If you do not want to breed from your bitch, or she has finished breeding, we would usually recommend that you have her spayed. This involves removal of the womb and ovaries under general anaesthetic. Though routine, the operation is still major abdominal surgery and we exercise great care before, during and after the operation on your bitch.
Admission on the morning of the operation includes a health check and giving of pre-medication sedation and analgesia (pain relief).
During the operation and recovery your pet is monitored closely and most patients are allowed home the same day with pain-killing drugs. Lead exercise is recommended for 10 days, after which the skin stitches are removed.
Once spayed, your bitch will no longer come into season, removing the inconvenience that this causes, and preventing unwanted pregnancies.
Although there are hormone injections available to suppress seasons, their long-term use can make serious womb infections more common.
Health Benefits for spayed bitches
There are significant health benefits in having your bitch spayed.
Mammary tumours are the most common tumour in bitches, but if spayed between the 1st and 2nd season, their incidence is greatly reduced.
Pyometra (infection of the womb) is common in middle-aged and old entire bitches and can be rapidly fatal if an emergency hysterectomy is not performed. Spaying, at whatever age, will prevent this condition.
Symptoms of false pregnancy occur in many bitches a few weeks after a season, and in many cases cause few problems. Some bitches however will experience marked behavioural disturbances, lose their appetite and produce a lot of milk.
Although false pregnancies settle in time, and symptoms can be alleviated with various drugs, spaying will prevent them occurring altogether.
Timing of Spaying
If owners of a young bitch do not wish to breed from her, we would generally recommend that she is spayed 3 months after her first season. This will be at approximately 12 months of age depending on the breed.
This timing allows for the bitch to become fully mature yet still provides good health benefits. Bitches can also be spayed when they are older, but again we choose to wait until 3 clear months after the previous season has finished.
Highgate Veterinary Clinic encourages indenti-chipping pets so that they can be easily identified and reunited with owners if lost and found.
We offer a discount for identi-chipping done at the time of neutering, please ask us for details.
Spaying is a routine procedure that is successfully performed on many hundreds of bitches every day. We identify complications in a minority of bitches, the common of which are:
Hormonal changes after spaying can make some bitches more prone to putting on weight. However, this is manageable by maintaining adequate levels of exercise and sensible food intake.
Urinary incontinence can occur in older spayed bitches, especially larger breeds. Dribbling of small amounts of urine of which the bitch is unaware, and is often noticed after lying down. Fortunately effective medication is available to alleviate symptoms.
Please do not hesitate to speak to one of our vets or nurses should you have further questions or concerns regarding having your bitch spayed.