Centretown Veterinary Hospital

[Centretown Veterinary Hospital]

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Spaying and Neutering Cats

Neutering (Orchiectomy)

What is neutering?

Neutering is one of the most common operations performed in any veterinary hospital. It involves the removal of the testicles from within the scotal sac. Compared to many other procedures it is relatively quick and, thanks to pain management, painless.

Why neuter?
[Photo of a cat peering into a balcony]

When male cats mature at around 7 or 8 months they develop habits which would encourage them to have greater numbers of offspring… but tend not to be desirable in a family pet and can be downright dangerous in the fast times he lives in. They will often begin spraying vertical both indoors and out in order to mark their territory. They will start to develop wanderlust and begin traveling farther especially at night. They will also become territorial and get in fights with other cats. These behaviours are not only unpleasant but leave him susceptible to being hit by cars and bitten and developing cat bite abscesses and catching diseases such as Feline Immuno Deficiency Virus (FIV — feline AIDS).

Also, recent work by the feral cat society has shown that for each unneutered cat out there, they create 100 to 400 unwanted kittens over 7 years.

By neutering early, we recommend 6 months or earlier, you can avoid most if not all of these unwanted behaviours.

About the surgery

As with all surgery at Centretown Veterinary Hospital, your cat will be examined thoroughly to establish its health and eligibility for surgery. Depending on the patient, they may or may not require pre-anaesthetic blood work, the suitability of which can be discussed with your veterinarian at any time.

During the surgery the patient is rendered unconscious with anesthesia. They are given pre-operative pain medication to decrease any pain during the surgery.

The hair on the scrotum is removed or “plucked”. The skin is disinfected and two very small incisions (from 1 cm to 2 cm depending on testicular size) are made in the scrotum. The testes are tied off and removed. Due to the special nature of the incision, normally no sutures are required.

The entire surgery usually lasts 10 to 15 minutes and most commonly your cat can go home the same day. Complications are very uncommon, and the recovery is uncomplicated and fast. To be on the safe side however we generally recommend you go home with a special cat litter which won’t stick to the incision. Your guy should be back to his normal self within a day or two.

Spaying (Ovariohysterectomy)

Spaying a female cat involves the removal of almost the entire reproductive tract including the ovaries and the uterus (ovario (ovaries) hyster (uterus) ectomy (removal)). Although it is an abdominal procedure and not one to be taken lightly, it is one of the surgeries veterinarians perform most often and at which veterinarians are the most proficient.

Why Spay?

When a female cat becomes mature at around 7 months she comes into “heat”. This heat lasts one week in duration and recurs every two to three weeks until she is bred. This is great for making kittens, but not so great for the family pet because she can start to meow very loudly, and cry persistently and at odd hours. She will also start rubbing and rolling around all the time and everywhere. If she is spayed, this behaviour will stop.

Spaying also has benefits that extend into the future. An unsprayed female is at high risk to develop a uterine infection (pyometra), which often proves fatal. They are also more likely to develop cancer of both the reproductive tract as well as breast cancer.

Again, spaying a single female cat will decrease the unwanted population of kittens by 100 to 400 individuals over the seven year life of that cat.

About the Surgery?

As with all surgeries, your cat is thoroughly examined to determine that she is healthy and that she is a good candidate for surgery at this time. Depending on the pet, pre-anesthetic blood work may or may not be required prior to surgery. Your veterinarian would be happy to discuss this with you at any time.

Your cat is brought in by you in the morning having not eaten since 8pm the night before. This is to avoid any anaesthetic complications. She then receives preoperative pain medication and is placed under general anaesthesia. She is kept on a warming blanket during surgery and her hair is shaved and the skin aseptically prepared.

A very small incision is made (usually 3 cm) in the middle of her abdomen just inbetween her hips. The doctor carefully removes both ovaries and the uterus, tying off all blood vessels using absorbable suture material. The body wall is then closed using absorbable suture and the skin is closed with a special pattern where the absorbable suture creates stitches which are not visible under the skin. No skin stitches need to be removed.

This is a major abdominal procedure, hopefully the most major your cat will ever require, and it takes about 15 to 30 minutes. A very small surgical scar is barely visible once the body has completely healed. Depending on your level of comfort, your cat can either stay the night to rest calmly with us or she can go home to rest with you. The recovery is fast and uneventful and complications are usually few and far between.