Having your female dog or cat spayed is a responsible and loving thing to do for your pet, but should you have your pet laser spayed or spayed traditionally? Here, our Norristown vets share more about spaying your pet.
Benefits of Spaying Female Cats & Dogs
Spaying your female pets can help to prevent several serious health issues and undesirable behaviors.
Cats that are spayed before their first heat have a reduced risk for malignant mammary tumors later in life.
Spaying also helps to reduce your cat's chances of developing an infection of the uterus, and of developing cancers of the reproductive organs.
Spaying can reduce undesirable behaviors in female cats such as increased and excessive affection, intense rubbing on objects, marking territory with urine, the desire to wander, and heat-induced howling.
Spaying your dog before her first heat can help her to live a long and healthy life by preventing serious issues such as uterine infections and breast tumors.
If spayed dogs are spayed when they are young, they will not go into heat. Female dogs that have not been spayed typically go into heat every six months for about two to four weeks. When a female dog is in heat, she will produce a bloody vaginal discharge and may appear agitated, clingy, or jumpy.
The Spaying Process
Whether your vet performs a traditional spay on your pet or a laser spay, the process is largely the same:
- A 2-3" incision just below the belly button into the pet's abdomen. Typically, the reproductive tract, both ovaries, and the uterus are then removed through this incision.
- Then the incision will be closed using internal stitches, skin glue, skin staples, and/or stitches.
Laser vs Traditional Spay
Vets use hot or cold lasers instead of traditional scalpels in laser surgeries. Some veterinarians believe that using a laser to perform the surgery reduces the risk of infection while also shortening recovery time due to the cauterization of blood vessels as the laser beam vaporizes the cells and "cuts" through the tissues.
Many vets feel that the benefits of laser spaying are:
- Decreased levels of pain in the immediate postoperative period.
- Reduced bleeding 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.
- Less swelling at the surgical site.
Using lasers instead of a scalpel can give the surgeon extreme precision, nonetheless, as with traditional surgery using a scalpel, laser surgery is not risk-free. Although lasers may cause less pain than scalpels, laser surgery still has the potential to be painful, and hemorrhage (while rare) can still occur.
While some vets may prefer the use of lasers to perform surgeries, others still prefer to use a scalpel. Vets use scalpels for many procedures and are skilled at doing so. It's also important to note that spaying is among the most common veterinary surgeries and most vets become very skilled at spaying.
Benefits of traditional spay include:
- Readily available at most veterinary hospitals.
- Often costs less than laser spaying.
Hemorrhage is not common when a skilled veterinary surgeon spays a pet, and the type of bleeding that can occur as a complication during spays cannot be stopped or prevented by using a laser rather than a scalpel.
By selecting a reputable veterinarian and an animal hospital in which you have faith, the risks of complications from spaying surgery (whether laser or traditional) should be minimized. When scheduling an appointment to have your pet spayed, ask your veterinarian about the risks of surgery as well as the recovery process.
Helping Your Pet Recover Comfortably From Spay Surgery
Whether you choose to have your pet laser spayed or traditionally spayed your pet will need some time to recover.
Here are tips for a safe and comfortable recovery:
- Provide your pet with a quiet place to recover indoors and away from other animals.
- Reduce your pet's activity level for about two weeks following surgery, or as long as your veterinarian recommends.
- 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.
- Check the incision site daily to monitor healing and watch for early signs of infection.
If you notice any redness, swelling, or discharge at the surgery site, or if the incision has opened up, contact your veterinarian. Also, be sure to contact your vet if your pet is lethargic, has a decreased appetite, is vomiting, or has diarrhea or any other concerns following their spay surgery.
Whatever type of spay surgery you choose for your pet, keep in mind that the overall benefits far outweigh the risks involved. If you are concerned about the risks of spaying your female animal, contact your veterinarian for more information and advice on which type of spaying is best for your pet.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.