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Spaying is a general term used to describe surgical sterilization of the female animal . This can be performed conventionally by removing the ovary and uterus.  More recently, a less invasive procedure providing the same outcome is being performed at AMNC, where through a minimally invasive approach, we remove only the ovaries (see laparoscopic spay below). Both procedures, performed performed by a veterinarian render the animal incapable of reproducing. Here are answers to some questions you may have about this beneficial procedure.


When can I get my dog spayed ?


A spay procedure can safely be performed at as early as 8 weeks of age, but we usually perform the spay procedure around 6 months of age for two reasons.


  1. At six months, most of your pet’s adult teeth will have come in, but if not, we can remove these deciduous, ‘baby’ teeth while your pet is under anesthesia for the spay procedure so they don’t interfere with the placement of your pet’s adult teeth.
  2. There is some evidence that it is better for proper conformational development if the spay procedure is done closer to 18 months,


Do I have to get my pet spayed or neutered?


Animal shelters, both public and private, are faced with an incredible burden: What to do with the overpopulation of dogs and cats that they cannot find homes for. Approximately 3.7 million animals are euthanized at shelters each year, due to the sheer fact that there are not enough willing adopters. Having your pet spayed or neutered ensures that you will not be adding to this tremendous burden; still, spaying your pet is not mandated by law, but the decision to not spay or neuter comes with health concerns that you should be aware of.  More on this below.


What are some of the health and behavioral benefits of spaying or neutering?


Spaying a female dog eliminates the messiness associated with the heat cycle and the risk of breast cancer. It totally prevents uterine infections and uterine cancer.


What is the Spay Procedure For Dogs


Spaying involves surgical removal of both ovaries and uterus , or in the case of minimally invasive spay, just the ovaries.  The procedure is typically performed using a balanced anesthetic approach while carefully monitored by expertly trained technicians and a full complement of monitoring devices. There are many benefits to spaying your female companion. First, you will contribute to the prevention of the dog and cat overpopulation. Second, spaying will eliminate the sometimes ‘messy’ heat cycles that attract male dogs to your house from miles away. Third, you will help prevent diseases in your pet such as pyometra (infection in the uterus) and mammary cancer. Spaying involves surgical removal of both ovaries and the uterus. It can be performed under a number of anesthetics and monitoring devices.


If you are shopping around for a competitive price on this procedure, be sure to inquire about the pain management and anesthetic protocol used, the training of the individuals performing these procedures, and the monitoring equipment and procedures followed. At Animal Medical of New City, a licensed veterinary technician carefully monitors your pet’s depth of anesthesia and vital signs during the surgery and through  recovery.  Although the risk of an anesthetic death in a normal healthy pet is very rare, our expertly trained and licensed veterinary nurses utilizing standard of care monitoring devices and anesthetic protocols allow us to preemptively respond to anesthetic emergencies.  Faster responses can save lives.



Minimally Invasive Spay


Animal Medical of New City is one of the few veterinarians in the Tri-state area to offer a minimally invasive spay procedure.  The tiny incision is less painful and dogs have a much shorter recovery time than those that receive the tradition spay surgery. Learn more about the laparoscopic spay!

More Questions Answered by Our Medical Director, Howard Gittelman


Are There Additional Health Concerns I should Know About?


Dr. Howard Gittelman: Spayed female dogs have a decreased risk of breast cancer, of life threatening uterine infections, and the risk of unwanted pregnancies is eliminated. On the adverse side, spayed female dogs are more likely to become overweight due to a reduction in their metabolic rate, develop uterine incontinence (especially large breed dogs), and in certain breeds, have a higher risk of orthopedic injuries, cancer at an early age, and a shorter overall longevity.  You can use the links below to find our more on any of these topics.



I Have Read that Spaying My Dog Too Early Is Dangerous


Dr. Howard Gittelman: Each breed has their own risk factors for different problems that are unique to the breed and his or her gender. That said, we generally recommend postponing desexing large breed dogs until they are 18 months of age or older.  Unfortunately we do not have enough information to make the recommendation with certainty across all types of dogs, but that’s the benefit of coming to a practice like ours.  We take time to find out about your dog or cat as an individual and about your needs as a pet owner, then we’ll have an open, honest conversation and decide what’s best together.  As a general rule, it is recommended and very safe to spay your dog between the ages of 6 and 8 months.


Are There Alternatives To Spaying My Pet?


Dr Howard Gittelman.  Yes. Although tubal ligation, a procedure commonly performed in women, can be performed on female dogs to prevent them from conceiving, pet owners should be thoroughly educated on the pros and cons before making this choice.