Having your female cat or dog spayed is both a loving and responsible thing to do for them. But when you are having the surgery done on your companion, should you have it done with a laser or using traditional methods? Here, our Oakland vets share some more info you should know about spaying your pet.
Benefits of Spaying Female Cats & Dogs
Spaying your female pets can help to prevent a number of serious health issues and undesirable behaviors.
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.
When dogs are spayed, they won't go into heat if the surgery is done while they are still young. Unspayed female dogs will generally go into heat every six months for anywhere from two to four weeks. While your dog is in heat, she will excrete a bloody vaginal discharge and maybe edgy, clingy or jumpy.
Spaying cats before their first heat can significantly reduce their risk for malignant mammary tumors later on in their lives.
Spaying can also help to reduce your cat's chance of developing a uterine infection, cancer, or other diseases affecting their 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.
The Spaying Process
Whether your vet performs a laser or traditional spay, the process is more or less 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.
- Then the incision will be closed using internal stitches, skin glue, skin staples, and/or stitches.
Laser vs Traditional Spay
In surgeries using lasers, cold or hot lasers are used in the place of a traditional scalpel. Some vets believe that performing the surgery using a laser helps to reduce their risk of infection and cut down on their recovery time because of cauterizatioon of blood vessels as the laser cuts through and vaporizes cells and tissues.
Many vets feel that the benefits of laser spaying are:
- Less swelling at the surgical site.
- Decreased levels of pain in the immediate post-operative 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.
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 prefer the use of lasers to perform their surgical procedures, others prefer to use scalpels. Vets use scalpels for many procedures and are skilled at doing so. It's also very important to note that spays are incredibly common veterinary surgeries and generally vets become quite skilled at safely performing the procedure.
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 selecting a vet hospital with a good reputation and that you trust, you reduce the risks of any complications arising as a result of a spay surgery. When booking an appointment with your vet to have your pet spayed, ask your vet about what risks may be involved in the surgery as well as what the recovery process will look like.
Helping Your Pet Recover Comfortably From Spay Surgery
Whether you are selecting a laser or traditional spay for your pet, they will need some time to recover and heal from the procedure.
Here are tips for a safe and comfortable recovery:
- Reduce your pet's activity level for about two weeks following surgery, or as long as your veterinarian recommends.
- Provide your pet with a quiet place to recover indoors and away from other animals.
- Prevent your pet from licking the incision site. Licking could cause an infection. Using a veterinary 'cone' or a a post-surgical t-shirt can help to prevent your pet from licking the wound.
- Check the incision site daily in order to monitor healing and watch for early signs of infection.
- Do not bathe your pet or allow them to swim for at least ten days after surgery.
If you notice redness, discharge or swelling at the site of the surgery, or if the incision site has opened up, contact your vet as soon as possible. Also, make sure you contact your vet if you notice that you pet has before lethargic, has a decreased appetite or has any other notable 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.