Don't litter, Spay or Neuter!
Spay & Neuter Services
We all agree: puppies and kittens are adorable, angelic and priceless. Sadly, there are also just too few homes for the many puppies and kittens born each year. This over-population leads to many healthy puppies and kittens dying each year just because they don't have a home. Reproductive maturity in unaltered pets also poses major health risks in both males and females, so unless breeding is definitely in your pet's future, it is essential to spay or neuter your pet.
Unless you are planning on showing and breeding your pure-bred, AKC registered pet, your pet should be spayed or neutered between 4 and 6 months of age, when they are old enough to be quite safe for surgery but before they become reproductively mature. While it is never too late to reap many health benefits from spaying or neutering, it is safest and best to alter your pet before he or she turns 6 months old. Surgery on "pediatric" pets is also lower risk and less complicated (and so less costly) because of the smaller size of the patient, the relative good health of younger pets and the lack of influence of complicating hormones.
Spayed or neutered pets live, on average, years longer than unaltered pets because of their lower risks of:
- Behavior Problems
When deciding on where to have this procedure done, please be aware of your options and the varying standards of care available at different hospitals and clinics. This is a major surgery and there are significant risks involved with substandard care.
At Animal Medical Center, we provide high quality, safe, effective and humane care to every patient. We include every aspect of a safe and humane surgery on all of our estimates.
We adhere to high standards of care for all our surgeries, including spays and neuters. We believe that our clients want the best for their pets and we provide that excellent care everyday to every patient. Our AAHA accreditation and our adherence to AAHA's stringent standards of care is one more assurance you have that what happens "behind the scenes" at AMC is quality care.
Our standards of care for all spay or neuter surgeries include:
- Comprehensive pre-anesthetic exam by the doctor
- Pain plan customized to the individual patient's needs including appropriate medications to control pain before, during and after surgery (and take home doses as needed)
- IV catheterization for rapid IV access for emergencies
- Warmed IV fluids to maintain blood pressure and protect internal organs while maintaining body temperature
- Patient warming before, during and after surgery with circulating warm water blanket during surgery, warm air blanket during recovery and double thickness polarfleece blankets
- Anesthesia plan customized to the individual patient's needs to maximize the comfort of the patient, minimize the risks of anesthesia and help ensure a rapid, comfortable recovery for your pet
- Premedication with appropriate pain & sedative medications
- Anesthesia induction using appropriate IV medications
- Endotracheal intubation
- Gas anesthesia for maintenance of anesthesia
- Sterile and aseptic procedures
- High quality autoclaved surgical tools
- Good quality suture material for secure sutures and minimal irritation
- Intradermal sutures for less irritation and better healing
- Patient monitoring and recovery monitoring by a trained veterinary nurse, technician or assistant using appropriate electronic monitors, temperature monitoring and, most importantly, well trained personnel dedicated to patient monitoring
- Pre-surgical boarding the night before surgery if preferred to dropping off the morning of the surgery
- Surgical re-check appointment to check healing and remove any sutures
The following items are included in spay or neuter procedures depending on the age and health status of the patient and the needs and desires of the owner:
- Age appropriate pre-anesthetic safety blood and/or urine testing (Recommended but optional on healthy pets under 4 years of age. Required for older pets and for pets with unstable health.)
- Fitting with an elizabethan collar to prevent post-op licking at the surgery site if indicated (Recommended but optional. Need depends on owner ability to supervise and behavior of the patient)
- Fluoride application on young (under one year of age) pet's teeth and/or oravet dental sealant (Recommended but optional)
When possible, we offer the owner the opportunity to make decisions about elective aspects of their pet's care -- but we never offer substandard care.
If you are considering your options on surgery, please be sure to find out just what care is provided to your pet at a particular clinic. Learn what is included in any estimate. Are IV catheters routine? IV fluids? Pre-anesthetic safety blood or urine testing? Patient warming? Patient monitoring? Pediatric dental preventive care (fluoride and/or sealant)? Even pain medications? If these important items are not routine, are they even available?
There are many ways hospitals can cut costs. Many don't routinely place IV catheters or administer IV fluids. Many don't include pain medications for all painful surgeries. Some don't use sterile techniques for surgeries, some reuse surgical packs between patients, some use cheaper suture materials, some don't have a dedicated nurse to monitor each patient, some don't make sure the patient is kept warm during and after surgery. . . If you are "shopping" for a hospital to alter your pet, please make sure that you understand the level of care provided to your pet and that you know what is included in your estimate(s) and what is an "option".
There are many choices to be made by the veterinarian even on a seemingly routine surgery such as a spay or neuter. You can trust us to make the safest, most humane and most caring choices for your pet and to take care of him or her as if she were our own.
Spay & Neuter Frequently Asked Questions
Click on a question below for answers to many common questions about altering your pet.
Why is it best to spay or neuter my pet between 4 and 6 months of age?
Altering your pet before he (or she) becomes sexually mature prevents them from being exposed to the adult hormone levels that can cause serious health risks (pregnancy, infections, cancer, etc.) and problem behaviors (inappropriate elimination, wandering off, aggression, etc.). Young, smaller, healthy pets also have fewer surgical risks. This is also the optimum age to implant a microchip to permanently identify your pet and also to protect their still developing adult teeth with fluoride and sealant and to remove any retained baby teeth to prevent serious dental problems.
How does pre-anesthetic blood testing make surgery safer?
Before placing your pet under anesthesia, it is important to identify any health issues that may make anesthesia more risky. The comprehensive physical exam the veterinarian performs before surgery can identify many concerns but blood testing can identify infections, organ dysfunction and other conditions that are not apparent through physical exam. If the doctor finds any abnormal results, he will talk with you about how we can address any health concerns before proceeding with surgery. Sometimes we may need to delay surgery until we have addressed any problems, but often we can proceed with surgery with consideration of any special precautions that are indicated and proceed with any needed treatment after surgery.
How do IV fluids before & during surgery make surgery safer?
The IV Catheter provides us with immediate access to a vein for administering drugs and/or fluids. This is a vital safety precaution for every anesthetized patient. Additional fluids are important because they help protect your pet's kidneys and other organs by helping to maintain blood pressure during surgery.
How does fluoride protect my pet's teeth?
Fluoride helps harden the tooth enamel to protect it against decay and also helps desensitize the teeth to prevent tooth pain. Fluoride is especially effective on young teeth. This first fluoride application to the developing teeth will reap a lifetime of benefits of stronger teeth. Fluoride can only be applied under anesthesia since it is toxic to dogs and cats and must be wiped away before the pet can swallow it.
How can oravet Dental Sealant help my pet stay healthy?
Dental hygiene is a very important part of keeping your pet healthy and happy for a long life. Daily brushing is the gold standard but most pet owners can not manage this. OraVet sealant helps seal out plaque and bacteria and prevent decay. After we apply the sealant while your pet is under anesthesia, you follow up with quick and easy once-a-week applications of OraVet Plaque Prevention gel at home to refresh the seal. OraVet can be used alone or along with brushing for optimum protection.
How does a microchip protect my pet?
A microchip is permanently placed under your pet's skin between the shoulder blades. If your pet is ever lost or stolen and brought to a shelter, pound or veterinary hospital, he can positively identified and safely returned to you. Lost pets who are microchipped are much, much more likely to be reunited with their owners than pets who are not microchipped. We recommend all pet owners microchip their pets. Many owners choose to microchip their pet's during the spay or neuter surgery since the rather large microchip needle can be painlessly inserted while the pet is asleep for surgery.
Thank you for helping to prevent pet over population by spaying or neutering your pet. Hundreds of young healthy pets die each year in the Morgantown area simply because there are not enough homes for the thousands of puppies and kittens born each year. Please don't delay this important procedure.