Surgery can be a frightening thing to think about.
But the truth is that in the 21st century, most domesticated animals in North America require some type of surgery at some point. Many surgeries are fairly routine, complications are rare, and your animal will be able to enjoy a healthy life afterwards.
Bickford Park Animal Hospital’s veterinarians are well-versed in many surgical procedures for cats and dogs. In cases of more complex procedures, however, you may be referred to a specialist.
Here are some of the surgical procedures Bickford Park Animal Hospital can provide your pet.
Spaying For Cats And Dogs
If you have a female cat or dog, and you’re not interested in dealing with a litter of kittens or puppies, having your pet spayed is a good idea. Spaying your pet prevents them from becoming pregnant, but there are more benefits than just that.
Spaying is the process of removing a dog or cat’s ovaries and uterus, done under anaesthesia.
It’s considered very safe, and the vast majority of procedures are completed without complications. However, your veterinarian will conduct a full physical on your pet to anticipate and avoid any issues, and discuss the benefit of pre anesthetic blood work.
Benefits Of Spaying
It’s important to note that spaying your pet won’t change their personality or behaviour, but not spaying them may once they go into heat. Speaking of which, spayed pets won’t go into heat. This means your dog won’t experience the bloody discharge that’s common for them in heat. And cats, famous for yowling, crying, and urinating in the house during heat, will be much more well-behaved.
Your pet, while in heat, will also become sexually frustrated if they aren’t permitted to mate. This can lead to other behavioural issues, including unwanted advances toward inanimate objects, humans, or other pets in the house. Spayed pets don’t have this problem.
Having your pet spayed before they experience their first heat virtually eliminates the risk of breast cancer in both cats and dogs. It has a similar effect on the development of pyometras, a life-threatening uterine infection that is expensive to treat.
Spayed pets also enjoy increased protection against certain bacterial infections, reproductive diseases, and other types of cancer.
Finally, keeping your pet spayed will help reduce the population of unwanted animals that are filling many of the shelters here in Toronto and across the country.
When Should I Have My Pet Spayed?
It’s a good idea to have your animal spayed around 5-6 months, before the onset of their first heat. However, there are times when it makes sense to either perform it sooner or delay it.
It’s best to speak with your veterinarian at Bickford Park Animal Hospital so you can make the right decision for your pet.
Recovery From Spaying
Once the procedure is finished, your veterinarian may provide you with pain management medication for your pet.
Your pet may also be tempted to lick and bite at the incision site. To stop this, she’ll have to wear a cone around their head. She won’t be happy about this, but it’s better than the alternative.
Avoid giving your pet a bath for at least 10-14 days post surgery, to give the incision site time to heal properly. As well, check the incision site each day. If you see any redness, swelling, or foul odour accompanied with discharge, call Bickford Park Animal Hospital right away.
Otherwise, your pet will likely want to take it easy, but within a few weeks she should be back to her normal self.
Your vet will give you a more complete list of what you can do for your dog’s unique needs.
Neutering For Cats And Dogs
Similar to spaying, neutering is the process of preventing a male dog or cat’s ability to reproduce. It’s done by the removal of your pet’s testicles and surrounding material.
It doesn’t change your pet’s personality, and other than avoiding pregnancy it can also provide a wide range of benefits.
Neutering is generally safe and routine, and the vast majority of neutering procedures go without complications.
Benefits Of Neutering
Importantly, neutering your pet virtually eliminates his risk of testicular cancer, and of contracting most sexually transmitted infections. It also reduces his risk of many prostate issues.
From a behavioural perspective, though, neutering can help your pet avoid dangerous situations and enjoy a better quality of life. If your pet is intact (not neutered) and you aren’t planning on having him reproduce, he may end up sexually frustrated while in heat. This can lead to embarrassing behaviours like humping inanimate objects, other pets in the house, or even you or your house guests.
Male pets in heat can also display aggressive tendencies, causing them to roam around your neighbourhood in search of a mate. Your pet may get into fights with the neighbourhood boys over a potential mate, and if he smells her pheromones, he may chase after her, which can be exceptionally dangerous if you live on or near a busy street.
Male cats also have a tendency to spray while in heat. When a cat sprays, he backs up to a wall or other vertical surface and sprays urine on it. This is his way of marking his territory, but it also smells awful.
By neutering your pet, though, you’re preventing him from entering heat. This means he’s far less likely to engage in the behaviours above.
Having your dog or cat neutered will also help reduce the number of unwanted pets, keeping animals out of the already overpopulated Toronto shelters.
When Should I Have My Pet Neutered?
Similar to spaying, the general guideline is to have your pet neutered between 5 and 6 months of age. But there are sometimes reasons where it’s wise to either wait, or to have the procedure done sooner. For instance, your vet may recommend neutering your large or giant breed dog closer to 12 months, to reduce the risk of arthritis and bone cancer later in life.
Your veterinarian will discuss the options with you and help you make the smartest decision for your pet.
Recovery From Neutering
When your pet comes home after his surgery, your vet will provide you with detailed after-care instructions. Some of the general guidelines are as follows, but it should go without saying that if your vet suggests something that contradicts what you see here, you should listen to your vet.
It’s generally alright to feed your pet as soon as he gets home, but your vet may recommend feeding a smaller meal the first night. He likely won’t need a special diet, but sometimes people like to feed their pet a blander diet than normal in case they have an upset stomach. If he doesn’t eat right away, or if he eats less than normal, this isn’t cause for concern, but if 24 hours have passed and he still isn’t eating, call your vet.
Your vet will provide you with some pain management drugs. Follow their instructions. They should usually be given with food.
Your pet probably won’t want to exercise much for the first couple of days after surgery, and this is for the best. Any running or jumping may tear his stitches or slow his healing. Your vet will recommend reduced or controlled exercise for the first 10-14 days after surgery.
Keep an eye on the incision point, and make sure it looks clean and healthy. If you see any swelling, redness, pus-like discharge, or any other signs of infection, call your vet right away. If it happens to get soiled from dirt, litter, or feces, you can wash it with warm water or saline solution, then dry it thoroughly.
And although he’s not going to be happy about this, he’ll have to wear a cone on his head to prevent him from licking the incision site.
The vets at Bickford Park Animal Hospital provide a variety of other surgeries as well.
If your pet needs surgery, your vet will explain your options to you and help you make the best decision for your pet’s health. If the surgery is a more complicated procedure, your vet may refer you to a specialist surgeon with more experience.
Contact Bickford Park Animal Hospital
Interested in getting your cat or dog spayed or neutered?
The decision to undergo surgery is not one to be made lightly. There are always risks and complications to consider.
Before you make a decision about spaying, neutering, or any other type of surgery, book an appointment with a veterinarian at Bickford Park Animal Hospital. Your vet will help you understand and weigh the risks and benefits so you can make an educated decision.
Contact Bickford Park Animal Hospital today.