tpvets_logo.jpg (2726 bytes)TOA PAYOH VETS

Date:   14 March, 2010  

Focus: Small animals - dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pig & rabbits.

Toa Payoh Vets Clinical Research
Making veterinary surgery alive
to a veterinary student studying in Australia
using real case studies and pictures

Dr Sing Kong Yuen, BVMS (Glasgow), MRCVS
First written: Jun 10, 2009. Update: Dec 31, 2009

Recently, one young lady told me that her vet  phoned her to spay her female dog at 4 months of age. Her dog was vaccinated one month earlier by this vet who is in her 30s and the lady vet followed up with a call to get her dog spayed.

Poodle, No vaginal bleeding from month 6-8. Spayed at 9th month. On heat. Toa Payoh VetsThis young lady rejected the offer to spay early. She waited for  her dog to come into heat and then spay her 2 months after the heat period.

By the 9th month, the small-breed dog still had not come into heat.  "Most dogs come into heat from 6-8 months of age. She could have a silent heat with no signs of vaginal bleeding," I said when the lady told me that she had monitored her dog daily and would know if there was bleeding.

"She would have had her heat period or could be coming into heat soon," I checked that the vulva area was swollen but not red. She made a decision to spay. The dog was on heat as the uterine blood vessels were enlarged. However, the dog recovered safely.        

Older vets do not phone owners to spay their dogs in the 1970s but times have changed. The animal shelters and some veterinary associations in the USA advocate the spaying of female dogs as early as 3 months of age. The purpose is to reduce the stray dog population if one reads between the lines.

Various vets have their personal opinions as to when to spay the female dog. One veterinarian wrote in the internet that he recommends spaying at 6 months of age, before the dog comes into heat, as evident by vaginal bleeding. At that time, the dog's temporary canine teeth, if not dropped off, can be extracted at the same time. Certainly, spaying at 6 months is easier as the dog has less fat, generally. In addition, some writers claim that spaying before the first heat greatly reduce the female dog getting breast cancer. Any spay over the first heat will increase the risk. There are so many claims and therefore it is up to the owner to decide when to spay their female dog.     

As regards spaying of the female dog who is a home pet, I do not recommend spaying earlier than 6 months of age as the female dog has not matured.

My recommendation is to spay your female dog 2-3 months after her last heat as the operation is practically blood-less and very safe for your female dog. The heat period is usually 6-8 months of age. The main reason for spaying at this time is that the female dog's vulva has had matured. Therefore, she would have no difficulty peeing in later life. Spaying too early, before the first heat, deprives the reproductive organs of the female dog from maturing. 

Miniature Schnauzer X, Female, 3 years. 3 days after spay. No problem with surgical wound. Toa Payoh Vets
tpvets_logo.jpg (2726 bytes)3209. No bleeding as the dog was spayed two months after heat tpvets_logo.jpg (2726 bytes)3220. Surgical wound at 3 days after spay

However, female dogs can be spayed during the heat period but it is a more bloody surgery. I will do it if the owner insists and have been advised of the risk of bleeding accordingly.  Below is some information about your dog's spay procedures at Toa Payoh Vets. 

Cross-pollinate your ideas with others to succeed. Toa Payoh Vets WHAT TO EXPECT. 
The veterinarian removes the womb and ovaries of the female dog. This is called ovariohysterectomy or spay. It is a major surgery.  In healthy female dogs, the risk of dying on the operating table is very low.  

Make an appointment 6254-3326, 9668-6469 for surgery.  The dog must be healthy and not obese (if possible).  She is active and has an excellent appetite.  Dogs should have their last vaccination less than 12 months ago. Bathe the pet the night before and wash her private parts and lower abdomen thoroughly.  Bring the pet to the surgery at 9 a.m.

FOR DOGS.  Don't give food and water after 10 p.m the day before the surgery and in the morning of the surgery date. Make sure the dog has passed motion and urine.  She has no ticks or skin diseases. Bring the dog into the surgery at around 9 a.m. after making the appointment the day before.

The female dog is given a tranquiliser and a general anaesthesia using gas. The skin and muscles of the female dog at midline is incised. A spay hook fishes out the womb and ovaries.

FOR DOGS.  The owner takes the dog home at around 5 p.m. Bring your e-collar if you have one. At home, make sure that the dog does not jump and run around for the next 7 - 14 days. Check the wound daily for signs of itchiness or infection. Replace the plaster on day 3. If not, remove the plaster on day 7.  Give the pain-killers and antibiotics as advised.

The stitches on the skin will dissolve after 14 - 30 days. There is no need to return to the surgery for stitch removal. Consult the vet promptly if the dog is not eating or active or he keeps licking the wound from day 3. The phone number is 9668-6469, 6254-3326,

Some of Dr Sing's interesting cases are recorded below

Small skin incision if a spay hook is used to sterilise the bitch. Toa Payoh Vets

Best time to spay your female dog: 3-4 months after her heat. Toa Payoh Vets

Spay complications: An MRT-line spay

Jack Russell spay pictures

The best time to spay your female dog

Skin incision length using spay hook to spay a mini-Schnauzer.

Undescended left testicle is a Sertoli tumour. 8 year old Jack Russell. Toa Payoh Vets

Dr Sing's recommendations on spay and neuter of the dog

Pyometra in aged female dogs

Update 2004 educational article - Sterilisation of dogs

Pyometra Lhasa Apso 4 years, Toa Payoh Vets

Morning sunlight 10 am. Bougainvillea flowers close up. Singapore. Toa Payoh Vets.

Some owners can understand the need to wait 2 months after the heat to spay the bitch. Toa Payoh Vets

Update: Closed pyometra Lhasa Apso puts on weight after spaying Stump pyometra Siberian Husky spayed
at 3 months after heat was bloodless
Poodle, No vaginal bleeding from month 6-8. Spayed at 9th month. On heat. Toa Payoh Vets
2010. Dr Sing's script for the production of an educational video on closed pyometra operated by Dr Sing 2010. Dr Sing's production of
Closed Pyometra surgery educational video for vet undergraduates
2010. Skin bruises in a spayed dog
spay pomX, prevent blood staining house, Young Labrador X. Female.Bilateral alopecia and spay. Toa Payoh Vets.
A blood-less spay when done 2 months after heat Spay dog before heat. Dog was spayed to prevent soiling of house during heat bleeding Bilateral alopecia before dog spay - inform owner first

Case 1.
I have had encountered cases where the older dog dies due to a delay in the surgery to remove the infected womb. The children would be very upset. The adults start blaming the vet for the death since they don't blame themselves for the delay and/or indecision to get the sick dog operated immediately.

In one case I know of, the female dog had a very high fever. A tentative diagnosis of pyometra was made by Vet 1. After bringing down the fever, the vet advised surgery the next day.  The adult owner had conferences with family members and decided not to opt for surgery, since the risks of dying on the operating table were high.

They got the dog home. The dog was still vomiting. So they went to another vet. The dog died after one day at Vet 2. So, much anger was vented on the first vet as the second vet had charged $1,000 for the treatment but the dog had died. So the first vet was to be blamed.
Case 2.
Many years ago, one owner cursed me and bad-mouthed me after pyometra surgery because her dog still continued vomiting. The kidneys had already been damaged due to toxins from the pus in the womb, resulting in high blood urea. Urea is a toxic substance causing the dog to vomit. This thin dog had been vomiting for several weeks and continued vomiting after pyometra surgery because the kidneys were failing. Spaying would not resolve the problem of vomiting. As far as this adult lady owner was concerned, I did not resolve her problem and bad-mouthed me to her friends who probably thought that spaying by me caused the dog to vomit!   

ECONOMICS. Every owner wants the least veterinary costs for their dog care and this is understandable. Prevention of pyometra by a simple spay when the female dog is young and healthy is most inexpensive.  Female dogs tend to soil the apartment when they are on heat. I can understand that it costs money to spay a dog. However, a pyometra case may cost the owner more than $1,000 depending on the tests (blood tests, X-rays) to be carried out and no guarantee of no death on the operating table.

All these highly charged emotions affecting family members, especially children can be avoided if the adult owners get their female dog spayed at 6 months to 2 years of age.  If the owner feels that it is cruel to sterilise the dog, it must be the owner's responsibility to get the female dog examined yearly or promptly when she is not eating. Pyometra does not occur overnight and when a sick vomiting dog is presented to the vet, that dog is already in poor health.

Be vigilant regarding your older female dog's health especially when she has irregular heat periods or a change in the colour of her bleeding during heat. An annual examination will be the best, but some older Singaporean dog owners just do not do it.  After the joys of puppyhood had long evaporated, the older dog is now a piece of "old furniture". Bad breath? No worries. Loose teeth start falling out? So what? The dog can still eat. Dog not eating for a few days? Wait and see.

The baby-boomer generation that is not really keen in the pet dog is getting old. I am glad to know that the younger dog owners are more concerned and vocal about their dog's health but sometimes it is just too late to save the old companion, due to the neglect of the head of the house-hold.  

Be Kind To Pets
Veterinary Education
Project 2010-0129
For more canine cases at Toa Payoh Vets, Click Dogs

tpvets_logo.jpg (2726 bytes)Toa Payoh Vets
 Clinical Research

Copyright © Asiahomes Internet
All rights reserved. Revised: March 14, 2010

Toa Payoh Vets