Having your pet spayed can have a number of benefits like reducing the risk of serious diseases and preventing pregnancy and unwanted litters. Here, our San Angelo vets talk about laser vs. traditional spaying surgery for cats and dogs and what you can expect during the procedure and recovery.

The Benefits of Spaying Your Cat or Dog

Spaying your female pets not only prevents unwanted litters from being born, but it can also help protect them against serious and potentially fatal diseases. Here we share some of the additional benefits of having your cat or dog spayed:

Spay Surgery For Cats

Older cats have an elevated risk of developing serious malignant tumors as they get older. Having them spayed can help to prevent this from occurring,

Spaying also helps to reduce your cat's chances of developing an infection of the uterus, and of developing cancers of the reproductive organs.

Undesirable behaviors in female cats can be reduced with spaying, including; increased and overly intense affection, intense rubbing on objects, marking territory with urine, the desire to wander, and heat-induced howling.

Spay Surgery For Dogs

When you spay your dog before she has gone through her first heat you can help to reduce the potential risk for uterine infections and breast tumors.

Female dogs can go into heat every six months, for 2 - 4 weeks. If they are spayed while still young, you can prevent the first heat from occurring entirely.

Dealing with a dog in heat can be frustrating for some pet parents as she will excrete a bloody vaginal discharge and may seem edgy, clingy, or jumpy.

How is the spaying procedure performed?

Regardless of the type of spay procedure that is performed on your pet the procedure to be as follows:

  • A 2-3" incision just below the belly button into the pet's abdomen. Typically, the reproductive tract, both ovaries and the uterus are then removed through this incision.
  • Then the incision will be closed using internal stitches, skin glue, skin staples, and/or stitches.

Spaying Your Cat or Dog: Laser vs. Traditional Surgery

While they both provide the same outcome (sterilization), there are some key differences between laser spaying vs. traditional surgery for cats and dogs.

Laser Spaying

If your vet opts to use laser surgery on your pet they will forgo the use of a scalpel and utilize either hot or cold lasers. Some vets believe that performing the surgery with the use of a laser helps to both reduce the risk of infection and cut down recovery time due to the cauterization of blood vessels as the laser beam vaporizes the cells and "cuts" through the tissues.

Some of the benefits that veterinarians believe the laser provides are:

  • Decreased levels of pain in the immediate postoperative period.
  • Reduced bleeding to the cauterization of blood vessels as the laser beam cuts through the tissues.
  • Decreased risk of infection due to the superheating of the tissues at the incision site which helps to destroy bacteria present at the time of surgery.
  • Less swelling at the surgical site.

Using lasers instead of a scalpel can give the surgeon extreme precision, nonetheless, as with traditional surgery using a scalpel, laser surgery is not risk-free. While your pet may experience less pain with laser spaying, there is still a risk of some of the same complications as traditional spaying.

Traditional Spaying

While some vets may prefer the use of lasers to perform surgeries, others still prefer to use a scalpel. Vets use scalpels for many procedures and are skilled at doing so thanks to it being one of the most commonly performed procedures.

Benefits of traditional spay include:

  • Readily available at most veterinary hospitals.
  • Often costs less than laser spaying.

Hemorrhage is not common when a skilled veterinary surgeon spays a pet, but it can occur regardless of the type of surgery performed.

By choosing a reputable vet and an animal hospital that you trust the risks of complications due to the spaying surgery (whether laser or traditional) should be minimal. When you book an appointment to have your pet spayed, you can ask your vet any questions that you have and they should offer all the information necessary for you to make an informed decision.

Helping Your Cat or Dog Recover After Spaying Surgery

No matter which technique is used, your pet will need time to recover.

Here are tips for a safe and comfortable recovery:

  • Provide your pet with a quiet place to recover indoors and away from other animals.
  • Reduce your pet's activity level for about two weeks following surgery, or as long as your veterinarian recommends.
  • Prevent your pet from licking the incision site. Licking could cause an infection. Using a veterinary 'cone' or a post-surgical t-shirt can help to prevent your pet from licking the wound.
  • Do not bathe your pet or allow them to swim for at least ten days after surgery.
  • Check the incision site daily to monitor healing and watch for early signs of infection.

If you notice any redness, swelling, or discharge at the surgery site, or if the incision has opened up, contact your veterinarian. Also, be sure to contact your vet if your pet is lethargic, has a decreased appetite, is vomiting, or has diarrhea or any other concerns following their spay surgery.

Whatever method of spaying your pet receives, remember that the overall benefits of spaying far outweigh the risks involved in this surgery. If you are at all concerned about the risks of spaying your female animal contact your vet for further information and their recommendations on which type of spaying is right for your pet.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Would you like to schedule a consultation to discuss spaying your cat or dog? Contact our San Angelo vets to book an appointment.