Do you want to know more about having your bitch spayed?
Spaying removes the uterus (womb) and ovaries. The bitch will no longer comes into season, so cannot be mated and produce potentially unwanted puppies. She will not develop a pyometra when she is older, which is a life-threatening infection of the uterus.
Spaying of bitches is advised 3 months after the start of the first season (provided that the bitch is not experiencing a false pregnancy at this time), although we do spay some bitches before their first season has occurred.
What happened to Tilly on the day?
Tilly was admitted by one of the nurses, checked over by one of the vets and had an intravenous catheter placed into her front leg so we have intravenous access for the procedure. An premedication injection is given intravenously, which contains a sedative, a strong analgesic (painkiller) and an anti-inflammatory.
Tilly settled into her kennel while the drugs take effect.
An induction agent (propofol) was injected through the catheter which induces anaesthesia.
An endotracheal tube was placed down her trachea to maintain an open airway. Anesthetic gas and oxygen was delivered by an anaesthetic machine and an anaesthetic circuit.
Donna (RVN) monitored Tilly's vital signs and Philippa (vet) clipped Tilly's abdomen so that the surgical site could be prepared for surgery.
Donna prepared Tilly's abdomen ready for surgery. Meanwhile, Philippa prepared for surgery by scrubbing her hands and arms until sterile and putting on sterile surgical gloves.
Tilly was transfered to theatre, where a final scrub was performed of the surgical area. Tilly was placed into the correct position and the multiparameter machine was attached so Tilly's ECG, blood pressure, carbon dioxide and oxygen levels could be monitored. Donna continued to monitor Tilly's vitial signs - heart rate, respiratory rate, temperature, mucous membrane colour and capillary refill time
Philippa covered Tilly in sterile surgical drapes so that only the operating site was exposed and the sterile surgical kit, containing the instruments and equipment needed, was opened.
Philippa started by cutting through the skin in the middle of the abdomen, followed by the fat and connective tissue, before reaching the muscle layer underneath. Once the muscle is cut, the vet identified the location of the uterus (womb), and ovaries.
The uterus in dogs is a Y-shaped structure starting at the cervix, then dividing into two long horns each attaching to an ovary. The ovaries and cervix have a huge blood supply, which must be tied off (ligated).
Once the blood supply was ligated, the ovaries and uterus were removed.
The abdominal cavity was checked for any bleeding, and the muscle layer was closed with dissolvable and strong suture material.
The fatty layer was then closed, followed by the skin.
Intradermal sutures (stitches) were placed in the skin, which are dissolvable sutures buried just inside the skin, so that no stitches can be seen once she wakes up.
The anaesthetic gas was switched off, with the oxygen left on and Tilly woke up slowly and gently. Her abdomen was cleaned and dried
Tilly's kennel was prepared for her recovery with a heat mat and comfy bedding.
Tilly was taken back to her kennel and, once she was swallowing, her endotracheal tube was removed. The operating nurse (Donna) informed the kennel nurses (Kara and Robyn) about Tilly, the procedure details and the post op care plan.
The kennel nurse monitored her carefully, continuing to record Tilly's vital signs as she recovered from the anaesthetic. (Tilly recovered very quickly)
Once awake and alert Tilly was offered some food and water, and had some post-op cuddles.
Different dogs take longer to recover from anaesthetics, so the kennel nurses watch them carefully.
The kennel nurse contacted the owner, informed them how Tilly's procedure went and arranged a home time
Once Tilly was fully recovered and been outside for stretch her legs. The intraveous catheter was removed and she was fitted with a Pet-shirt to stop her interfering with the incision, which can delay healing and cause infection. She also went home with anti-inflammatory, analgesic (painkiller) medication to go on her food - spaying is a major operation and pare much happier in the following days if given pain relief.
Tilly will have a post operative check two days after the operation, to make sure she was comfortable and that the surgical wound was healing well. She will be examined by one of our nurses.
A second post operative check will happen ten days after the operation and once everything has healed, she will be able to go back to her normal activities.