Female dogs, or bitches, are spayed to help prevent unwanted pregnancies but also to help prevent life-threatening infections and cancers.
It was often thought that it was best to let a bitch have a season or even a litter of pups before spaying her. There was no evidence however to support this and scientific studies have since shown that there is benefit in spaying before her first season (with a few specific exceptions).
There is a significant reduction in the incidence of mammary (breast) tumours if your dog is spayed early and the procedure is easier, quicker and safer in a young bitch that has not had her first season. If a bitch is in-season, it is best to delay the surgery for 2-3 months.
The procedure can of course be performed at any time in her life and may need to be done as a non-elective procedure if there is infection or cancer of the uterus.
Traditionally within the UK bitches have had ovariohysterectomies (removal of the uterus and ovaries) and on mainland Europe ovariectomies (removal of the ovaries).
All uterine disease is as a result of ovarian hormones so if there are no ovaries the uterus will not become diseased. Therefore only the ovaries need to be removed if the uterus is healthy. This requires a smaller incision and keeps the anatomical support of the lower urinary tract in the region of the pelvis which may help prevent urinary incontinence.
Because of these advantages, I now do ovariectomies as standard but if you wish to discuss any aspect of this please phone 0208 977 3955 or email the vet clinic.
Key hole surgery?
Teddington Vet for Life offers key hole surgery for a variety of procedures including neutering of bitches. The procedure is less painful and recovery is quicker.
More information on key hole surgery.
Spaying and aftercare
Any animal that is neutered is likely to have a change in its metabolic rate. Whereas prior to neutering all food consumed in excess of requirements would have been burned off as heat or run off at the park, neutered animals are more likely to put on weight. Royal Canin produce a Neutered Dog range of diets what in many cases would be a perfect choice following surgery to help prevent excessive weight gain.