Wednesday, December 19, 2012

What To Expect: Spaying & Neutering

The Process Of Spaying and Neutering
(For Cats & Dogs)


Dogs and cats are fixed between 5-6 months. 6 months is the time at which both cats and dogs hit puberty. The goal is that we want to spay/neuter the dog before it hits puberty. Spaying/Neuter is best done earlier than later, the longer you wait the more problems you may run into.

A non spayed female WILL have a monthly menstration for the rest of their life. Meaning she will bleed once a month. Some families have not noticed this occurring with their intact females because they are so good at cleaning themselves. The more monthly cycles they have the more it puts them at risk for a pyometra and mammory cancer.

That being said, not getting your dog spayed or neuter can cause cancers, unwanted pregnancies, and behavior problems!

In male dogs the levels of testosterone increase and the drive to mark territory increases. A female can be spay anytime during 5-6 months. A male however needs to wait until his testicles have descended. Sometimes the testicle(s) do not descend. This is called a cryptochid. A dog may be neutered with this condition however the incision will be made larger and the process of trying to find the hidden testicle will be up to the doctor. Sometimes a vet will wait to neuter the dog until it has descended. 

Check with your doctor at the dog’s puppy exams to know when it’s testicles have descended.

The process begins when the dog is up to date with vaccinations. The dog has already seen the doctor for an exam or a presurgical exam to know the dog is healthy enough for surgery. 

Vaccinations should never be given while the dog is sedated or at the time of the surgery. If the dog were to have a reaction to the vaccination it would be very dangerous.

Before surgery bloodwork may be taken to make sure the blood levels are normal. 

The liver enzymes need to be within normal limits to know that the dog can process the anesthetic gas out of it’s system. 
Process seen in the video above explained below:

After the blood work comes back normal a TPR is performed. Temperature, Pulse, and Respiration.

The mucous membrane is also checked to make sure blood is flowing properly through the body. The gums are held out for just a moment and released. The amount of time it takes for the blood to flow back into the area is counted. If it’s less than 2 seconds it’s normal.

Next an Intravenous catheter is placed in one of the dog’s front leg. This catheter is placed to administer drugs in case of emergency, drugs for sedation along with fluids while the surgery is being performed. Fluids are giving to keep the dog’s blood pressure regulated and to help to give the dog a boost towards recovery.

The first sedation process begins with a simple small amount of sedative in the hip muscle of the dog. After this we wait for about 10 minutes for the sedation to process in the body. 

This had made the dog more relaxed and at ease.

Next the rest of the sedative is given. 

A microchip may be given during this time to make the process not as invasive. We will have an episode of microchips and why they’re important. 

When we know blood work levels are within normal ranges we can begin with prepping for surgery.

Now there is a lot that goes into before and after surgery! 

Next now that Bueller is sedated we get him ready for surgery. The rest of the sedative is given through the catheter. A veterinary technician is always monitoring the dog’s TPR through the entire process. Small dogs especially can stop breathing and are known for having shallow breaths. 

While under sedative the body stops regulating it’s temperature requiring outside methods to warm the pet’s body temperature. 

For this we have air heaters warming the pet throughout the entire process.

The nails of the pet are trimmed.
The eyes are lubricated. While under sedation the dog does not blind, without blinds and tears to lubricate the eye we need artificial tears. If artificial tears are not used it can cause blindness.
Next the testicles are shaved. If a female the belly is shaved. The dog is now taken into the sterile surgery room. The incision area is now prepped and the animal is closely monitored using an EKG machine. We are monitoring his amount of breaths per minute, the amount of oxygen in his blood, heart rate, and temperature.

As the doctor performs the surgery a veterinary technician monitor’s the patient.

Check with your doctor to know their surgery process not all offices follow these same protocols. 

Frequently asked questions:

Cost of neutering/spaying a dog/cat?
This cost can vary because of where you live and your veterinary hospital. Expect around $150-$500 dollars. Sometimes even higher depending on options are available to you. If you’re worried about cost ask your assistant to go over all costs step by step with you. Call your vet offices in the area for price checks. Some veterinary offices offer a free pre-anesthetic exam.

When is the best time and age to neuter/spay a dog/cat?
4-5 months. Before 6 months! (Six months is when your dog/cat reaches puberty). You will want to neuter your dog/cat after his testicles have descended. (Your veterinarian can check that in your puppy exams). If you fix your pet after they have hit puberty it will be harder to control their hormonal issues and habits that come after puberty. The longer you wait the more you will have to deal with! Spay your pets when they are not in heat to provide a cheaper spay cost. You will also want to make sure your pets testicles have descended as said above which will provide a lower neuter cost rate. If the doctor has to neuter your dog with a testicle that is not descended that is called a cryptorchid or cryptorchidism, it will be harder to find the testicle in the lower abdomen and a longer surgery will be required.

Free, Low cost, or Cheap neutering/spaying for dogs/cats?
There are certain programs in your area with certain times to give low income families free or discounted surgeries. Call your local animal shelters for more information, they normally know this information for you. If they do not know, call your local animal hospitals. Try an animal shelter, they fix dogs/cats prior to adoption and the cost of the surgery is normally included in the adoption fee.

Why Neuter/Spay your dog/cat? What are the benefits?
This procedure not only helps control the animal population but can save your pets life! Pets are more prone to certain cancers when they are not fixed, have hormonal urges (Will feel the need to reproduce constantly and to find a mate), mark their territory with their urine. When fixed early in life they will not develop these habits. 

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© Faris Jaclyn I Littlest Pet Shop Photography

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