To spay or not to spay …..

Am sure this is one question all pet owners would think of at some point in time. As worrying as it may seem.. but be assured that its in the best interest of our four legged darlins.  And  Oh.. before you all go judgmental, i would encourage you to read through the whole thing. For all the peeps who think i am some kinda fiendish pet torturer, please understand what these words are and why we do it :

Spaying: The process of surgically removing the uterus and the ovaries in a female dog

Neutering: The process of surgically removing the testicles in a male dog.


Why spay

There are several good reasons to spay your female Dog. Here they are:

  • For the sake of your Dog’s health: When your female Dog is six months of age, you should take her to the vet and have her spayed. This is always chiefly done in the interests of her health. If left intact, she could easily develop mammary gland cancer, but if you spay her before she goes into heat the first time at age five or six months, she stands a much lower chance of developing breast tumors.
  • Uterine cancer minimized: She also has a vastly reduced chance of developing uterine cancer or pyometra, in which the uterine area is vastly inflamed. It is a common occurrence among older, intact females and is often fatal.
  • No heat cycles: Female Dogs tend to be better pets if they lose the ability of experiencing estrus (heat cycles) every six-to-nine months.
  • Pregnancies leading to overpopulation: In addition, if your female Dog gets pregnant accidentally, this not only can pose a health risk to your dog, but will unnecessarily add to the vast and uncontrollable pet overpopulation problem.
  • False pregnancies: Sometimes, females also experience false pregnancies that can lead to uterine infections that are potentially fatal.
  • Dog population: As mentioned above, there already is an overpopulation problem. Just take a look at the many rescue shelters to see how many dogs there are waiting for a new home.

Why neuter

Neutering your male Dog is loaded with benefits. Here they are:

  • Healthier pets: This eliminates the possibility of your dog ever developing testicular cancer—the second most common form of canine cancer. Male unaltered dogs above five years of age are known to suffer from enlarged prostates.
  • Make better pets: Neutered dogs make for better pets.
  • Well-adjusted to their environment: If unaltered, your Dog could be difficult to housebreak. But if you do have him neutered, he will also lose the desire to roam away from home or to fight with other dogs.
  • He will also lose the zeal to mark his territory. Un-altered your dog may mark territory either inside your house or outside. But by neutering him, this habit of marking territory will cease, though it takes a maximum of 45 days after the surgery for his testosterone levels to drop.
  • Safety: By not roaming out of your house and yard, he does not endanger his own life as he may just meet with an accident while out on the road.

My Personal experience:

Bugsy was 11 months and a few days old when we got her spayed. The surgery is a definitely not a minor one, so we decided to make sure we understand the procedure first. After consulting a few of our friends who had pets and checked around for a good Vet. we found a few good vets in Indiranagar by the name of Dr.Ramesh and Dr.Pavan who run the Cessna Lifeline Veterinary Hospital. I fixed an appointment, checked the area where she would get operated. Ofcourse I would prefer an hygienic surrounding (Nothing but the best for my lil gurl). Once I was convinced with the details provided, I fixed an appointment for the following day. Though the surgery could pinch you a lil but its still a pittance considering long term health benefits for your lil one.

Make sure your dog is on an empty stomach for a full 8 hour before the surgery. Don’t even feed water. First the doc gave her sedatives to knock her out of conscious, and then they shaved off a patch of hair around the area where she would get operated. They also fed a tube through her mouth so she could breathe.

Post this, she was taken into the OT for the surgery. And in bout 30 min and after around 3 sutures (stitches), it was all done. The doc showed us how to do the post surgery dressing around the area operated. And after spending a hour, we were on our way back home. The Doc would suggest an Antibiotic, a few pain killers and a tablet to improve the digestion. The duration could vary between 3-5days.

My folks cleaned her den 😉 and had set up a nice warm cozy bed for her to sleep on.. Its very essential that your dogs stay in a clean environment post the surgery until they recover.  No jumping and spouts of over excitement. And keep her walks to a minimum. You can resume her regular walks and activities post the sutures removal.

Once home, do not immediately start feeding the dog, since they might face issues with gastric problems causing them to vomit whatever they have eaten. Wait atleast for a good 3-4 hours post surgery. Start with Water Only and if they retain the water, then feed a small portion of biscuits or bread, and if they retain that then move ahead with their normal diet. Personally I would recommend not to feed meat for a few days while they recover. We keep Bugsy on a strict Vegan diet.

In the case of Bugsy, she couldn’t retain anything she ate or drank the day of the surgery however the following day, she was getting back to normal. The Doc was available on-call during the entire time even for emergencies so we were lucky.  Day three wasn’t so great.. She developed fever, she was all lethargic, stopped eating and drinking. We took her back to the Vet and gave her some shots.. and once back home, she was back to her usual antics. 😉

Day four we started to change her dressing around the operated area.. we cleaned the wound with water, then with Betadine solution, Applied Soframycin, Kept a Gauss cloth over it and covered it using surgical tape.  Well turst me its not as easy as its written here.. It took three of us to do this.. One of us held the neck up, the other held the hind legs so she wouldn’t start kicking around and the third to actually do the dressing.  But the following sessions of dressing, didn’t take much effort. We made her wear a tee shirt so she cant reach the wound. While the wound is healing, it can give a itchy feeling causing them to bite or scratch.  So we got her a Elizabethan collar. She looked like a lamp shade. As funny as she looked, it did keep her mouth as far away as possible from the wound. It did not cause any problems in her eating. Here’s a pic.

We changed the dressing every alternate day until Day 10.. She was all healed up.. a dear old fren of mine helped in removing the sutures. And she was all good. Its more than a fortnight since the surgery and Bugsy is a changed gurl. I dunno how to explain this but shes gotten a lot obedient now.. Not sure if it has anything to do with the surgery though. The hair around the operated area is growing back. Her diet is pretty normal. Shes still got the naughty sparkle in her eyes.

Though we had our lil apprehensions of putting our lil gurl under the knife.. a lot of stuff off the web helped clarify our doubts and moreover the docs were very helpful. I would definitely recommend Cessna Lifeline Veterinary Hospital to all around Bangalore.  Thank you Docs 🙂 Appreciate all your help.