Spaying your female cat or dog is a responsible and often necessary thing to do for your pet. In this article, our Williamsburg vets discuss the differences between a laser spaying procedure and the traditional process.
Benefits of Spaying Female Cats & Dogs
Spaying your female pets can help to prevent several serious health issues and undesirable behaviors.
Cat Spaying Procedure
Cats that are spayed before their first heat have a reduced risk for malignant mammary tumors later in life.
Spaying also helps to reduce your cat's chances of developing an infection of the uterus, and of developing cancers of the reproductive organs.
Undesirable behaviors in female cats can be reduced with spaying, including; increased and overly intense affection, intense rubbing on objects, marking territory with urine, the desire to wander, and heat-induced howling.
Dog Spaying Procedure
Spaying your dog before her first heat can help her to live a long and healthy life by preventing serious issues such as uterine infections and breast tumors.
Spayed dogs won't go into heat if the surgery is done while they are young. Female dogs who are not spayed typically go into heat every six months, for approximately 2 - 4 weeks. While your female dog is in heat she will excrete a bloody vaginal discharge and may seem edgy, clingy, or jumpy.
The Spaying Process
Whether your vet performs a traditional spay or a laser spay, the process is generally the same.
A 2-3" incision just below the belly button into the pet's abdomen. Typically, the reproductive tract, both ovaries, and the uterus are then removed through this incision. The incision will then be closed using internal stitches, skin glue, staples, and/or stitches.
Laser vs Traditional Spay
In laser surgeries, vets use hot or cold lasers in place of the traditional scalpel. Some vets believe that performing the surgery with the use of a laser helps to both reduce the risk of infection and cut down recovery time due to the cauterization of blood vessels as the laser beam vaporizes the cells and "cuts" through the tissues.
Many vets feel that the benefits of laser spaying are:
- Decreased levels of pain in the immediate postoperative period.
- Reduced bleeding to the cauterization of blood vessels as the laser beam cuts through the tissues.
- Decreased risk of infection due to the superheating of the tissues at the incision site which helps to destroy bacteria present at the time of surgery.
- Less swelling at the surgical site.
Using lasers instead of a scalpel can give the surgeon extreme precision, nonetheless, as with traditional surgery using a scalpel, laser surgery is not risk-free. Although lasers may cause less pain than scalpels, laser surgery still has the potential to be painful, and hemorrhage (while rare) can still occur.
While some vets may prefer the use of lasers to perform surgeries, others still prefer to use a scalpel. Vets use scalpels for many procedures and are skilled at doing so. It's also important to note that spaying is among the most common veterinary surgeries and most vets become very skilled at spaying.
Benefits of traditional spay include:
- Readily available at most veterinary hospitals.
- Often costs less than laser spaying.
Hemorrhage is not common when a skilled veterinary surgeon spays a pet, and the type of bleeding that can occur as a complication during spays cannot be stopped or prevented by using a laser rather than a scalpel.
By choosing a reputable vet and an animal hospital that you trust the risks of complications due to the spaying surgery (whether laser or traditional) should be minimal. When you book an appointment to have your pet spayed be sure to ask your vet about the risks of surgery, as well as the recovery process.
Helping Your Pet Recover Comfortably From Spay Surgery
Whether you choose to have your pet laser spayed or traditionally spayed your pet will need some time to recover.
Here are tips for a safe and comfortable recovery:
- Check the incision site daily to monitor healing and watch for early signs of infection.
- Provide your pet with a quiet place to recover indoors and away from other animals.
- Reduce your pet's activity level for about two weeks following surgery, or as long as your veterinarian recommends.
- Prevent your pet from licking the incision site. Licking could cause an infection. Using a veterinary 'cone' or a post-surgical t-shirt can help to prevent your pet from licking the wound.
- Do not bathe your pet or allow them to swim for at least ten days after surgery.
If you notice any redness, swelling, or discharge at the surgery site, or if the incision has opened up, contact your veterinarian. Also, be sure to contact your vet if your pet is lethargic, has a decreased appetite, is vomiting, or has diarrhea or any other concerns following their spay surgery.
Whatever type of spay surgery you choose for your pet remember that the overall benefits of spaying far outweigh the risks involved in this surgery. If you are at all concerned about the risks of spaying your female animal contact your vet for further information and their recommendations on which type of spaying is right for your pet.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.