To be a cat owner, you have to be a cat lover. And to truly love cats, you have to support their overall health and day-to-day wellness. This means providing them with “creature comforts” and ensuring they remain safe from infectious diseases. While cat vaccinations are tailored to the unique needs of each pet, they’re a critical line of defense for cats in general.
By Ashley Dawes, DVM
Bringing your pet in for a vet visit can be stressful, whether it is for a routine visit or for a problem. We at Dupont Veterinary Clinic have put together a list of items to bring with you to help make your visit as stress-free and easy as possible.
Your Pre-Vet Visit Checklist
Planning ahead can make your pet’s vet visit more productive for all involved. Before you and your pet jump in the car, be sure you have the following: Continue…
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Is pre-anesthetic blood work really necessary? Yes. Pre-anesthetic blood work is used to find the “1 in 50” cats that might have an unforeseen health problem. This information is needed to assess concerns and minimize anesthetic risk.
How long will my cat stay in the veterinary hospital? Usually a cat spay is an outpatient procedure. In most clinics, your cat would come in the morning and go home in the afternoon.
Is a cat spay expensive? A cat spay is relatively cheap, especially when you consider the advantages to the alternative. The cost to spay a cat is cheaper than raising a litter of kittens for a year. Remember, the cheapest place in town is probably not the place to have your cat spayed. What is the reason they are cheaper? A veterinary hospital can not provide competent doctors and technicians, high quality surgical supplies and modern anesthetics, pain medications and fluids for nothing. Don’t sacrifice your cat’s safety for a few dollars.
Can I have my cat declawed at the same time as the spay? Talk to your veterinarian. Often if you and your veterinarian decide that declawing is in your cat’s best interest, it is prudent to do both at the same time. This avoids additional costs and two separate anesthetics.
My cat gets stressed at the vet office. Is there anything I can do? We recommend using a cat carrier and a fluffy towel for your cat to hide in. Some cats do better with a product called Feliway – a calming spray that is applied to the carrier. Find a veterinarian with a separate cat waiting area or one that will allow you to quickly go into an exam room to avoid the stress of barking dogs in the waiting area.
Will I need to give my cat pain drugs? Yes. Your cat should receive medication to control post-op surgical pain just as we would after a surgical procedure. An oral medication should be prescribed. These are often given just once daily. A liquid is sometimes easier to give.
At what age should I spay my cat? A cat should be spayed before it begins to go into “heat”. Typically 5 to 6 months of age is the best time to spay a cat.
Will my cat gain weight after her spay? Your cat may have a slight predisposition to gain weight after a spay is performed. Of course as a cat reaches maturity they have a tendency to become less active and gain weight too. Regardless, exercise and a quality diet in appropriate amounts is important.
Will my cat continue to have heat cycles? No. Your cat will no longer go through heat cycles.
What are the advantages of spaying my cat?
1) Prevention of unwanted litters of kittens
2) Avoid annoying behavior of a cat in heat
3) Prevention of health problems later in life
The main reason to consider spaying your cat is due to unwanted litters of kittens. The average fertile cat produces 1 to 2 litters per year. The average litter size is 4 to 6 kittens. According to the ASPCA about 1.3 million cats are euthanized each year. It is estimated there are 70 million stray cats in the US. The vast majority of cats entering shelters are not spayed.
Cats that are not spayed frequently develop mammary cancers or pyometra, a serious type of uterus infection, later in life. Spaying a cat early in life prevents these problems.
Do your part! Spay your cat! Keep her indoors. Provide exercise, a good diet and good health care. A cat should be taken to your veterinarian annually for a physical exam, vaccines, parasite protection and any other necessary health care needs. Remember – dogs and cats age much faster proportionately compared to humans.
A cat spay is technically an ovariohysterectomy of a female cat. The uterus and ovaries are surgically removed resulting in the inability of a cat to reproduce. A spay, while not an especially long, difficult, surgical procedure, is still a major abdominal surgery.
What are the steps involved in a cat spay?
- Your cat should be given a thorough physical exam by a licensed veterinarian.
- Pre-anesthetic blood work should be performed to be sure your cat is an ideal surgical candidate.
- Anesthesia is administered – first by an injectable “induction” agent, then maintained by a modern gas anesthetic such as Isoflurane or Sevoflurane.
- An antiseptic surgical scrub is performed after shaving your cat’s abdomen.
- A sterile surgical pack is opened while the surgeon performs a sterile scrub/prep procedure followed by gowning and gloving.
- Your pet is placed on the surgical table and surgical lights are aimed at the sterile field.
- An anesthetic monitor should be used to monitor heart rate, oxygen saturation of the blood and other parameters.
- Ideally fluids are administered to your cat.
- The abdomen is opened, the uterus and ovaries are exposed, the arteries to these structures are tied off with suture and the organs are removed.
- The abdominal muscles are closed with sterile suture followed by closure of the subcutaneous tissue and the skin.
- Your cat will then be “recovered” from anesthesia by removing her from gas anesthesia, monitoring vital signs and keeping her warm with blankets or warming pads.
- Pain medications should be administered to reduce your pet’s discomfort.