Desexing Female Dogs

We strongly recommend that all puppies not intended for breeding should be desexed at about 5 & a half months of age before they reach sexual maturity. In females this will be before they come into season (on heat) for the first time.

There are many advantages to desexing our pets at this age. It completely prevents uterine infections, ovarian cancer and mammary tumours. Females will not come into season and so there is no mess and no risk of unwanted pregnancies.

Undesexed animals can be more prone to diabetes and other health problems as they get older.

The age at which to desex a dog is much debated, years ago desexing female dogs was usually done after they gave birth to their first litter, and never before 6 months of age but these days recommendations are very different. The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) recommends that vets should desex dogs before puberty unless there is a valid reason to delay the procedure. There has recently been some concern regarding desexing large breed dogs before 12 months of age. We have reviewed this information and still recommend desexing all female dogs at 5 & a half months as delaying the surgery until 12 months of age does not protect against mammary tumours.

What does the surgery involve?

Desexing a female dog is also know as speying. The surgery involves removing the whole uterus and both ovaries. It is a standard procedure, but is still a major surgery, done under full anaesthetic. Your pet will have her abdomen shaved and a surgical incision will be made, usually this incision is closed with intradermal (internal) stitches so there are no sutures to remove later. She will need to be kept quiet for 10 days after the surgery & may need to wear an Elizabethan collar to stop her from licking at the wound. While she is under anaesthetic we can give her a desexing tattoo and microchip her (if not already done) and do a microchip tattoo, clip her claws, check her ears and empty her anal glands if necessary.

Your dog will be admitted in the morning usually between 8am & 9.30am. The surgery is usually performed late morning after pre-anaesthetic health checks & blood tests have been performed. She will then be ready to go home some time after 3.30pm. The surgical nurse will phone you with an update once your pet is in recovery & organise a discharge time that suits you. We are open until 8pm so a later pick-up is available if required.

The risks of desexing procedures

As dog desexing is a standard procedure, complications are not very common. However, complications can occur if the wound gets infected, and the opening of the abdomen during the spaying procedure can, very rarely, cause haemorrhaging.
Anaesthesia also has its own inherent risks but we use the most up to date anaesthetic agents & monitoring equipment. All dogs are placed on intravenous fluids to help maintain their blood pressure and to speed up their recovery.

Post operative care

Post operative care will be discussed with you in detail when your dog is discharged. She will have a pain relief injection given at the time of surgery and you will be given additional medication for 2 days post-operatively.
She will need to be kept quiet until the wound has fully healed at about 10 days post-operatively. This means exercising her only very gently e.g. a short stroll or walk on leash. No excessive play for 10 days & prevent physical activity like jumping or play fighting
No swimming or bathing until her 10 day post op check. This will allow her wound to heal without complications.

Two complementary post op checks will be arranged for 5 & 10 days post-operatively.