Spaying is a rite of passage for a female cat or dog (and the responsible, loving thing to do for your pet), but should you choose a laser spay or traditional spay for your furry companion? Our Flat Rock vets share their best advice about spaying your pet.
Benefits of Spaying Female Cats & Dogs
By spaying your female pets, you can help to prevent numerous serious health concerns and unwanted behaviors.
You can reduce your cat’s risk for malignant mammary tumors later in life by having them spayed before their first heat.
This procedure also helps to decrease your cat’s risk of developing a uterine infection, or cancers in their reproductive system.
Unwanted behaviors that spaying can reduce include:
- The desire to wander
- Heat-induced howling
- Intense rubbing against objects
- Increased and overly intense affection
Having your cat spayed offers health benefits for them - and will make your life together more comfortable for you.
Having your dog spayed before her first heat can set her on the path to live a long, healthy life by preventing serious issues such as breast tumors and uterine infections.
If the surgery is performed while they’re young, dogs that are spayed won’t go into heat. Female dogs who are not spayed usually go into heat approximately every six months, for about 2 to 4 weeks. Female dogs in heat will release a bloody vaginal discharge, and may seem jumpy, edgy or clingy.
What can I expect from the spaying process?
Whether you take your pet to the vet for a traditional spay or a laser spay, the process will be similar:
Just below the belly button, a 2 or 3-inch incision will be cut into the pet’s abdomen. Usually, both ovaries, the uterus and the reproductive tract are removed through this incision. The vet will use internal stitches, skin staples, skin glue and/or stitches to close the incision.
What is the difference between a laser spay vs. a traditional spay?
During laser surgeries, hot or cold lasers replace a traditional scalpel. Some vets believe that using a laser to complete the surgery helps to both decrease risk of infection and reduce recovery time due to the fact the laser beam cauterizes blood vessels as it cuts through tissues and vaporizes cells.
Many vets feel that laser spaying has the following benefits:
- Less swelling at the surgical site.
- As the laser beam cuts through tissues, bleeding is reduced due to the cauterization of blood vessels.
- Decreased pain in immediate post-operative timeframe.
- Decreased risk of infection due to superheating of tissues at the incision site, which helps eliminate bacteria present at the time of surgery.
Using lasers in place of a scalpel can offer the surgeon extreme precision. However, like traditional surgery using a scalpel, laser surgery does not come without risks. Though your pet may experience less pain with lasers than with scalpels, laser surgery still has the potential to be painful, and hemorrhage (while rare) can still happen.
While some vets may prefer to use lasers to complete procedures, others will prefer to use a scalpel. Vets use scalpels for many surgeries and are skilled at it. It’s important to remember that spaying is among the most common surgeries performed, and most vets become very skilled at spaying.
Benefits of a traditional spay include:
- Often less costly than laser spaying.
- Readily available at most veterinary hospitals.
When a skilled veterinary surgeon spays a pet, hemorrhage is an uncommon potential complication that can happen. It cannot be prevented or stopped by choosing a laser over a scalpel.
By booking your pet’s spay appointment with a reputable veterinarian and an animal hospital you trust, the risks of complications due to the spaying surgery (whether traditional or laser) should be minimal. When you schedule the appointment, ask your vet about the risks of surgery, as well as what to expect during the recovery process.
How can I help my pet recover comfortably from spay surgery?
Whether you choose a traditional spay or laser spay for your pet, your furry friend will need some time to recover.
Here are some tips for a comfortable, safe recovery:
- Give your pet a quiet, indoor space to recover, away from other animals.
- Monitor healing by checking the incision site daily, and watch for early signs of infection.
- Keep your pet from licking the incision site, as this can cause infection. Using a post-surgical t-shirt or veterinary cone can help to prevent your pet from licking the wound.
- Do not allow your pet to swim or bathe them for at least 10 days following the surgery.
- Decrease your pet’s activity level for approximately two weeks after the surgery, or as long as is recommended by your veterinarian.
If you notice any discharge, swelling or redness at the surgical site, or if the incision opens up, contact your veterinarian. Also contact them if you notice a decrease in appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy or other issues following their spay surgery.
Whichever type of spay surgery you choose, the overall benefits of spaying outweigh risks. If you are concerned about risks, discuss these with your vet and request recommendations on which type of spaying is right for your pet.
Ready to have your pet spayed? Contact our office as soon as possible to schedule your appointment.
Looking for a vet in Flat Rock?We're always accepting new patients, so contact our veterinary hospital today to book your pet's first appointment.
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