surgeons.
How are cats and dogs neutered?
Male cats and dogs are castrated by having their testicles removed from the scrotal sac. This procedure is called an orchidectomy. Neutering is done when the vet makes a small incision on each side of the scrotal sac. The area is shaved and disinfected with a surgical antiseptic.
With cats, the incision is usually done at the back of the scrotum, and with dogs at the front of the scrotum. Each teste is removed through the respective incision on either side. The spermatic cord is then tied off. Vets bury the dissolving stitches which are absorbed into the body. Most cats do not need stitches.
The procedure takes between 10 to 20 minutes.
Both procedures are done under general anaesthesia. This means that your pet will be fully asleep. Sometimes pets are also be intubated. This means that they have a breathing apparatus or tube in the throat. The exception is the cat neuter where the male cat is anaesthetised with a mask because it is such a quick surgery.
How do I prepare for the spay or neuter procedure?
- Withhold food and water the night before the surgery. Midnight is the absolute latest that your pet should be allowed to eat or drink anything before the surgery.
- Make certain that your fur baby is in good health and is not showing any signs of illness such as bleary eyes, coughing, sneezing or runny tummy.
- Have a quiet and calm space to come home to. Cats should have access to litter trays, and your dog should be able to get outside without too many steps that might pull on stitches.
- Plan your trip home before leaving the vet. Do not stop on the way home for groceries for example. If you have a larger breed dog, have a plan or ask for help getting him or her into and out of the car and into the home safely.
- It’s best to groom your pet and especially dogs before the surgery as you won’t be able to groom and wash for a little while after the surgery.
- If your pet sleep’s outside, make sure that he or she has a safe and warm place to recover in and that it is protected from the elements.
What should I do after the spay or neuter operation?
Ask your vet for a post-procedure care sheet to make sure that you are providing your pet with the best care possible or follow these tips:
- Your pet should be ready to return home on the same day. Make sure that there is a safe, quiet and comfortable space, away from distractions, noises and other animals.
- Your pet will likely be groggy, frightened, confused – provide cuddles, love, reassurance, and quiet time.
- It’s best to let them sleep on a comfortable bedding space on the floor to prevent them having to jump and pull their stitches.
- Protect the wound from infection and make sure that he or she doesn’t scratch or lick the wound. Speak to your vet about the benefits of an Elizabethan collar or cone recovery collar for cats and dogs should one be needed.
- Monitor your pet’s bowel and bladder movements. It is important that he or she urinate and defecate. Make sure that there is plenty of fresh water to flush the anesthetic from the system.
- Experts recommend decreasing the amount of food by roughly 30% for the first few days after surgery until the inflammation in the body reduces. This will also lower the chance of them vomiting after the surgery.
- Prevention is always better than cure. Monitor the wound for infection. Males tend to bounce back more quickly. Keep the wound area dry. It is best not to wash your pet until the stitches have been removed or after 10 days if there are internal stitches.
- If the wound does become swollen or infected, we recommend contacting the vet for advice.
- If you have a kitty, remember to keep the litter box clean. Bacteria and other pathogens thrive in there.
- Discuss pain medication with your vet. Any good vet will send your pet home with pain medication. Make sure to give it as prescribed. Animals experience pain differently from how we do. We do not recommend treating your beloved pet with human pain medication. Be gentle with your pet.
Top tip: this article lists must-haves for a pet first aid kit to keep the wound area clean.
How can Anima-Strath help my pet heal?
Anima-Strath is a 100% natural Swiss made immune enhancer that has a beneficial pharmacological action on the body. This unique and proven formula has remained unchanged since 1961.
Anima-Strath contains a Strath Plasmolysate and is made with a specific type of nutritional ‘good yeast’ and a selection of 50 active plant extracts. These balance, nourish and support every organ and system in your pet’s body, specifically the immune system for a quicker recovery.
It is an immune system modulator that strengthens the immune system naturally before, during and after illness, infection, inflammation, stress, or injury. Even better, it will help your pet absorb up to ten times more nutrients from food and will support the body during times of stress and help reduce anxiety. It is also important to note that it is has no additives, preservatives, or stimulants.
Cats and dogs love the malty taste of Anima-Strath. It can either be given neat or mixed into food. For optimal health and well-being, the maintenance dose should be given.
After a spaying or neutering, we recommend doubling the dose for a week after surgery, and then maintain with the dosage prescribed on the bottle.
- Sterilization (2016) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/infectioncontrol/guidelines/disinfection/sterilization/index.html
- Dog surgery aftercare faqs (no date) PetMD. Available at: https://www.petmd.com/dog/dog-surgery-aftercare-faqs
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- Spaying and neutering dogs 101: Everything you need to know (no date) PetMD. Available at: https://www.petmd.com/dog/care/spay-and-neutering-dogs-101-everything-you-need-know
- Reeks, H. (2021) How to care for your dog after surgery, Animal Trust. Available at: https://www.animaltrust.org.uk/blog/how-to-care-for-your-dog-after-surgery
- How to care for your dog after surgery (no date) PDSA. Available at: https://www.pdsa.org.uk/pet-help-and-advice/pet-health-hub/other-veterinary-advice/how-to-care-for-your-dog-after-surgery
- Unbound (2019) How to care for a pet after surgery: AESC Parker, Animal Emergency & Specialty Center. Available at: https://aescparker.com/how-to-care-for-a-pet-after-surgery