Feline ovariohysterectomy, or spay, is the removal of a female cat’s reproductive organs, including both ovaries and the bulk of the body of the uterus and uterine horns. The cat’s lower reproductive tract is left intact. Spaying is considered an elective procedure that is the owner’s choice; however, it is highly recommended for all female cats that are not being retained for breeding purposes (for show or to advance the breed, etc.). This procedure eliminates the chance for pregnancy and, depending on the sexual maturity of the cat when performed, greatly reduces the risk of reproductivehormone associated cancer. It is recommended to spay before puberty (before 6 months of age). Spaying also reduces calorie requirements by about ⅓.
Complications of the procedure may include leaving behind some ovarian tissue (there may also be a developmental abnormality where reproductive hormone producing tissue is located elsewhere than just the ovaries) so the cat may still exhibit estrus activity (or heats); internal bleeding; pseudopregnancy in mature cats that recently were in estrus (heat); peritonitis, or internal abdominal cavity infection; surgical incision infections; dehiscence, or wound healing failure; and urinary incontinence. Other complications associated with anesthesia include shortterm vomiting or diarrhea, ileus (decreased gut motility or decreased movement of food in the intestines), and death.
Home Care Instructions
- Most spay patients with an uneventful convalescence will be fully recovered in 2 weeks (the amount of time for full depth skin incisions to heal). Usually, progress exams and follow up appointments are not necessary.
- A spay is a major abdominal surgery; your pet should be kept quiet with restricted activity for 34 days (no jumping, no stairs, etc.) to put less strain on the sutures.
- To reduce the possibility of postoperative swelling and infection, it is imperative that the surgical site be kept clean and dry for at least a week.
- Your pet should also be prevented from excessive licking or chewing at the surgical site for about a week. If an ecollar (Cone of Shame) is needed, please see the front desk staff. If your pet rips or chews out the sutures, please call. Your pet will be sent home with a mandatory Cone of Shame after the suture is repaired.
- Please examine the area the incision twice a day for 10 days; if excessive swelling, redness, pain, or discharge is noted, please contact us at Pickrell Veterinary Clinic.
- If there are any general signs of illness (i.e. vomiting, diarrhea, lack of energy, lack of appetite, fever (greater than 102.5), pale gums and/or mucous membranes, distended abdomen), please do not hesitate to call. There may be mild vomiting or diarrhea for a day or so after anesthesia. There is occasionally some blood or discoloration of the urine from the body absorbing blood in the abdomen from surgery. Mature cats may be slower for 35 days as the recover from this major surgery. If there are any questions, please do not hesitate to call.