Arun Veterinary Group

Our team have created some helpful guides explaining the basic principles in relation to preparing your pet for an operation, the procedure itself and aftercare

  • Bitch spay
  • Cat Spay
  • Dog castrate
  • Cat castrate
  • Why is it important to spay my bitch?

    A bitch spay, or ovariohysterectomy is an operation to remove the ovaries and uterus.

    The advantages of spaying include:

    -preventing pregnancy

    -preventing seasons with the associated unwanted male attention

    -prevention of ovarian and uterine cancer

    -reducing the likelihood of mammary cancers

    -prevention of a condition called pyometra, which is potentially life-threatening infection of the uterus and a condition we see regularly in older, entire bitches.

    The main disadvantage to spaying a bitch lies in the inherent risks associated with general anaesthesia and surgery. Evidence also suggests that there is an increased likelihood of incontinence in spayed bitches later in their life, although the incidence of this is very low. The risks associated with general anaesthesia are extremely low in a young, healthy bitch but our team will talk to you about how we can help keep your bitch safe during her operation.

    It is a misconception that a bitch will get fat after being spayed – the fact is that she will simply require fewer calories than before she was spayed. Our nurses can provide dietary advice if you would like to learn about the calorific requirements of your pet following this procedure.

    For all the reasons mentioned above, we recommend that any bitch is spayed if you don’t intend to breed from her.

    Laparoscopy Spay

    Laparoscopy: Laparoscopy means ‘examination of the abdomen’ and is the term used for the endoscopic examination of the abdomen either for diagnostic precudures or treatment.

    In specific circumstances this ‘key-hole’ surgical technique can provide a number of advantages over standard surgery.

    The key-hole technique usually involves two or three small incisions rather than the single large incision used with standard surgery. It can be used for neutering female dogs, neutering cryptorchid (with undescended testicles) male dogs and cats, and for taking biopsies (sampling) of specific organs.

    Advantages of laparoscopy over conventional surgery include:

    • Reduced pain from the surgical wounds
    • Smaller surgical wounds
    • A faster return to normal activity, due to improved patient comfort and reduced scar tissue formation

    Laparoscopic neutering:

    Laparoscopic or key-hole spays also carry the added benefit of reduced post operative pain due to intra-abdominal handling of the tissues and the lack of the need to break down the ovarian ligaments (suspension cords) to allow visualisation of the ovaries.

    The procedure involves making three small (two of 5mm and one of 10mm) incisions and the removal of the ovaries (ovariectomy), leaving the uterus (the womb) in place.

    Standard open surgical spaying involves removal of the ovaries and uterus together (ovario-hysterectomy). The key-hole procedure is quicker, less involved and less painful than the standard spay.

    There is no evidence that leaving the uterus behind results in any increased risk of incontinence or womb infection in the future when compared to conventional surgery.

    Closure of the wounds will routinely be done with absorbable sutures in the skin; there is no need for suture removal afterwards.

    When should I spay my bitch?

    It is sometimes suggested that a bitch should be allowed to have one litter before she is spayed. There is no medical reason for this. It is however important to get the timing right – it is not a good idea to spay a bitch when she is in season or when she is just about to come in to season because the uterus and ovaries are active and engorged with blood, increasing the risk of surgery. In addition, spaying a bitch during the first several weeks after her season could result in a phantom pregnancy. With all of this in mind, we choose to spay either before the first season or mid-way between seasons (usually 3-4 months after a season). This is something that we will discuss with you during the pre-operative check.

    What do I need to do to prepare for the operation?

    If your bitch hasn’t been seen recently we will recommend that you attend a complimentary preoperative examination. This will provide us with an opportunity to check your pet is in good health as well as allow you the chance to ask any questions about the operation.

    The most important thing that you need to do to prepare is to make sure that your bitch arrives on the day with an empty tummy – this means that she can have her dinner the night before the operation, however no more food should be given from about 10pm. You should also give your bitch the opportunity to empty her bowels and bladder on the morning of the operation.

    What will happen on the day?

    On the morning of the operation, your pet will be admitted to the hospital by one of our vets or nurses. They will discuss the procedure with you to make sure that you know exactly what is involved and answer any questions that you may have. You will be asked to read and sign a consent form and leave a contact telephone number. We will also discuss the option of performing a pre-anaesthetic blood sample and giving your pet intravenous fluid support throughout her stay. Our pre-anaesthetic care sheet explains why we recommend pre-anaesthetic blood screening and fluid therapy during the operation.

    Your pet will be settled into a warm, comfortable kennel. If she is to have a pre-anaesthetic blood screen, this will be performed immediately. She will also have an intravenous cannula placed into a vein in her foreleg to allow her to receive her fluids and medication. Once your vet has looked at her blood results and given her a physical examination to make sure it is safe to proceed, your pet will be given her premed – a combination of drugs to help calm her nerves and ensure that she has pain relief on board.

    Once she has started to feel sleepy, the anaesthetic induction injection is given through the port in her intravenous cannula. As soon as she is asleep, the vet and nurse will place a tube into her airway to keep her safe and to deliver maintenance anaesthetic gas and oxygen. Her vital signs will be monitored and recorded constantly from the moment she is asleep to the moment she is awake. A nurse will clip the fur from your pet’s tummy and perform the surgical scrub whilst the veterinary surgeon is preparing for the operation.

    Your pet will then be transferred from the preparation room into the operating theatre where a final skin scrub is performed. Once everyone has agreed that it is safe to start, the vet will perform the operation. On completion, the muscle and fat layers are stitched before burying a layer of sutures beneath the skin, which dissolve without intervention.

    When she is awake, your pet will be offered food and water. You will receive a telephone call immediately to let you know how the operation went and to arrange a convenient time for her to go home.

    What aftercare is involved?

    An appointment will be made for you to come and collect your pet and she will be discharged by one of our veterinary nurses, who will explain the discharge instructions. The single most important aftercare requirement for a bitch after her spay is strict rest for around 24-48 hours followed by restricted lead exercise for a further 7 days. We recommend the use of a medical t shirt or Elizabethan collar to prevent interference with the wound. You will be asked to bring your pet back to see one of the team for a check-up 24-48 hours and then again, at 10 days postoperatively.

    Your pet will be discharged with pain relief and some bland, sensitive food for her to eat during the first few days after her operation. The nurse will explain how to administer both the food and medication. If you have any questions or concerns following the operation, we are on hand 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

  • Why is it important to spay my cat?

    A cat spay, or ovariohysterectomy is an operation to remove the ovaries and uterus. The advantages of spaying include preventing pregnancy, prevention or ovarian and uterine cancer, reducing the likelihood of mammary cancers and prevention of a condition called pyometra, which is potentially life-threatening infection of the uterus. It will also prevent the cat’s seasons and the associated roaming behaviour and unwanted male attention.

    The main disadvantage to spaying a cat lies in the inherent risks associated with general anaesthesia and surgery. The risks associated with general anaesthesia are extremely small in a young healthy cat, and we encourage you to talk with our staff about how we can help to keep your cat safe during her operation.

    It is a misconception that a cat will get fat after being spayed – the fact is that she will simply require fewer calories than before she was spayed so again, please speak with a vet or a nurse for dietary advice.

    With all of this in mind, we recommend that any cat is spayed if the owner does not intend to breed from her.

    When should I spay my cat?

    At Arun Veterinary Group we spay cats from 5 – 6 months of age.

    What do I need to do to prepare for the operation?

    Your cat should have been seen recently by one of our vets before you decide to book her in for her operation. If she has not been seen recently, she will be booked in for a pre-operative check with your vet on the morning of the operation. This will not incur any additional cost.

    Very simply, the most important thing that you need to do to prepare is to make sure that your cat arrives on the day with an empty tummy – this means that she can have her dinner the night before the operation, but no more food should be given from about 10pm. It is fine for her to drink water prior to admission.

    What will happen on the day?

    On the morning of the operation, your cat will be admitted to the hospital by one of our vets or nurses. They will discuss the procedure with you to make sure that you know exactly what is involved, and answer any questions that you have. It is important to us that our clients are fully informed, so we really do encourage you to ask away. You will be asked to read and sign a consent form and leave your contact telephone number. You will also be asked if you would like to have a pre-anaesthetic blood sample taken from your cat, and if you would like to have her placed on a drip throughout her stay. You will have received a pre-anaesthetic care sheet before the operation to help answer your questions and to explain why we recommend pre-anaesthetic blood screening and fluid therapy during the operation.

    Your cat will be settled into a warm, comfortable kennel, and wherever possible, we keep our feline patients housed well away from our canine patients in a different ward. If she is to have a pre-anaesthetic blood screen, this will be done immediately. She will also have an intravenous cannula placed into a vein in her foreleg to allow her to receive her fluids and medication. Once your vet has looked at her blood results and given her a physical examination to make sure it is safe to proceed, your cat will be given her premed – a combination of drugs to help relax her and keep her pain free.

    When she has started to feel sleepy, the anaesthetic induction drug is given through her intravenous cannula. As soon as she is asleep, the vet and nurse will place a tube into her airway to keep her safe, and to deliver the maintenance anaesthetic gas. Her vital signs will be monitored and recorded constantly from the moment she is asleep to the moment she is awake. A nurse will clip the fur from your cat’s flank on the left hand side and perform the surgical scrub whilst the veterinary surgeon is scrubbing up.

    Once everyone has agreed that it is safe to start, the vet will perform the operation. On completion, the stitches are buried beneath the skin and will absorb by themselves, so there will be no need to remove them. The operation usually takes around half an hour.

    When she is awake, your cat will be offered food and water. You will receive a telephone call immediately to let you know how the operation went and to arrange a time for your cat to go home.

    What aftercare is involved?

    An appointment will be made for you to come and collect your cat, and she will be discharged by one of our veterinary nurses, who will go through everything in detail. The single most important aftercare requirement for a cat after her spay is strict house rest for around 10 days. It is also important to prevent interference with the wound, so your cat will be discharged with an Elizabethan collar. You will be asked to bring your cat for a check-up in 24-48 hours, and again in 10 days, at which point the vet will advise whether or not she can resume her normal routine.

    Your cat will be discharged with pain relief and some bland food for her to eat, to help her if she feels nauseous from the anaesthetic drugs. The nurse will explain how to give both of these. If you have any questions or concerns following the operation, we are on hand 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

  • Why is important to castrate my dog?

    Castration is an operation to remove the testicles. The advantages of castrating include preventing breeding, prevention of testicular cancer and reducing the likelihood of prostate cancer. Castrating a dog is not guaranteed to overcome certain unwanted behaviours, but often helps.

    The main disadvantage to castrating a dog lies in the inherent risks associated with general anaesthesia and surgery. The risks associated with general anaesthesia are extremely small in a young healthy dog, and we encourage you to talk with our staff about how we can help to keep your dog safe during his operation.

    It is a misconception that a dog will get fat after being castrated – the fact is that he will simply require fewer calories than before he was castrated so again, please speak with a vet or a nurse for dietary advice.

    With all of this in mind, we recommend that any dog is castrated unless the owner does not intend to breed from him.

    When should I castrate my dog?

    Castration is usually recommended as soon as your dog is physically mature enough – usually this is at six months of age but may be later for larger breeds. It is important that both of his testicles have fully descended, which should have occurred by around two months. If neither of the testicles, or only one testicle has descended, the operation becomes a little more complicated and your vet will discuss with you the best way to proceed.

    What do I need to do to prepare for the operation?

    Your dog should have been seen recently by one of our vets before you decide to book him in for his operation. If he has not been seen recently, he will be booked in for a pre-operative check with your vet on the morning of the operation. This will not incur any additional cost.

    Very simply, the most important thing that you need to do to prepare is to make sure that your dog arrives on the day with an empty tummy – this means that he can have his dinner the night before the operation, but no more food should be given from about 10pm. It is fine for him to drink water prior to admission. You should also give your dog the opportunity to empty his bowels and bladder on the morning of the operation.

    What will happen on the day?

    On the morning of the operation, your dog will be admitted to the hospital by one of our vets or nurses. They will discuss the procedure with you to make sure that you know exactly what is involved, and answer any questions that you have. It is important to us that our clients are fully informed, so we really do encourage you to ask away. You will be asked to read and sign a consent form and leave your contacting telephone number. You will also be asked if you would like to have a pre-anaesthetic blood sample taken form your dog, and if you would like to have him placed on a drip throughout his stay. You will have received a pre-anaesthetic care sheet before the operation to help answer your questions and to explain why we recommend pre-anaesthetic blood screening and fluid therapy during the operation.

    Your dog will be settled into a warm, comfortable kennel. If he is to have a pre-anaesthetic blood screen, this will be done immediately. He will also have an intravenous cannula placed into a vein in his foreleg to allow him to receive his fluids and medication. Once your vet has looked at his blood results and given him a physical examination to make sure it is safe to proceed, your dog will be given his premed – a combination of drugs to help relax him and keep him pain free.

    When he has started to feel sleepy, the anaesthetic induction anaesthetic is given through his intravenous cannula. As soon as he is asleep, the vet and nurse will place a tube into his airway to keep him safe, and to deliver the maintenance anaesthetic gas. His vital signs will be monitored and recorded constantly from the moment he is asleep to the moment he is awake. A nurse will clip the fur from your dog’s tummy just in front of his scrotum and perform the surgical scrub whilst the veterinary surgeon is scrubbing up.

    He will then be transferred from the preparation room into the operating theatre where a final skin scrub is performed and once everyone has agreed that it is safe to start, the vet will perform the operation. The stitches are buried beneath the skin and will absorb by themselves, so there will be no need to remove them. The operation usually takes around an hour.

    When he is awake, your dog will be offered food and water. You will receive a telephone call immediately to let you know how the operation went and to arrange a time for your dog to go home.

    What aftercare is involved?

    An appointment will be made for you to come and collect your dog, and he will be discharged by one of our veterinary nurses, who will go through everything in detail. The single most important aftercare requirement for a dog after his castration is rest and controlled lead exercise for around 10 days. It is also important to prevent interference with the wound, so your dog will be discharged with an Elizabethan collar or special T shirt. You will be asked to bring your dog for a check-up in 24-48 hours, and again in 10 days, at which point the vet will advise whether or not he can resume his normal routine.

    Your dog will be discharged with pain relief and some bland food for him to eat, to help him if he feels nauseous from the anaesthetic drugs. The nurse will explain how to give both of these. If you have any questions or concerns following the operation, we are on hand 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

  • Why is it important to castrate my cat?

    A cat castrate is an operation to remove the testicles. The advantages of castrating include preventing breeding and unwanted litters, eliminating the risk of testicular cancer, prevention of unwanted breeding related behaviour such as fighting, roaming and spraying, and reducing the risk of contracting infectious diseases such as the Feline Immundeficiency Virus (FIV).

    The main disadvantage to castrating a cat lies in the inherent risks associated with general anaesthesia and surgery. The risks associated with general anaesthesia are extremely small in a young healthy cat, and we encourage you to talk with our staff about how we can help to keep your cat safe during his operation.

    It is a misconception that a cat will get fat after being castrated – the fact is that he will simply require fewer calories than before he was castrated so again, please speak with a vet or a nurse for dietary advice.

    With all of this in mind, we recommend that any cat is castrated if the owner does not intend to breed from him.

    When should I castrate my cat?

    At Arun Veterinary Group we castrate cats from 5 – 6 months of age.

    What do I need to do to prepare for the operation?

    Your cat should have been seen recently by one of our vets before you decide to book him in for his operation. If he has not been seen recently, he will be booked in for a pre-operative check with your vet on the morning of the operation. This will not incur any additional cost.

    Very simply, the most important thing that you need to do to prepare is to make sure that your cat arrives on the day with an empty tummy – this means that he can have his dinner the night before the operation, but no more food should be given from about 10pm. It is fine for him to drink water prior to admission.

    What will happen on the day?

    On the morning of the operation, your cat will be admitted to the hospital by one of our vets or nurses. They will discuss the procedure with you to make sure that you know exactly what is involved, and answer any questions that you have. It is important to us that our clients are fully informed, so we really do encourage you to ask away. You will be asked to read and sign a consent form and leave your contact telephone number. You will also be asked if you would like to have a pre-anaesthetic blood sample taken form your cat, and if you would like to have him placed on a drip throughout his stay. You will have received a pre-anaesthetic care sheet before the operation to help answer your questions and to explain why we recommend pre-anaesthetic blood screening and fluid therapy during the operation.

    Your cat will be settled into a warm, comfortable kennel, and wherever possible, we keep our feline patients housed well away from our canine patients in a different ward. If he is to have a pre-anaesthetic blood screen, this will be done immediately. He will also have an intravenous cannula placed into a vein in his foreleg to allow him to receive his fluids and medication. Once your vet has looked at his blood results and given him a physical examination to make sure it is safe to proceed, your cat will be given his premed – a combination of drugs to help relax him and keep him pain free.

    When he has started to feel sleepy, the anaesthetic induction drug is given through his intravenous cannula. As soon as he is asleep, the vet and nurse will place a tube into his airway to keep him safe, and to deliver the maintenance anaesthetic gas. His vital signs will be monitored and recorded constantly from the moment she is asleep to the moment she is awake. A nurse will clip or pluck the fur from around your cat’s testicles and perform the surgical scrub whilst the veterinary surgeon is scrubbing up.

    Once everyone has agreed that it is safe to start, the vet will perform the operation. The incision is so small that there is usually no need for any stitches, and the whole operation only takes around ten minutes.

    When he is awake, your cat will be offered food and water. You will receive a telephone call immediately to let you know how the operation went and to arrange a time for your cat to go home.

    What aftercare is involved?

    An appointment will be made for you to come and collect your cat, and he will be discharged by one of our veterinary nurses, who will go through everything in detail. It is important to keep your cat in for a few days after he has been castrated. It is also important to prevent interference with the wound, so your cat will usually be discharged with an Elizabethan collar. We don’t usually need to see cats again following castration, although we are more than happy to if there are any concerns.

    Your cat will be discharged with pain relief and some bland food for him to eat, to help him if he feels nauseous from the anaesthetic drugs. The nurse will explain how to give both of these. If you have any questions or concerns following the operation, we are on hand 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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