Ovariohysterectomy is the medical term for spaying a female dog. Ovariohysterectomy is best performed on a puppy around 5-14 months of age, following the advice of your veterinarian. Ovariohysterectomies can be performed at any age; however, the surgery is less complicated and there fewer risks when the animal is young. Additionally, the risk of mammary tumors are reduced by 98% if the female is spayed before her first heat cycle. However, for large breed dogs such as German shepherds, Labradors, Golden Retrievers, etc., it may be better to wait until all of the bone growth plates have closed. This generally occurs around 12 to 14 months of age.
Even though a spay is considered routine surgery, there is nothing routine about any abdominal surgery performed under general anesthesia. Most Veterinarians consider a dog spay to be major surgery, especially when spaying older bitches that have had several heat cycles or have had puppies.
Dog ownership comes with many responsibilities. Preventing unwanted pregnancies is one. All humane organizations, animal shelters, and veterinarians promote the concept of pet population control by having dogs and cats spayed and neutered. The cost of the dog spay is inexpensive, especially when you consider what is involved. Along with preventing mammary cancer, additional health benefits of spaying your dog include prevention of uterine infections, avoidance of future ovarian issues, and a decreased risk of certain skin disorders.
Pre-Surgical & Post-Surgical Considerations
Your pet should be current with her vaccinations
No food should be given 12-18 hours before the surgery
No water should be given 2-4 hours before the surgery
Your dog's activities should be restricted for 5-7 days after the surgery
Sutures may need to be removed 10-14 days post-surgically.
Call the veterinary hospital if you notice any problems or have questions regarding your dog's health. For more information, see the article "Decision To Have Your Male Dog Neutered And Your Female Dog Spayed."