Why should I have my dog spayed?

To spay or not spay your dog is based on several factors.  When to spay your dog is also important.  Being a responsible pet owner, whether spaying or not, is vitally important and up to the individual pet owner.  Many pet owners choose to spay strictly to prevent unwanted puppies. If choosing not to spay your dog, we must be thoughtful about any breeding to ensure the ability to care for the puppies and get them to good homes.  The costs to care for unwanted and poorly cared for dogs in communities and the problems they create can be avoided by careful planning.  The pet’s needs and the potential problems that may be created can be avoided.  Spaying is a vitally important choice for many responsible pet owners, but pet owners can also be very responsible without spaying their pet.
(ACVAA Directory, n.d.)
(Guidelines for Responsible Pet Ownership, 2020)

What advantages are there of spaying a female dog?

  • Increased life expectancy by 26.3%
  • Prevention of “heat” or estrus and the bloody discharge that accompanies this.
  • When in “heat”, the female experiences an urge to escape and male dogs coming into your yard. This behavior can sometimes be dangerous.
  • Preventing pyometra, a uterine infection that left untreated can be deadly.
  • Breast cancer is decreased in dogs spayed prior to their first heat cycle. One cycle only increases the chance by a small percent.
  • Elimination of the risk of uterine and ovarian cancer

(Elective spaying and neutering of pets, 2020)

When is the best time to spay your dog?

The age at which you choose to spay your pet can have both positive and negative effects on the lifelong health of your pet.  These effects and the timing vary depending on the breed and age when the operation is performed.  For many breeds earlier spaying can increase the chances of obesity and chronic non-traumatic orthopedic injury, at the same time some of the other health benefits listed above decrease with age.

For small breeds (< 40 lbs) and for cats spaying or neutering at or around 5 to 6 months of age works very well.

For medium to large breeds it is not as straight forward:

In general, it is best to allow all female dogs time to completely mature prior to spaying.  This means they have finished growing and have usually gone through one heat cycle.

Resources: “Best age for spay and neuter: a new paradigm” (Benjamin Hart, 2019), (Sanborn, n.d.)

(Houlihan, 2017)(When Should I Spay or Neuter My Pet?, 2020)

Are there other reasons to have the surgery performed?

  • Treatment of intractable false pregnancy
  • Females with abnormal cycles due to ovarian cysts
  • Spaying also helps some behavioral abnormalities
  • Treatment of pyometra (infection) or uterine cancer
  • At the time of caesarean-section surgery

What if my dog is in heat?

While it is possible to spay a dog while in heat, it is not recommended.  While dogs are in heat the uterus swells and the blood supply dramatically increase.  This increases the possibility of bleeding complications and increases the amount of time your dog would be in surgery.

Are there any dangers associated with the operation?

Spaying is a major surgical operation and requires general anesthesia. With modern anesthetics and monitoring equipment, the risk of a complication is very low.  There are many new processes that can be used to even lower these risks farther (see more information below).  Both safety and comfort of our pets go hand in hand.  When we decrease stress, anxieties, and pain we improve the safety and minimize potential problems.  Pain is controlled using pre-emptive pain control and local anesthesia.  Most young dogs are very healthy, however even a few very health appearing dogs can have underlying health problems.  Many of these hidden problems can be identified using blood work and an ECG to check the heart.  We can also support the vital body functions through using IV fluids during and after anesthesia.

How should I prepare for this surgical operation?

We offer a few different spay & neuter packages.  These packages are designed to allow you to determine what is best for your specific needs.  If cost is one of the biggest concerns, we have a basic economic package.  Our safety packages help to insure a more comfortable recovery and support during the surgery.  Our pre-anesthetic blood work identifies the health status and function of major vital organs.  A pre-surgical ECG can identify hidden heart anomalies prior to anesthesia.

It is important to understand both your needs, desires and budget.  We are very happy to review this in more detail and offer the costs for each.  We will support and help you do what is best for your best and individual circumstances.

If you pet has high anxiety let us know beforehand.  Fear, anxiety, and stress can be exhibited in many ways, including aggression, hiding, fleeing, or freezing. We can improve the safety and comfort of your pet by having you administer medication at home prior to travel to the hospital.  If you feel your dog will benefit from this service, please let us know.

We want all pets to remain well hydrated.  Food needs to be removed for 12 hours before the surgery, but it is always important to keep water available.

(What can I expect when my pet needs anesthesia?, 2020)

What happens when I leave my dog for this procedure?

All pets scheduled for surgery need to arrive shortly after we open the day of surgery.  We will review the package to ensure your pet receives the care you desire.  We then examine your pet and perform any desired tests to determine the health status prior to surgery.  Anesthetic drugs are carefully selected and calculated. During anesthesia, your pet is closely monitored, a breathing tube is placed to administer oxygen and an anesthetic gas.  A small incision is made just below the umbilicus, then the ovaries and uterus are removed. We use absorbable sutures to improve comfort and you do not have to return to have them removed.

What post-operative precautions I should take?

Activity needs to be restricted for the first 7-10 days. No running, jumping, or climbing stairs.  Use a leash to go outside for potty breaks.  The first 24 hours your pet needs to be kept in a clean controlled environment where it is not too hot or cold.  Any medications prescribed is given as directed.  Licking can lead to problems like infection, excessive swelling, and sutures failing, therefore if you dogs begins licking or you suspect your dog may lick an E-collar is needed.

Spay Packages

Why are there spay packages?

Spay packages allow you to choose what works best for your budget and the level of safety and care you prefer.  Understanding the benefits of each package will help you select the best package for your level of comfort.  Our goal is to offer the best surgery and medicine possible while understanding our clients need for budgeting costs.

Basic Spay Package

The basic spay package includes the most recent recommendations and use of anesthetic drugs and protocols.  Your pet receives a pre-surgical exam to check hydration, heart and lung sounds, capillary refill time & mucus membrane color.  This allows us to gain a general knowledge of the health status and picks up many problems that may create problems during surgery.  While a physical exam can identify many concerns, some abnormalities are only found with other laboratory testing.

During anesthesia we use an endotracheal tube and oxygen support to help maintain excellent oxygenation of all the major body organs.  We have monitoring equipment and a technician tracking the heart and respiratory rates, pulse oximetry, ECG, and anesthetic depth all during the surgery.

Controlling pain is not only important for the comfort of you dog, but it also helps to decrease many complications and has been shown to improve healing time.  In addition to the pain control that is part of general anesthesia we also give a pre-emptive pain medication that will last for about 24 hours prior to creating the pain.  Local anesthesia is also administered insuring that as you dog wakes up it is comfortable and stress free.  We then send pills home to help minimized pain and discomfort during home recovery.

Improved Safety Packages

Controlling Fear and Anxiety – When pets are fear free they are going to not only feel better but have less potential problems.  If your dog experiences fear when away from home or anxiety when not around the owner, we can help.  Using medication given at home before leaving for the spay appointment can help reduce stress and create a safer procedure.

IV Catheter and Fluids – Administering fluids during anesthesia helps to minimize decrease blood pressure that often occurs during anesthesia.  This ensures that all the organs receive oxygen and nutrients during the operation.  This minimized the possibility of adverse problems both during and after surgery.

Blood Work – Many problems and diseases can go unnoticed and are not detectable with only a physical exam.  Blood work includes a serum chemistry profile to determine the health of the kidneys, liver, glucose & protein levels.  A complete blood count (CBC) lets us know if there is mild anemia, infection and possible hydration status.  While most pets that are young are found to be normal, we have dozens of stories where significant diagnosis were discovered through this laboratory test.

ECG – Electrocardiograms allow us to identify subtle heart abnormalities that cannot be picked up through only listening to the heart.  Heart arrhythmias left or right heart deviations, and some heart muscle changes can be identified through analysis of an ECG.  Like blood work results most young dogs are going to be normal, however we do find abnormalities that could be life threatening if not identified prior to administering anesthesia.

What does it cost?     Dog spay packages

To schedule pre-surgical blood work, ECG and a spay please call us at 435-637-8387 in Price or 435-381-2539 in Castle Dale



ACVAA Directory. (n.d.). Retrieved 11 22, 2020, from http://www.acvaa.org

Benjamin Hart, L. H. (2019). Best age for spay and neuter: a new paradigm. Clinical Theriogenology, 235-237.

Elective spaying and neutering of pets. (2020, Nov). Retrieved from AVMA: https://www.avma.org/resources-tools/animal-health-and-welfare/elective-spaying-and-neutering-pets

Guidelines fro Responsible Pet Ownership. (2020, Nov). Retrieved from AVMA: https://www.avma.org/resources-tools/avma-policies/guidelines-responsible-pet-ownership

Houlihan, K. E. (2017). A literature review on the welfare implications of gonadectomy of dogs. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. Retrieved from https://avmajournals.avma.org/doi/full/10.2460/javma.250.10.1155

Sanborn, L. J. (n.d.). Long-Term Health Risks and Benefits Associated with Spay / Neuter in Dogs. Retrieved 11 22, 2020, from http://www.naiaonline.org/pdfs/LongTermHealthEffectsOfSpayNeuterInDogs.pdf

What can I expect when my pet needs anesthesia? (2020, Nov). Retrieved from AAHA: https://www.aaha.org/your-pet/pet-owner-education/aaha-guidelines-for-pet-owners/anesthesia-for-dogs-and-cats/

When Should I Spay or Neuter My Pet? (2020, Nov). Retrieved from AAHA: https://www.aaha.org/your-pet/pet-owner-education/ask-aaha/spay-or-neuter/