Ready to get your pet spayed but don't know whether you should find a vet who performs laser spaying or if a traditional spay surgery is equally good? Our Santa Clarita vets share information about both spaying procedures to help you decide.
Why You Should Spay Your Female Cat or Dog
By spaying female pets, pet parents can help to protect their pets from a number of serious health issues, as well as possibly curbing some undesirable animal behaviors, and helping to bring down the number of homeless animals in their community.
Cats that are spayed before their first heat have a reduced risk for malignant mammary tumors later in life. Spaying also helps to prevent your cat from developing an infection of the uterus, and cancers of the reproductive organs.
Some undesirable behaviors that may be reduced by spaying your female cat include; decreasing the occurrence of overly intense affection, intense rubbing on objects, marking territory with urine, the cat's desire to wander, and heat-induced howling.
By spaying your dog before her first heat you may help her to live a longer and healthier life by reducing the risk of serious issues such as uterine infections and breast tumors.
Spaying your female dog while she is young will prevent her from going into heat. Female dogs who are not spayed generally go into heat every six months, for approximately 2 - 4 weeks at a time. When a female dog is in heat she will excrete a bloody vaginal discharge, and may display edgy, clingy or jumpy behaviors.
The Spaying Process
Regardless of whether your veterinarian performs a traditional spay or a laser spay, the process will be much the same:
- To begin, a 2-3" incision will be made just below the belly button into the pet's abdomen. In most cases, the reproductive tract, both ovaries and the uterus will all be removed through this incision.
- Once the reproductive organs have been removed, the incision will be closed using internal stitches, skin glue, skin staples, and/or regular stitches.
The Differences Between Traditional vs Laser Spay
When a laser spay is being performed by your vet, a hot or cold laser will be used in place of the traditional scalpel.
Vets choosing to perform laser spaying typically believe that the benefits of performing surgeries using lasers include, decreased levels of pain in the immediate post-operative period, reduced bleeding due 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, and less swelling at the surgical site.
Many veterinary surgeons feel that using lasers instead of a scalpel gives them increased precision. That said, as with traditional surgery using a scalpel, laser surgery is not a risk-free surgical option. While the use of lasers in place of traditional scalpels may cause less pain, laser surgery still has the potential to be painful, and hemorrhage (while rare) could still occur.
Although some vets may prefer the use of lasers to perform surgeries, others still prefer to use a scalpel when spaying pets and performing other surgeries. Vets are trained in the use of scalpels for many procedures and are skilled at doing so.
Spaying is among the most common of veterinary surgeries and most vets become very skilled at spaying dogs and cats. The benefits of traditional spay include that this form of surgery is readily available at most veterinary hospitals, and traditional spaying often costs less than laser spaying.
Hemorrhage as a result of traditional spaying is not common when a skilled veterinary surgeon performs the surgery, and the type of bleeding that can occur as a complication of traditional spays cannot be stopped or prevented by using a laser rather than a scalpel.
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.
How to Help Your Pet Recover Comfortably From Spay Surgery
No matter which type of spaying surgery you choose, your pet will need some time to recover once the surgery is complete. Here are some tips for helping your dog or cat have a safe and comfortable recovery:
- Provide your pet with a quiet place indoor place to recover, away from other pets and children.
- Reduce your pet's activity level for about two weeks following surgery, or as long as your veterinarian recommends.
- Be sure to 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.
- Look at the incision site daily in order to monitor healing and watch for early signs of infection.
Check your pet's incision site daily, if you see any redness, swelling or discharge at the incision site, or if the incision has opened up, contact your vet as soon as possible. You should also, be sure to contact your vet if your pet is lethargic, stops eating, is vomiting or has diarrhea following their spay surgery.
The Bottom Line
No matter which type of spay surgery you choose for your pet, remember that the overall benefits of spaying far outweigh the risks involved in either the laser or traditional spaying. If you're at all concerned about the risks of spaying your female animal, contact your veterinarian for further information and for their recommendations on which type of spaying is right for your dog or cat.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets, or search and rescue advice for pets. If you have lost your cat contact veterinarians and animal shelters in your area for help in your search for your missing cat.