At Susquehanna Trail, we highly recommend both spaying and neutering at about 6 months of age. This helps to prevent unwanted pregnancies as well as prevent mammary cancer and life-threatening infection of the uterus in females. In males, it helps to prevent testicular cancer, prostate disease, and roaming and marking behavior. Although some recent studies have suggested that spay and neuter should be delayed, there is not enough concrete evidence that outweighs the other benefits at this time.
Both spaying and neutering are routine surgeries that our staff has performed thousands of times. While there are risks with any type of surgery, we perform a few necessities to avoid such complications. One is that we require all patients to have a pre-operative blood chemistry panel and a complete blood cell count prior to any surgery. The results will give us insight to any underlying diseases or illnesses and help us tailor medications that are best for your pet.
When we are ready for surgery, your pet will have an intravenous catheter place in their leg. We do this for 2 reasons: to give intravenous fluids and allow easy access to a vein for administrating medications. Intravenous fluids are given throughout the surgery to maintain hydration and adequate blood pressure. We have a trained technician with your pet during the procedure who is monitoring blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen levels, carbon dioxide levels, and an EKG via a newly upgraded anesthesia monitoring unit.
To prepare for surgery, our clinic requires that all animal should be fasted from food 12 hours prior to surgery. This basically means that they cannot have any food (including treats) after 8 p.m. the night before. This is because some medication can cause nausea in the animals which can make them vomit. Your animal can have water up to the point they arrive at the clinic.
The day of surgery, you can drop your pet off anywhere between 7:15-8 am. Please leave yourself plenty of time in the morning because we need you to fill out some consent forms prior to the surgery. We will perform a physical exam the day of surgery to ensure your pet is healthy enough. Please let us know if you have any additional concerns for you pet on the day of surgery. We will do a complementary nail trim on all our patients since it is less stressful for them when they are not aware of it. We will also give you the option of microchipping your pet for ~$50. The microchip is a small barcode that is inserted between the shoulder blades. Your information then will be entered into a database that will contain your name, address, and number. The microchip is a safety measure for your pet just in case they ever get lost or run away. All shelters and veterinary clinics will scan your pet when they enter the facility and will contact you if they are entered in the database. The microchip can be life-saving when looking for your pet.
Once the surgery is completed and your pet is stable post-surgery, one of the staff members will call to update you on the status of your pet. Any question you have at the time can be asked, otherwise we will go over post-surgery instruction at time of pick up. Animals can be picked up in the late afternoon or evening but we will verify the time when they get out of surgery. All patients will get pain medication on the day of surgery and to be given at home.
So you are aware, some pets will not eat the first night they are home because the anesthesia can make them nauseated. You can offer a small meal the night after anesthesia. You can offer water as soon as they get home but don’t worry if they don’t drink for the first night since we gave them IV fluids. By the second day, encourage them to both eat and drink especially in younger animal and little dogs to keep their blood sugar up to normal levels.
Also due to the anesthesia, they can still be wobbly at time of pick up. We can help assist with getting them into your car and suggest having someone at home to help assist getting them out of car (especially with larger breed dogs). Take extra caution around stairs since they can fall due to the medication. On another note, beware of your pets around your children because they can be experiencing pain and they may not be acting like themselves due the drugs we use. For the first night home, we suggest that you be present to watch them. Some pain can be expected with any surgery and they may be sensitive to certain movement. However if they are excessively vocal or in pain, you can give us a call that night or the following morning if you are concerned. You can always call Animal Emergency Center overnight if any concerns as well. We rather have you call us a hundred times than to not call and have something go wrong.
With most spays and canine neuters, dissolving suture is used to close the incision. If for some reason we cannot use dissolving suture (like reaction to suture), the suture will be removed in 10 to 14 days. For two weeks post surgery, your pet should not have excess activity like walks, running, jumping, or playing. It is especially important for the first week post surgery that all potty breaks are done with a leash on them so your pet won’t break open their incision by going off running or chasing a squirrel. It may be required to crate hyperactive dogs and separate them from your other dogs to not tempt them into playing.
In addition, they can have no contact with water (swimming or bathing) for those two weeks because it can speed up the process of the sutures dissolving. Also your pet should not lick the incision area, which can open the incision or create an infection. We recommend an E-collar to prevent licking post-operatively.
Don’t hesitate to call us if you have any questions. When planning for your pet’s spay or neuter surgery, we recommend that you plan around any busy time of your life (like family vacations). In addition, it would be best to schedule your surgery as early as possible to ensure that you can get the best date for your family.