Spay and neuter surgeries are common procedures that help to prevent pregnancies in cats and dogs. Spaying involves removing the ovaries (and often the uterus) of a female pet, while neutering involves removing the testicles of a male pet. In addition to preventing pregnancy, spay and neuter surgeries can also help to reduce a pet’s risk for developing certain medical and behavioral issues. Here’s what pet parents should learn about the importance of spaying or neutering, what to expect after the procedure, and what they can do to ensure their pet heals properly.
The Importance of Spaying/Neutering a Pet
Spaying or neutering a cat or dog goes beyond preventing pregnancy. It can also help to improve and extend a pet’s life. The procedures can help to reduce the risk of an animal developing uterine infections, breast tumors, testicular cancer, and prostate issues. Spay and neuter surgeries can also help to reduce dog or cat behavioral problems. If the animal is left intact, they can’t go out in search of a mate, leaving the pet parents with a potentially stressed cat or dog. The procedures can reduce cat anxiety or dog anxiety, reducing the need for medication.
What to Expect After Surgery
While spaying and neutering are common procedures, they’re still surgeries. Pet parents need to understand what to expect to reduce the risk of complications and ensure their cat or dog heals properly.
Immediately after surgery, a cat or dog might not be acting like themselves. Pet parents should expect groggy or “out of it” behavior. This is just the anesthesia working its way out of their system completely. If their pet is overly sleepy or unresponsive, they should contact their primary vet or consult with an online vet right away.
A vet may prescribe medications to prevent infections. Pet parents should follow the dosing instructions closely. They should also monitor their pet’s eating and drinking to avoid vomiting.
General Aftercare Tips
Below are some general aftercare tips for ensuring a smooth healing process for both cats and dogs.
Monitor the Surgical Site
Pet parents should monitor the surgical incision for signs of swelling, bleeding, and discharge. The incision should heal in about two weeks. If a pet parent notices anything concerning, they should contact their vet right away.
Avoid Bathing or Swimming
Pet parents shouldn’t bathe their cat or dog or let them go swimming until after the vet removes the staples or stitches. If there aren’t any sutures, pet parents should wait 10-14 days.
Restrict Physical Activity
After a spay or neuter surgery, pets shouldn’t run around, jump, or do any other strenuous activity that could open the wound or cause pain for approximately two weeks.
Use an E-Collar
Some pets may try to lick, bite, or scratch at the surgical site, which can cause irritation and other complications. An e-collar or cone can help stop such behaviors, allowing the wound to heal properly.
Cat Spay/Neuter Aftercare
Pet parents with cats should keep their feline indoors for at least two weeks. This allows pet parents to monitor their cats and reduces the risk of infection. For a short period, some pet parents may confine their cat to a single room or a large dog crate with access to a litter box, food, and water.
Pet parents might also consider switching to a low-dust variety litter. This may help to avoid contamination of the surgical site as well as other complications.
Dog Spay/Neuter Aftercare
Pet parents with dogs should keep their canine calm after a spay or neuter surgery. They may need to confine their dog to a crate for a little while to avoid an accidental injury. Walking on a leash and avoiding the dog park for two weeks are also essential.
Pet parents with female dogs should also know that some spotting may occur after a spay surgery. If they notice excessive bleeding or spotting that lasts for more than two days, they should contact their vet right away.
Spay/Neuter Surgery - Keeping Pets Safe and Healthy
Spaying or neutering a cat or dog is about more than preventing unwanted pregnancies. It can help to significantly improve a pet’s overall health, reducing the risk of developing issues such as cancer, infections, and aggression. The thought of putting a cat or dog through surgery can be scary for pet parents. Fortunately, spay/neuter surgeries are fairly simple and straightforward procedures. A primary vet or an online vet can walk a pet parent through the process, helping them to feel more confident that they’re making the right decision. The Fuzzy Vet Team can provide additional cat advice or dog advice, offer helpful tips, and more. The right information can help ensure a long, happy, and healthy life for pets.