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Spay (Ovariohysterectomy)

Spaying (Ovariohysterectomy) in Cats

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Ovariohysterectomy is the medical term for spaying female cats. The procedure consists of surgical removal of the ovaries and uterus. If the ovaries are not removed, the bothersome heat periods still occur even though pregnancy impossible. Surgery is usually performed at 4 to 7 months of age.

Prevention of pregnancy and heat periods is the main reason for the surgery, but the procedure is also performed in treating severe uterine infections, ovarian and uterine cancer, and some skin disorders.

What are the advantages?

  • There will be no more heat periods.
  • There will be no unwanted kittens.
  • The uterine infections common to older cats rarely occur.
  • There is less chance of mammary gland cancer.

Surgical Procedure
Though it is routinely performed, ovariohysterectomy is major abdominal surgery requiring general anesthesia and sterile operating technique.

Important considerations before and after surgery

  • Your cat should be free of intestinal parasites (worms), and all vaccinations should be current before surgery.
  • Do not feed your cat for 12 hours before admittance for surgery.
  • Restrict your cat’s activity for about a week after surgery.
  • Suture removal is not necessary as they are placed under the skin.

Home Care

  • Your cat’s abdomen may be sore and tender for the first week after surgery.
  • Exercise should be restricted for the first week following the procedure.
  • The doctor will inform you of any necessary diet changes based on your cat’s age and surgery recovery.

Notify the doctor if any of the following occur:

  • Your cat irritates the incision (i.e. licking, biting, scratching).
  • Your cat refuses to eat or is depressed after the first day home.
  • There is a change in your cat’s general health.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Will it make my cat fat and lazy?
No. Obesity is due to excessive calorie intake. Weight can be controlled with proper feeding and exercise.

Will it change her disposition, personality, or intelligence?
Cats' personalities do not fully develop until about 1 year of age. If there is a personality change after spaying at an early age, it would have occurred without surgery.

Shouldn’t my cat have a litter first?
No. There is no advantage in allowing your cat to have a litter of kittens.

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