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Spaying refers to the surgical removal of a female companion animal’s uterus and ovaries. The human equivalent is an ovariohysterectomy. Females who have been spayed cannot have babies. They no longer secrete the hormones that regulate their reproductive readiness. Heat cycles bring hormonal changes that can lead to personality changes.

Neutering refers to the surgical removal of a male companion animal’s testicles. Castration is another term for the same thing. (The word “neuter” is sometimes used as a gender-free term. So are the words “fixed,” “sterilized,” and “altered.”) Males who have been neutered cannot manufacture sperm.

Spaying and Neuter Myths

Animals who have been sterilized get fat and lazy
Sterilizing an animal does decrease his or her metabolic rate. That is why this is the perfect time to switch from a high-energy puppy/kitten food to a diet designed for adults. After spaying or neutering an adult animal, feed a diet appropriate to his or her life cycle. Over-feeding and lack of exercise are the cause of obesity, not spay/neuter!

Males don’t need to be neutered because they aren’t the ones having the litters
Believe it or not, this is the most prevalent spay/neuter myth. Immaculate conception, however, does not explain canine and feline pregnancies! One un-neutered male can impregnate hundreds of female animals in the time it takes one litter of kittens or puppies to be born. For individuals who have a need for cosmetic reinforcement, there are synthetic scrotal implants that can be surgically implanted.

Studies show that the majority of dog bites are made by intact, untrained male dogs.

Females need to have one litter before being spayed
There is no medical support for this. Some people refuse to spay/neuter because they think it would be nice for their pet to have puppies or kittens.

Every responsible home found means one less home available to the many shelter animals hoping for adoption. Each day animal shelters are forced to kill thousands of dogs and cats for lack of responsible homes.

Sterilization is cruel
Spay and neuter surgical procedures are done under general anesthesia and pain relief medications are given for home. Most pets are walking out of the hospital and have all normal functions afterwards.
Preventing animals from having litters is unnatural
We’ve already interfered with nature by domesticating dogs and cats. In doing so, we created the tragedy of pet overpopulation. We now have the responsibility to solve it.

Neutering male cats causes urethral obstructions which can lead to death
Exhaustive studies have indicated that urethral obstructions are not affected by whether a cat is neutered or not.

Neutering male cats causes urethral obstructions which can lead to death
Exhaustive studies have indicated that urethral obstructions are not affected by whether a cat is neutered or not.

Spay/neuter is unnecessary for purebreds because they are in great demand

One out of every four animals brought to animal shelters is a purebred.

Pets lament their lost capability to reproduce
Pets are not homo sapiens they are a different species from ours. Pets do not nurture their young for 18 years, watch them go off to college or whatever, marry, and produce grandchildren. Dogs and cats nurse their young for a few weeks, teach them to behave like dogs and cats, and go on with their lives. (Males know next to nothing of what we humans call fatherhood. They rarely recognize puppies and kittens as their own.).

Your pet should not have any food or treats after 8 p.m. the night before the procedure (diabetics excepted). Water should be available at all times. Walk your dog before coming into the hospital to empty the bladder and colon. Plan to arrive before 9 A.M. the morning of the procedure (unless otherwise arranged). You will be given a written estimate of scheduled and anticipated services. You will be given recommendations that you will need to decide on. You may call ahead to discuss these recommendations or feel free to browse our website for recommended procedures to help minimize complications and speed up recovery. If you have questions about the scheduled procedure(s) that were not answered in the information provided, please call in advance of the procedure date. We want to answer your questions about what is expected to happen.
We will call you to once the procedure has been completed. We will need a phone number where we can reach you, preferably a cellular phone. We will schedule a mutually convenient discharge time.

Note: There is an extra fee if your female pet is in heat or pregnant.


A routine Spay or Neuter is done on an animal that is about 4 to 6 months old. The kitten or puppy has not been ‘in heat’, and is a normal weight. The pup or kitten has not had any significant health problems detected. Both testes have descended into the scrotum on males.

All pets are thoroughly evaluated prior to surgery to make sure they are a good anesthetic risk for the surgery.
The attending Veterinarian will perform a thorough pre-anesthetic examination to ensure that your pet is healthy prior to surgery. The heart will be ausculted (listened to) for rate, rhythm and sounds. The lungs will be ausculted. The mucus membranes will be examined for color and capillary refill time. The general appearance will be evaluated. The teeth will be examined for retained deciduous teeth or other dental problems.
Pre-Operative Blood work is strongly recommended.
With your permission, we will perform a pre-anesthesia lab analysis (organ function, electrolytes, hematocrit or complete blood cell count) if your pet is scheduled for anesthesia. Our new technology allows us to perform these tests using only few drops of blood. On some pets, the testing may be completed within the 7 days prior to the scheduled procedure. Not all conditions are readily detected by physical exam. This includes some congenital (present at birth) problems. An in house profile allows us to find out enough about your pet’s electrolytes, blood proteins, kidney and liver function, as well as the percentage of red cells to better insure your pet’s ability to undergo a smooth anesthesia. This information will allow us to help your pet through and after today’s procedures. This also allows us a baseline of what is normal in your pet.

Your Pet’s first surgery at the hospital!
Pets initially receive a pre-anesthesia injection that allows for relaxation, reduces the chance of post anesthesia vomiting and controls excess salivation. An IV catheter will be placed (for an extra fee). IV fluids will be administered to help maintain blood pressure, provide internal organ support and to help keep your pet from becoming dehydrated. Anesthesia is induced with an injection of medications that quickly anesthetizes the pet, and allows for intubation. Intubation is placing a tube through the mouth, between the laryngeal cartilages and into the trachea. Isoflurane, a very safe gas anesthesia, is then administered to maintain anesthesia.

Your pet’s surgery at American Animal Hospital
The surgery site is clipped and antiseptically prepared for surgery.

For male cats, each sac of the scrotum is incised with a scalpel blade and the testicle is retracted and removed. The cat is wrapped in a towel then placed in its cage with heat support to recover. There are no sutures (no stitches).

Once dogs and female cats are surgically prepared, they are moved into the surgery suite onto the heated table. Electrocardiogram leads and Pulse Oximeter leads are attached to allow monitoring of heart rate, rhythm, and Oxygen Saturation. They are then connected to the isoflurane anesthesia machine that monitors their respiration, and assists in proper ventilation. The doctor scrubs and prepares for surgery. Sterile techniques such as sterile surgical gloves, gowns, etc. are used to maintain sterile surgery. A sterile pack of surgical instruments is used along with a sterile scalpel blade and suture material.

An ovariohysterectomy is performed on females. This is surgical removal of the ovaries and uterus via an incision made just caudal to (behind) the umbilicus (belly button). The incision is closed in 3 layers of sutures. The final layer is the skin. Depending on the surgeon’s choice and patient factors, the sutures will need to be removed in 14 days. The surgeon may elect to put absorbable sutures and they will dissolve by themselves and need not be removed.

An orchidectomy is performed on males. In dogs, an incision is made just cranial (in front of) to the scrotum. Each testicle is retracted through the single incision, and surgically removed via an ‘open’ or ‘closed’ procedure. The incision is closed with subcutaneous sutures. These sutures will need to be removed in 14 days. The surgeon may elect to put absorbable sutures and they will dissolve by themselves and need not be removed.
Your Pet’s Recovery at the Hospital
Pets are recovered in our treatment area on a warming pad. They are extubated after they regain their reflexes and are able to control their airways. At that time, they will be returned to their kennel with further heat support as needed. All patients are monitored closely for their recovery and a Veterinarian is readily available to assist the pets as needed. The pets are kept in the hospital until the sedation has worn off.

Home Care / Post-operative Care Instructions
Pets released the same day will be sedate. This is to help prevent pain, and allow better initial healing. Be prepared to allow them to just rest that night. Do not allow children to handle the pet at all the first night, and for 3-4 days only under your direct supervision.

An Elizabethan collar will be discharged with all surgeries for an additional fee. These collars help prevent your pet from self-traumatizing and/or infecting their surgery site. These collars are bulky, and some pets are somewhat depressed or distressed when wearing them. Although strongly discouraged, you are welcome to develop an alternative. If your dog is sulking while wearing the collar take it off temporarily, but, only if you can provide no less than 100% supervision during this time. Your pet should not be allowed to lick or otherwise rub at the surgery site.

Your pet should be kept to restricted activity (kept on a 4-6 foot lead and not allowed to jump or run) or crated to allow fastest healing with as little pain and complications as possible. Your pet should be kept indoors and running or jumping should be restricted.

Feeding: Do not feed your pet at once when you reach home. Offer small amount of food and water 3-4 hours after arriving home and gradually increasing the amount over the next 24 hours. Normal food can be given the following day. It is not unusual for pets to refuse food for a day or two after the surgery.

Medicines: Start the medicines the following day after surgery.

You should briefly check the surgery site once daily. What to expect:
For several days to up to 2 weeks, the surgery site may be a little lumpy and firm. The tissues inside are going through change while healing. Additionally, the suture materials will eventually be hydrolyzed and absorbed. For the first 2 days, there may be a little redness to the site however it should be clean and dry. In some pets with pink skin you may even be able to see the suture under the skin; this is normal. Usually the suture material does not become exposed. If you detect any suture material protruding, please call; we will want to check the site for you. With all this said please know we have had very little in hospital or post op complications in our pets.
Please bring your pet to our office if any of the following occur

Please bring your pet if any of the following symptoms occur:

loss of appetite for more than 2 days
refusal to drink water for more than a day
elevated or sub-normal temperature
vomiting and/or diarrhea
Problems with the incision or discharge, swelling, or infection.

Other Services you may want to consider with your pet’s Spay/Neuter

When your pet is in for spay or neuter some services may be of benefit to you and your pet. You may authorize these services when your pet is admitted in the morning, or anytime before your pet is in recovery. Provided here is some information to allow you to make an educated decision.

Microchipping - If your pet is not yet Microchipped, we can perform the simple injection to permanently identify your pet.
Radiographs can be taken to assess for hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, arthritis or other medical conditions.When pets are sedated or anesthetized we can easily take X-rays that would otherwise be impossible.
Any warts, skin tags, cysts or other lumps can be removed.
Dental care can be done at the same time to minimize repeated sedation episodes. Retained deciduous (baby) teeth can be removed at the same time.
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