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When Should You Spay or Neuter Your Pets?

A common question that we get asked here at Hazel Dell Animal Hospital
 is when should you spay or neuter your pets?  
There are a lot of factors that contribute to the answer of this question, 
however the most common answer is that it depends. A good anesthetic candidate is made up of several factors. 

Having a blood test performed is a great place to start. 
We recommend having blood work done before any anesthetic procedure so that we can help determine if your pet is a safe candidate for anesthesia. We are looking at liver and kidney functions as well. Many of our anesthetic drugs are metabolized through these internal organs so we want to make sure that they are safe for surgery.

Heat Cycles in your Pets
Heat cycles in female cats and dogs are different. Small dogs can go into heat as early as 5 months old. Larger dogs may go into heat between 6 and 12 months of age. Dogs typically cycle twice a year. Some signs that your dog is in heat can include changes in behavior, excessive licking, enlargement of vulva, and red discharge from the vulva. The heat cycle can last 2 -3 months.
A heat cycle in cats can be a little bit different. Cats don't usually cycle at regular intervals. They have a multitude of cycles during the breeding season, which is January through late fall. Some signs include increased vocalization, increased affection, excessive licking of genital areas, and the need to "escape" or get outside. The heat cycle typically lasts about 1-3 weeks.

Age and size of your pet can be a contributing factor.
Many of our patients are about 6 months of age when they are spayed or neutered. This varies though based on your lifestyle, behavior of your pet, and size. There are also studies that have come out that state for certain breeds, it could be better to wait until the patient is older, upwards of 2 years old. There is no true right or wrong answer for this and you can decide after speaking with our veterinarians, which options work the best for you.

Recovery Time after a Spay or a Neuter
Our spay and neuter surgeries are same day procedures. Your pet will come to us in the morning to have surgery and go home later that day. A technician will be with your pet during the entire procedure and during recovery here at Hazel Dell. They will get great pain medication and possibly an e-collar to protect them from doing any harm to themselves. We will call you the next day to check on your pet to ensure that everything has gone well overnight. You should expect once they are at home to keep them as low key and quiet as possible for 5-7 days after.

written by Danielle Fuller ~ RVT


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