Should you get your bitch spayed?

Here’s what you need to know about neutering your bitch.

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A bitch spay is a hysterectomy, removing ovaries and uterus under general anaesthesia. It can be performed at any age but is safer in young, thin and fit animals.

Advantages

  • Prevention of coming into season A season is messy, and attracts male dogs which can be inconvenient!
  • Pregnancy prevention – There are already too many strays, but if you wish to breed from your bitch, you should seek veterinary advice. Some breeds are more likely to have problems requiring a Caesarian Section . A bitch does not need to have a litter, she will be just as happy without one.
  • Prevention of Pyometra (womb infection) which can be fatal in older bitches.
  • Prevention of false pregnancy which can make bitches ill after a season.
  • Prevention of ovarian and uterine cancer.
  • Prevents mammary cancers (the commonest canine cancer), the risk is decreased the younger spaying is done.
  • Helps manage epilepsy and diabetes.

Disadvantages

  • Obesity
    This can occur after the operation, but ONLY if the dog is fed too much for her exercise. Spaying makes this more obvious but does NOT cause obesity. Dietary advice is free of charge from this practice and we send a reminder for a FREE weight check three months after the operation so we can check weight and give advice.
  • Incontinence
    Spaying does slightly increase the risk of urinary incontinence, however, non- spayed bitches may become incontinent as they get older (2% do). There is no evidence that timing of spaying affects whether incontinence occurs. Incontinence in older bitches is complicated, factors involved include;
  • Breed
  • Obesity
  • Hormones
  • Bladder position and other internal factors.

Timing

Spaying before the first season is easier, safer and gives maximum prevention of mammary cancer. Early neutering doesn’t harm a bitch’s later health or development. Having a litter makes NO difference to a bitch’s subsequent development.

We prefer to spay bitches either before their first season or midway between two seasons, because blood supply to the womb is then less making surgery safer.

Alternatives

There is an injection that stops a bitch coming into season.

Accidental pregnancy (misalliance)

If your bitch gets pregnant by accident, there is an injection that will stop the pregnancy. Also, in early pregnancy spaying can still be done to terminate the pregnancy.

Having your bitch spayed is a big decision. Please don’t hesitate to contact a member of the Withy Grove team and we will gladly advise you.