Female dogs (bitches) usually come into season about every 6 months after reaching puberty, this usually first occurs around 6 months old, however this can be as late as a year to 18 months old in larger breeds. The season usually lasts around 3 weeks, during this time a female can become pregnant if allowed access to male dogs. Female dogs can become amazing escape artists during this time trying to search for a suitable mate, also males can smell a female in season and can attempt to get into your garden.
What are the benefits of spaying?
Prevention of mammary tumours (breast cancer). The risk of developing mammary tumours decreases if a bitch is spayed after her first season.
Prevention of developing a pyometra (womb infection). This is a common problem in entire
bitches and can be life-threatening as it can cause sepsis. Spaying is the recommended
treatment; however this is a more risky operation as the animal is normally older and already fighting an infection. The cost of this procedure is more than a routine spay because the bitch will require more intensive pre and post-operative care.
Prevention of false pregnancy. Hormonal changes in a bitch are the same during the 2
months after a season whether she becomes pregnant or not. The result is some bitches
developing enlarged mammary glands, producing milk, swollen abdomens, going off their food and subdued behaviour for several weeks.
Prevention of unwanted litters. This reduces the number of homeless dogs and euthanasia’s.
When should I spay?
It is important to ensure the blood supply to the uterus is at its smallest and hormone levels have returned to normal. We recommend the optimum time to spay is 3 to 4 months after a season. If there are signs of milk present in the mammary glands, we may need to postpone the operation by a week or two. There is debate regarding spaying
bitches before their first season, but this can result in stunting the bitch’s growth and development, particularly of the vulva and can result in an increased risk of urinary incontinence or “leaking” later in life. Urinary incontinence can also occur in any bitch as they get older and can usually be treated with medical management.
What are the disadvantages?
Slight change in coat colour or texture
Tendency to gain weight (this can be addressed by reducing the bitches amount of food or switching to a
Risk of urinary incontinence (this still can occur in entire bitches as well)
What should I expect?
On the day – Your dog will be dropped off at the practice at a specified time in the morning and be ready to
return home later the same day. She will recover quickly from her operation but can be out of character for
24hours. You will be instructed of strict aftercare when your dog is discharged.
3 – 5 days after the procedure – you will be asked to bring your dog back to the practice for a post-
operative check and will be advised of any further check-ups/suture removal if required.