One of the most important health decisions you have to make when owning a pet is to have them spayed. Spaying a pet involves removing the ovaries and uterus of a female dog or cat which is done at a veterinary hospital and requires minimal hospitalization.
Spaying helps prevent uterine infections and breast cancer, which is fatal in about 50% of dogs and 90% of cats. Spaying your pet before her first heat offers the best protection from these diseases. Many owners feel that it is best to allow their female puppy to go through at least one heat cycle to help them mature into an adult dog. Veterinarians will advise you differently. It is best to perform the surgery before the first heat as it lowers the risk of surgical complications. The uterus will be immature, have smaller blood vessels and the possibility of major blood loss is decreased.
Many cat owners have experienced their feline friend suffering through heat cycles. Heat cycles can vary in cats, but they will usually go into heat for 4-5 consecutive days. If the cat was not bred during that time, she will “go out of heat” for a short period, and then the cycle will begin again. During the active stages of the heat cycle, the females will display some unwanted behaviour such as yowling for males and possibly urinating in inappropriate places (such as carpets and laundry on the floor!). By spaying your cat around 6 months of age, the possibility of it going into heat is slim.
Never feel that it is too late to have your pet spayed. It is understandable that life can get busy and your pet’s age got away from you. It is recommended to wait for 2 months after the heat cycle has finished and then the spay can be performed. Doing the spay during a heat cycle or right after it has ended can be very risky as complications can arise during the surgery. Once the cycle has finished, give your veterinarian a call and schedule the surgery two months later. Having an appointment time set will avoid the problem of your dog going into heat again!
Written by: Brenda McClure, RVT