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When is the right time to spay?

(Q) My Labrador is due to have her next season soon. I would like to get her spayed because I won’t breed from her in the future. I’d like to get it done this year, but is it best to get her spayed before or after her next season?

(A) Vet Roberta Baxter says: The best time to spay a bitch is halfway between seasons when her uterus has the least blood supply and her hormone levels have decreased. This reduces the risk of surgical complications and hormonal dysfunction.

Since most bitches have a season approximately every six months, we usually plan to spay a bitch three months after a season.

Spaying – the facts

  • Neutering in bitches (known as spaying) involves the surgical removal of the whole reproductive system, from the ovaries to the cervix.
  • An operation called ovariohysterectomy is carried out under anaesthetic, where the abdomen is opened and the womb and ovaries are taken away.
  • Following the procedure, the bitch will no longer have seasons and will be unable to get pregnant.
  • Benefits of spaying include avoiding unwanted puppies, greatly decreased chances of developing mammary tumours in later life, and helping to control behavioural problems such as aggression and hyperactivity.
  • Older unspayed bitches are also prone to a life-threatening infection of the womb called pyometra.

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