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Female cats (spaying)

Why do we recommend spaying?

If your cat is not spayed and allowed free outdoor access, she will inevitably become pregnant. Rearing kittens can be expensive and it is not always easy to find caring homes for the resultant kittens. Having multiple litters places an increased demand on your cat and this may shorten her life expectancy. Entire cats are more likely to roam increasing the risk of loss, fighting injuries and road traffic accidents. Fighting between cats increases the risk of becoming infected with the feline leukaemia virus and the feline immunodeficiency virus (cat AIDS). Finally, during the spring and summer, female cats come into season (or call) every 2-3 weeks. During these periods, your cat will demonstrate certain behavioural traits e.g. rubbing against objects and people, rolling on the floor and even howling constantly. These signs are often mistaken as signs of pain and owners sometimes present their cats to our vets for advice and treatment. This regular and dramatic change in behaviour is not always easy to live with.

What are the disadvantages?

Complications associated with spaying cats are uncommon and include the anaesthetic risk and the surgical risks (e.g. wound swelling & breakdown and haemorrhage). Thankfully, all our surgeons have a proven neutering track record, and the incidence of serious complications at Woodcroft Vets is very low. Finally, once spayed, your cat will burn fewer calories, despite her remaining as active as ever. Spayed cats are therefore prone to gaining weight. This can easily be prevented by providing fewer calories. This does not necessarily mean feeding less. We stock a complete range of Royal Canin life stage diets. The Royal Canin neutered cat diets are specially designed with the nutritional requirements of spayed cats in mind.

When do we recommend spaying?

We recommend neutering cats at 6 months of age.

We strongly recommend all kittens have an adolescent / six month check, prior to neutering, with one of our vets. If your cat has been vaccinated with us and is a member of Woodcroft Vets’ Pet Club, this check is free of charge. This is an ideal opportunity to examine your cat and to discuss any concerns you may have. We may identify additional problems that could be corrected under the same anaesthetic as the neutering procedure e.g. correction of an umbilical hernia or removal of deciduous teeth and hind limb dew claws. We can also discuss a range of preventative health care options. Membership of our Pet Club also entitles your cat to a 20% early neutering discount (ask us for more details).

What should I do next?

Please call your nearest branch for further details. Briefly, we recommend the process starts with your cat having a consultation with one of our vets. This allows us to make sure that your cat is healthy enough to undergo general anaesthesia and the operation. We will also start planning the anaesthetic protocol, based on any special requirements your cat may have. This consultation is usually combined with our free adolescent health check, if your cat has had her primary vaccination course with us. If you are new to our practice, or we have not examined your cat recently, we will ask you to arrange a pre-op appointment to perform a general health check.

What happens on the day?

We will ask you to bring your cat to one of our clinics on the day of the operation between 8am and 9am (depending on the specific clinic opening times). Your cat should be starved from midnight, the night before. Free access to water should be allowed until the time you leave your house. It is important that food should be withheld to reduce the risk of anaesthetic complications.

Once admitted to the clinic, your cat will be re-examined and, if requested, a pre-anaesthetic blood sample submitted for in house analysis. We will discuss any significant results with you prior to anaesthesia.  Before anaesthesia your cat will be given a premedicant. This will calm your cat, provide pre-emptive pain relief and reduce the anaesthetic doses subsequently used.

During the anaesthetic process we use the most advanced anaesthetic agents. These agents are short acting and so recovery times are usually short. Unfortunately, there are no safe anaesthetic drugs, only safe anaesthetists. All anaesthetic drugs depress the performance of the cardiovascular and breathing systems: monitoring and patient support are key for successful veterinary anaesthesia.

To this aim Woodcroft Vets staff have various tools to help monitor anaesthesia. A recent survey of general practice anaesthesia (CEPSAF study) concluded that many veterinary practices do not use monitoring devices. See our Anaesthetic Brochure for more details of our gold standard anaesthetic service.

During the surgery, the uterus and ovaries are removed through a small incision which is usually made on the left flank. In specific cases (e.g. when a small hernia is present or with certain cat breeds), we will recommend that the operation is performed through an incision made on the underside of the abdomen, instead of the flank.

After the procedure is completed, your cat will start to recover from anaesthesia soon after the anaesthetic is stopped. Your cat will be moved to a warm comfortable bed in the recovery area where the monitoring process is continued.

A recent survey identified the recovery time as an ‘at risk period’. We, at Woodcroft Vets, are fully aware of the risks associated with the recovery period: diligent anaesthetic monitoring is continued until your cat is fit enough to be moved to our hospital wards. 

Your cat may be provided with an Elizabethan collar to prevent her licking the wound and causing an infection.

Usually your cat will be discharged on the same day as the procedure. Slight wooziness after the anaesthetic is not uncommon. A small light meal should be offered that evening. We provide Royal Canin’s sensitivity diet after all our anaesthetic procedures. This is an ideal diet for the first 12-24 hours after anaesthesia to reduce the risk of gastrointestinal upsets.  Your cat should have a post operative check 3-4 days after surgery with one of our trained veterinary nurses. This examination is included in the cost of the procedure. If you are unsure about anything before or after this appointment, please feel free to contact us for advice.

Your cat should be kept indoors until the sutures are removed, 12 days after the operation. 

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