No food after 7pm, the previous evening and allow only a modest drink (if wanted) in the morning.

Please arrive between 8am and 8.45am

Please toilet your pet before arrival.

Spaying your bitch at Oak Tree Vet Centre

The technical name for a bitch spay is an ovariohysterectomy, which means the removal of the ovaries and uterus. You will, more commonly, hear people saying that their bitch has been spayed, neutered or dressed. The operation is a one off procedure and is not reversible. Once your bitch has been spayed she will never be able to have puppies.

What are the advantages.

The main advantage is that your bitch will not come into season every six months. This will save you any mess associated with the seasons and will stop the persistent amorous advances of the neighbourhood male dogs allowing you to exercise your pet freely, all year round, without running the risk of her getting pregnant and producing unwanted puppies.

Another advantage is a reduction in the incidence and severity of mammary tumours. Mammary tumours or breast cancer is very common in the unspayed older bitch and early spaying drastically reduces the risk. Mammary tumours are almost never seen in bitches spayed before the first season. The risk is thought to be reduced by over 99% in bitches speyed before their first season and over 90% in bitches spayed between the first and second season. As time progresses the advantage decreases. However, even in bitches spayed late, there does seem to be reduction in the malignancy of any tumours which do occur and

often we recommend spaying if mammary tumours develop in older bitches to remove the “hormonal drive” that makes them increase in size and malignancy.

Prevention of pyometra is another major benefit of spaying. Pyometra is an infection of the uterus which occurs in later life, characterised by the filling of the uterus with pus and a bitch who rapidly becomes unwell. Generally they start with excessive drinking and urination and go on to show profound depression and inappetence often as a result of liver and kidney damage and finally they succumb to septic shock and death. Fortunately a high proportion of pyometra bitches receive surgery in time, to remove the infected uterus but the surgery is longer, more dangerous and the recovery slower. A few are presented too late or are too frail to survive surgery and as a result die from the condition.

Ovarian Cancer is a relatively uncommon, but potentially fatal disease that is prevented by spaying.

Sometimes bitches are spayed to “settle their temperament”. It is a difficult subject to quantify, but some highly strung bitches do seem to improve after the operation.

What are the disadvantages

Spaying, although a routine procedure for small animal veterinary surgeons, is a major operation, involving entry into the abdominal cavity. A small number of animals have problems with anaesthetics, the

operation itself and with post operative haemorrhage. This can result from too much activity, dislodging one of the internal blood vessel ties. Surgical experience, good nursing help and careful supervision does reduce the risk but that risk cannot be totally eliminated.

Another disadvantage is that there is an increased risk of urinary incontinence in spayed bitches compared to their entire counterpart. This is not particularly common and usually responds to diet and medicines and occasionally surgery.

There is a higher proportion of overweight spayed bitches compared to their entire counterparts. There is no doubt that a spayed bitch requires less food for a given weight and activity level. We suggest reducing the amount fed by 10-15% immediately after stitches out. It is easier to increase the food for bitches who lose a little weight than to diet those who have become overweight. We encourage weight checking and weigh your dog at each annual vaccination so that fine tuning of food intake can be made. With proper management, there is no reason for any weight gain as a result of spaying.

Where bitches are spayed before their first season, the vulva can remain very small. As the rest of the body increases in season, the vulva can occasionally become partially hidden behind a fold of skin, which can lead to urine spraying onto the legs. This can be corrected by weight reduction and sometimes surgery.

Some owners feel that the coat of some of the longer haired breeds can become excessively “woolly” after spaying. Whether this is a genuine phenomenon, or simply normal coat changes associated with ageing, is not clear.

When should I spay my bitch

We spay bitches from 6 months old. We cannot spay bitches who are in or who have just finished a season as there can be a great increase in bleeding during and after surgery. Older bitches are similarly spayed midway between seasons. We are always ready to discuss your individual requirements and feelings, to decide what is best for your bitch.

Booking your bitch in for a spay.

We perform routine surgery each Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and given a little notice we can usually accommodate a specific day to suit your schedule. We will ask you to withhold food from 7pm, the night before as it is important that your bitch has an empty stomach for her surgery.

We open at 8am, and normally admit day patients up to 9am but again we shall try to accommodate a later admittance if it helps you.

Most bitches admitted for spaying are fully healthy but we shall, after weighing, examine her thoroughly to establish whether there are any pre existing problems which might have influence over methods and materials used. Some such problems, however, cannot be determined by physical examination alone and we have the facility to perform a pre anaesthetic blood screen to determine whether there is likely to be an increased risk.

We have a modern blood analyser for this purpose and results are available within 15 minutes, allowing any adjustments to be made in the anaesthetic protocol. An extended blood screen for all animals costs £51.96.

Please ask for further details.

As is routine in human hospitals, we can provide intravenous fluid support (a drip) for our patients. We believe this benefits all pets and allows them to make a stronger and speedier recovery. You may request this service on the consent form at a cost of £36.95.

The consent form

We shall ask you, or an authorised adult, for written permission to perform the spay operation on your pet. We make time to guide you through the consent form so that we can explain any terms that you do not understand or are worried about.

The operation

It is the routine at Oak Tree Vet Centre that patients receive not only a sedative to allay any fear but analgesics (painkillers) with their premedication. In addition to the normal drug we use, we have taken advantage of a new product in dogs, clinically proven, to provide 24 hours of pain relief. Individual patients may need longer help than the first 24 hours and we can dispense syrup for home use. We allocate each pet a thermostatically heated pen within our day care kennels, which are situated within our central preparation room. The pens are warm and sound insulated and each has a lightweight polyester fleece for warmth and comfort. All animals are within sight of the operating team, allowing prompt intervention, if required.

Following induction of anaesthesia, all theatre cases are intubated to protect their airway and maintained via a modern gas anaesthetic system, featuring sevoflurane, the latest and considered best anaesthetic gas. All anaesthetised patients are monitored throughout, by the theatre nurse under the constant supervision of the operating surgeon. All patients have their own set of operating drapes and instruments. There is never re-use of drapes or instruments without them having been cleaned ultrasonically, packed and sterilised in our modern hospital standard autoclaves. When we make our abdominal closure we use modern absorbable sutures. This means that after a few weeks there are no “little nobbles” left behind for the whole of the animal’s life as is the case with nylon sutures.

Going Home

We are as flexible as we can be, regarding sending your pet home and we do not have to discharge animals prematurely as we have ample comfortable accommodation for them. When you collect your pet we shall give you full verbal, practical and written instructions on post operative care.

Care of surgical wounds

Wounds do not normally require any attention except for you preventing your pet licking excessively at the wound, or removing the stitches. We have both anti lick products and plastic Elizabethan collars (like lampshades) for sale, to help you. We have to make a charge for re suturing wounds, often involving another anaesthetic, if stitches have been lost as a result of a lack of supervision.

Stitches out

We normally remove stitches after ten days. Bitches who have been spayed should not exercise strenuously until four weeks after their operation to give time for their internal tissue to become strong again.

Contacting us if you are worried.

Please phone us, on 539 7539 or refer to your written post operative instructions in the first instance. Please have a pen and paper ready to write down the phone number if ringing out of normal reception hours.

Please do not arrive at the surgery without telephoning first. This will lead to delay in treating your pet asthe veterinary surgeon may not be there to see you.`

We know that even the most minor operation may cause you considerable anxiety. We shall keep you involved all the way and we assure you that we shall give your pet individual and caring attention.

*n.b. all fees correct at time of writing. E.&O.E.


We know that even the most minor operation may cause you considerable anxiety. We shall keep you involved all the way and we assure you that we shall give your pet individual and caring attention.

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