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Dog Spay or Neuter - What You Need to Know About Spaying or Neutering Your Dog

What is the difference between dog spaying and dog neutering?

Good question. Dog neutering is where you remove the testicles, so that's for male dogs. Dog spaying is taking the uterus and the ovaries out, so that's our female dogs.

Dr. Julia Zuercher
Animal Hospital of Statesville

How do dogs spaying or neutering impact the health and well-being of my pet?

Spaying and neutering are dogs, especially if we're not planning to breed or work with them from that standpoint, can help prevent things like uterine infections, some of the behaviors that we see of our intact males, and things like that. We don't necessarily want to do it too early because that's where the big question is of possible spay incontinence in females spayed less than six months old when they're really young; some of the orthopedic things that we start to see some research about. The effects depend on the size of the dog, but especially if a dog is well developed and done growing, it helps prevent a number of other problems.

How soon should I bring my pet in to see you to get spayed or neutered?

It depends on the breed of the dog. The general recommendation is not before six months of age for some of our larger breed dogs, our squatty dogs, like French bulldogs. They can take a little bit longer to develop. So touching base with a veterinarian for specific concerns can help you get a better window. But usually around six months for most of the small breed dogs.

What will my veterinarian need to know about my dog before spaying or neutering it?

The bigger thing is for females. Males, comparatively, involve a little less invasive procedure. For our females, we want to know if they're in heat or when was the last heat cycle, or have they had puppies; anything that could change the amount of blood flow to the uterus. It is good to know both for planning purposes and scheduling but also to minimize the risk of the surgery.

How long will it take for my dog to recover after spaying or neutering?

Most dogs recover pretty quickly, usually within five to seven days for our males and maybe seven to 10 days for our females because it's a more invasive procedure. Then they are back to themselves and feeling better. We just try to keep them calm during that postoperative time so that they rest and feel better. But sometimes, keeping a puppy still is a challenge.

What care should I be prepared to provide at home while my dog is recovering from a spay or neuter surgery?

The biggest thing is keeping them calm, which can be easier said than done. We don't want them running zoomies in the backyard or jumping up on things because they could open the stitches up. So we want them to be calm, and sometimes we have to facilitate that by keeping them on a leash or sending home some medication just so that they don't injure themselves. Sometimes puppies don't have the best impulse control.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (704) 802-1280, you can email us, or you can reach out on social media. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can.

Dog Spaying & Neutering - FAQs

Dr. Julia Zuercher
Animal Hospital of Statesville

Does my dog have to be spayed or neutered?

No, they do not. There are instances where we would not recommend spaying and neutering, like if you're planning to breed the animal or if there is a health concern with a risk for anesthesia. Things of that nature will make us recommend not spaying or neutering. On the whole, if you're not planning to breed the dog where there isn't necessarily a reason, at some point, it's recommended to spay and neuter because it can lower the chances of a number of health concerns.

Shouldn't I let my dog have a litter before I spay her?

A lot goes into breeding that I don't know that everyone understands. It's not just about having puppies. It's also about having healthy puppies. So making sure that the parents are healthy, they're not carrying any genetic things that they could pass on. For that reason, unless you're going to be committed to making sure that the puppies are healthy, it ends up being a lot more work and headache than it is worth. Dogs aren't like people in the sense that they want to be a mom necessarily. They don't really know what that is. So unless you're planning to breed the dog, I usually recommend not having just a litter for the sake of having a litter.

My dog urinates all over the house. Will spaying or neutering help?

It can. Intact male dogs, especially. Their hormones can make them want to mark their territory. Sometimes getting rid of the testosterone influence can bring down that desire. But it depends on how old the dog is. It's not guaranteed to solve the problem, but it's certainly the first step if you're running into those issues. Sometimes it's learned behavior, and they don't come out of it. That's the case with a lot of behaviors of intact animals. You can't guarantee it will fix it, especially if it's an older dog, it's had time to mark all over the place, and that's the habit. But it is certainly the first place to start when there's a problem like marking with an intact dog.

Will spaying or neutering my dog prevent illnesses in the future?

It can. In our male dogs, testicular cancer tends to be one of the bigger things, as well as issues associated with the prostate, because that can be hormonally influenced. Those tend to be the bigger issues. In our females, we can see some cancers at a higher risk. Particularly the ovaries, the uterus, or breast cancer. We also see uterine infections, which can be life-threatening in our females, especially older females. So those would be the bigger things that we would run into with them being intact. If we take out the uterus, there can't be an infection, but if you take away the hormones as well, you can reduce the risk for things like breast cancer or prostate issues.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (704) 802-1280, you can email us, or you can reach out on social media. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can.

Dog Spaying & Neutering - FAQs 2

Dr. Julia Zuercher
Animal Hospital of Statesville

Will my veterinarian give me post-op instructions?

Yes. We will send you home with a document, and our technicians or us will go over what to expect for the next couple of days, things to be on the lookout for and answer any of your questions before sending your pet home.

How long is the recovery after a dog spay or dog neuter?

Recovery time tends to be about a week for both. It might be a little faster for our males. Five to seven days for our males versus like seven to 10 days for our females. But either way, it's not a long turnaround time. They usually come out of it a lot easier than we do.

Will my dog need pain medication at home after the spay or neuter?

We usually send it home. We give them pain medication before, during, and after the procedure, but we normally send home a couple of days of pain medication for you to give, just because it has to be a little uncomfortable and to get them through that window. It usually helps to give it throughout before they start experiencing the pain. If you catch it beforehand, you can keep them comfortable versus letting them get uncomfortable and then try to catch up.

Will my dog gain weight after a spay or neuter?

Sometimes I can. When you take away the hormones, their metabolism slows a little. In puppies especially, when they're growing, and we're feeding them like they're growing, and then they stop growing, and we spay or neuter them, it can make their metabolism slower, so they can gain weight. It's not guaranteed that an animal will get fat when they're spayed and neutered, but we just have to watch its calories and adjust accordingly.

Will my dog's personality change after the spay or neuter?

No, it shouldn't. Things you might see would be a decrease in hormonal behaviors. For example, our intact males can roam more if they smell a female in heat. They might not feel the need to do that. Other things like marking their territory; they might not feel the need to do that with reduced hormones. But it doesn't usually change personality.

Will my dog stop running away if I neuter him?

They can. We know that intact males, because of the hormones, can smell females up to miles away and try chasing after them. We know that that can be risky, especially out in the country when cars don't know a dog is coming. That can be a dangerous situation. So, neutering an intact male can reduce that behavior.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (704) 802-1280, you can email us, or you can reach out on social media. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can.

Dog Spaying & Neutering - FAQs 3

Dr. Julia Zuercher
Animal Hospital of Statesville

How are dog spay surgeries performed?

We make an incision into the abdomen and remove the ovaries, all of the uterus down to the cervix, and then close back up the abdomen. So it's a little bit more invasive than neutering since you are going into the abdomen, but those are the tissue that we're removing.

How are dog neuter surgeries performed?

Neuters are a little bit less invasive. We move the testicles out of the scrotum so we can get to them a little more easily, remove the testicle and some of the spermatic cord and then close up the incision. That's in a nutshell.

Will the spay or neuter be painful for my dog?

It is surgery, and it is an incision, so there can be a little bit of discomfort. But we give pain medication before, during, and after the surgery, including some pain medication to go home for you to give your pet, to keep them comfortable. We find that our animals do really well and seem comfortable pretty quickly after the procedure.

Are there any complications to a spay or neuter surgery?

There can be. The biggest complication that we look for in our pets is excessive bleeding. When we remove the tissue, we cut off the blood supply to that tissue so that they don't keep bleeding. The concern is always if that isn't done appropriately or the dog has an issue with clotting, there could be a complication, but we triple-check everything to make sure that we are minimizing any risk of complications.

How long does a dog spay or dog neuter take?

A neuter is a quick procedure, especially since you don't go into the abdomen unless you have to find a testicle that doesn't come down. But for the most part, a routine one is probably about 10 or 15 minutes. Depending on the size of the dog, a spay is anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, depending on how big the abdomen is.

What are some misconceptions about the spay and neuter process?

I think the biggest misconception is the expectations around what happens after. So there's a lot of concern that animals will get fat, they'll get lazy, and that it may stop behavioral concerns. We have to watch and make sure that they don't gain weight just because they're maturing animals, so it's kind of like us in our thirties. The metabolism's slowing down anyway. That tends to be the bigger issue. That tends to be the bigger issue than the spay or neuter itself. We find that many dogs do not run into that issue, and personalities don't change. They don't get lazy, but sometimes it doesn't fix the behavioral issue we're looking at.

Can the neuter surgery help, especially the aggression after a certain amount of time, once testosterone gets out of there? Sometimes it depends on what the issue is. The more significant thing for males is it can cut down on urine marking, especially if that's an issue in the house. It can also cut down on wandering and trying to find a female in heat which always tends to be a big issue. So not having those hormones at play can help calm down some of those issues, but it does take a little bit of time. You don't have a neuter surgery, and then all of a sudden, they're not gonna roam anymore. It takes time for that testosterone to get out of there.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (704) 802-1280, you can email us, or you can reach out on social media. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can.

Dog Spay Fees

PLEASE READ CAREFULLY:

The dog ovariohysterectomy, or spay surgery, includes:

  • Surgical removal of the dog’s ovaries and uterus,
  • Monitoring of your dog’s temperature, EKG, heart rate and blood pressure during surgery by a highly-trained technician.
  • An anesthesia IV catheter
  • Post-op pain injection
  • Send-home medications to control pain
  • K-laser post-op therapy to help the surgical site heal more quickly.
  • Monitoring during recovery by a technician.
  • Complimentary pedicure
  • A hazardous waste disposal fee

These fees are based on the weight of the dog:*

  • Dogs 1-20 pounds: $315.90
  • Dogs 20-40 pounds: $365.90
  • Dogs 40-60 pounds: $415.90
  • Dogs 60-80 pounds: $495.90
  • Dogs 80-100 pounds: $555.90
  • Dogs 100+ pounds: $625.90

An additional fee will be charged for dog that’s pregnant or in heat.

*Highly Recommended Optional Services:**

  • Blood work: PREA: $75.50
  • Blood work: PREB: $146.50
  • EKG: $27.00
  • Surgical Laser: $73.50
  • Microchip & Registration: $71.50

**Your veterinarian will recommend the blood work panel, PREA or PREB, depending on the age and the health of your pet. The PREB is more comprehensive than the PREA. The EKG screens your pet’s heart BEFORE the surgery. The Surgical Laser is used to make incisions and sear the blood vessels and nerve endings which means less blood loss and decreased pain for your pet. This is especially important for dogs that are more mature, in heat, or pregnant. A microchip is a permanent form of identification implanted under the skin between your pet’s shoulder blades.

Dog Neuter Fees

PLEASE READ CAREFULLY:

The basic dog surgical neuter includes:

  • Surgical removal of the dog’s testicles
  • Monitoring of your dog’s temperature, EKG, heart rate and blood pressure during surgery by a highly-trained technician.
  • Post-op pain injection
  • Send-home medications to control pain
  • K-laser post-op therapy to help the surgical site heal more quickly.
  • Monitoring during recovery by a technician.
  • Complimentary pedicure
  • A hazardous waste disposal fee

The fees for a basic dog neuter are based on weight of the dog:*

  • 1-40 pounds: $268.90
  • 41-60 pounds: $278.90
  • 61-90+ pounds: $298.90

*Male dogs that are cryptorchid (one or both of the testicles have not descended) will incur an additional charge which varies depending on whether the testicle(s) is(are) close to the surface, or deep in the abdomen.

Highly Recommended Optional Services:**

  • Co2 Surgical Laser: $73.50
  • Blood Screen (PREA): $75.50
  • Blood Screen (PREB): $146.50
  • Microchip and Registration: $71.25

**Your veterinarian will recommend the blood work panel, PREA or PREB, depending on the age and the health of your pet. The PREB is more comprehensive than the PREA. The EKG screens your pet’s heart BEFORE surgery. The Surgical Laser is used to make incisions and sear the blood vessels and nerve endings which means less blood loss and decreased pain for your pet. A microchip is a permanent form of identification implanted under the skin between your pet’s shoulder blades.

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