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Spay and Neuter FAQ

What are the risks of spay/neuter surgery for my pet?

At Edmonton South Animal Hospital, we perform spay and neuter surgeries every day. In fact, spay/neuter surgeries are the most common veterinary surgery in the world. Most pets are up and walking within a few hours of their procedure. Risks of surgery may include bleeding, suture failure, infection, suture reaction, and urinary complications. Anesthetic reactions (although rare) range from mild to severe, including swelling at injection sites to anaphylaxis and death. As these risks will always exist with any animal undergoing anesthesia and/or surgery, you can rest assured that the staff at Edmonton South Animal Hospital will take all the necessary precautions to provide the highest quality of anesthesia monitoring and surgical services to mitigate these risks. When deciding whether or not to spay/neuter your pet, consider that the dangers imposed on an unaltered pet far exceed the minor risks of surgery.

What will happen when I drop off my pet for surgery?

When you arrive with your pet for surgery, you will check them in at the front desk. Here, you will be asked a series of questions on our Spay and Neuter Consent Form to ensure we have documented all procedures and add-ons to be performed that day. Once you have answered and signed the required forms, your pet will be taken to our treatment area to undergo a physical exam, to be logged for their vitals and weighed for medication dosing.

What questions will I be asked on your Consent Form?

1. Ingestion of food/water: When your pet’s surgery was booked, you were reminded to fast your animal the night prior to the procedure. We will confirm this with you as the danger of aspiration is present in animals who have eaten or drank prior to surgery.

2. Additional costs for a pet in heat: You will be asked to confirm your understanding that additional costs may occur if your pet is found to be in heat. This only applies to spay procedures as the uterus is enlarged during a heat cycle and takes more time to perform the surgery.

3. Permission to terminate a pregnancy: As we are sensitive to everyone’s personal and religious beliefs, you will be given the choice to grant or deny permission to terminate an unforeseen pregnancy in female pets.

4. Request for surgical bloodwork: You will be asked if you would like your pet to undergo pre-anesthetic bloodwork. This applies to young animals, as bloodwork is mandatory for animals aged 5 and over. This bloodwork assesses blood cells, blood glucose, kidney and liver enzymes to determine if there are any additional precautions to be taken prior to surgery. 

Why do I have to sign the CPR Form?

Upon bringing your pet in for a surgical procedure, you will be asked to sign a form that will permit or not permit us to perform CPR on your pet in the event of an emergency. This is not to scare you. We find that some of our clients have specific religious beliefs in regards to resuscitation, or they feel it is unfair to attempt aggressive CPR on pets with prior existing conditions that limit quality of life.

What happens during a spay procedure (Ovariohysterectomy)?

During this procedure, we will remove the uterus and the ovaries. The animal will no longer be able to reproduce or have heat cycles. This lessens the risks of certain cancers (mammary, ovarian, and uterine) or infection in the uterus if done early enough. An incision is made in the tummy through the skin and abdominal wall. The uterus and ovaries are exteriorized and the blood vessels are tied off. The patient is closed with sutures in three layers: the abdomen, the subcutis (fat) and the skin.

What happens during a neuter procedure (Orchiectomy)?

A male dog has an incision made ahead of the scrotal sac that contains the testicles. The testicles are removed through this incision. The scrotal sac remains and may be swollen or bruised the first few days after surgery. Blood vessels and the sperm cords are tied off and the incision is closed with two layers of suture (fat and skin).

How old should my pet be when I get it sterilized?

Spaying and neutering as soon as possible offers the greatest health benefits for your pet. We suggest scheduling spay and neuter procedures at around four to six months of age for both cats and dogs. There is no truth to the idea that female cats and dogs make better pets if they have been allowed to give birth to a litter before spaying. Spaying females before they have had a litter and neutering males before they have had the chance to impregnate a female will help fight the problem of pet overpopulation.

Besides reproduction, are there other benefits of spaying and neutering?

Spaying and neutering protects the health of your pet in many ways. Spayed females are far less likely to develop uterine infections, mammary and other reproductive cancers. Neutered males are less likely to roam which decreases their chances of being hit by a car or attacked by other animals. Neutering also protects males from prostate cancer and reduces the chance of testicular cancer by 100%. Both male and female pets may be better behaved after spay/neuter surgery, with fewer incidents of aggression or marking their territory.

Why is it beneficial to have canine baby teeth removed at the same time as the spay/neuter procedure?

You will be asked whether you want any baby teeth removed from your animal when you come in for a spay/neuter procedure. Baby teeth that have not yet fallen out can prevent the eruption of permanent teeth, gather tartar due to overcrowding, or can abscess and interfere with the nerves and roots of the permanent teeth. That is why if they are present, we often choose to remove them.

What forms of identification are available for my pet?

During check in, you can choose to include the implantation of a microchip or tattoo during the time of your pet’s surgery. Should your pet get lost or stolen, this can help return the animal to you. A tattoo is a letter and numerical identification sequence placed in your pet's left ear with ink. Tattoos are a great visual reminder that this animal is owned, however tattoos can fade and stretch with time. A microchip is a type of identification that is implanted under your pet's scruff. It is about the size of a grain of rice. When scanned with a microchip reader (which all vet clinics and shelters have), it will come up with a number sequence that is registered to you, the owner. You can choose one, both or none of these methods of identification.

How much does it cost?

The price of surgery and care can vary according to each pet’s individual circumstances and needs. Our staff at Edmonton Spay and Neuter Clinic will gladly review all costs with you before scheduling the procedure. However, the fees involved with spay/neuter surgery are cost effective when compared to the potential health risks—and visits to the veterinarian—your pet faces if it is not sterilized.

What should I expect after the surgery?

Most of our procedures are done as outpatient surgeries. Your pet will go home with you the same day as you bring it in. Our caring staff will review all post-surgery needs at that time, and are always available to answer your questions over the phone. Your pet should be eating and behaving normally within 24 hours after surgery, but it is important to keep them indoors and avoid strenuous activity until healing is complete.

I have heard that sterilized pets get fat and lazy, is that true?

A lack of exercise and too much food is what causes pets to become overweight. Spayed and neutered animals that receive proper levels of activity and eat a healthy diet are no more at risk for weight gain than unaltered pets.