Spay – Why You Should Just Do It

Despite the fact we do spay surgeries routinely, it is really anything but a routine surgery! A neuter may be routine. They neuter cows in the pasture after all, but a spay is cutting into the abdominal wall, removing the uterus and uterine horns then suturing the pet back up. The technical term is ovariohysterectomy. Broken down into English it means Ovario – ovaries, Hyster – uterous, ectomy – cutting out/removal. This is major surgery and can have long term complications if done incorrectly. Luckily we do enough spays that the risks are very minimal and the rewards grand.

What? Why spay if there are risks?!

When I told my nine-year-old  daughter I was adopting LeeLoo and she was coming home after a surgery so there would be no kittens in the house I received twenty minutes of…





































It really became the answer to everything that night. Did you brush your teeth?



I can’t argue with it. Kittens are hilarious and adorable. When I worked emergency I even asked my boss once if we could contract with the shelters to always have a litter of kittens on hand for stress relief. Kittens are great! But there are already plenty of kittens to go around without LeeLoo’s help.

Reason #1 to Spay: Kitten and Puppy Overload!

Shelters are packed, fosters are hard to find and still the puppies and kittens roll in. There was a super adoption in June that took over a whole fair ground with homeless pets! Pure breeds, adults, seniors, kittens, puppies… all homeless and all needing good homes. Your best friend is out there. We’ve no need to breed more in the basement. Qualified, registered breeders can do it (Not puppy mills!! BOOO!!). I’m not interested in breeding. I want to take care of the ones we already have, not make more.

Reason #2 to Spay: Pyometra

Oh my gosh this is horrible! I’ve seen it at least a hundred times in my emergency career, maybe more. Come on girls. You know what a yeast infection feels like. Imagine if you couldn’t tell anyone your symptoms and couldn’t get medication for it and all that goo just grew and grew in your uterus until you were too sick to move, or worse, your poor maxed out uterus ruptured that goo all over in your abdomen.

That white blob that is distending the abdomen? Puss. Infection. Pain.


Or this one where stinky infection took over the abdomen.








This is not a good way to die. Sometimes a spay will save them, but they are already so sick and a spay is so invasive… Just… No. Don’t make her go through it.

It’s easy to prevent:

  • If your are not going to breed: Spay before the first heat cycle! (except large breed dogs, then follow your veterinarians advice)
  • If you are going to breed: Let her grow up. Let her have a minimal number of litters and then spay! The sooner you spay, the less health complications you will have to endure.

Reason #3 to Spay: Breast Cancer

Hey girls, you ever breast fed…? 3-12 babies at a time?! Repeatedly?! This is pretty rough. No one is really sure what causes breast cancer in pets, but the pets spayed before their first heat cycle don’t have to deal with it as much. The best prevention is??


  • If your are not going to breed: Spay before the first heat cycle! (except large breed dogs, then follow your veterinarians advice)
  • If you are going to breed: Let her grow up. Let her have a minimal number of litters and then spay! The sooner you spay, the less health complications you will have to endure.

The cure for breast cancer is surgery to remove the mammary tissue and gland affected. All of it. If you catch it early, your chances at recovery are much better. If you don’t notice it buried in fur until it ruptures? Ugh! Sometimes lump removal works, sometimes the cancer just comes back on another mammary gland and sometimes the cancer jumps to other places… Like the lungs. Cancer respects no one. The more we prevent it the better.

Aggressive tumor removal is a hard recovery. The tissue just doesn’t seem to want to heal right, like it’s forgotten what it’s supposed to do. There are lots of complications generally. I never saw it go smoothly but they do recover most of the time. It is still worth trying.

Stupid cancer.

Reason #4 to Spay: Uterine Cancer

This is fatal in 50% of dogs and 90% of cats. I didn’t see this often. It is quite rare and usually for older pets. But still…

I’m pretty sure cancer is why I didn’t go on to be a veterinarian like I had always dreamed of becoming. I don’t want to have the cancer conversation with a concerned client. I couldn’t even deal with it myself when my River Cat was diagnosed with a tumor in his belly. Cancer sucks. Cancer is stupid. Cut it off. The best prevention for uterine cancer is….

Ding, ding, ding… SPAY! No uterus, no cancer in it! Bing!

You think the cost of a spay is bad? I was spending 40$ a week on River man. That adds up. Fast.

Stupid cancer!

Reason #5 to Spay: No Heat Cycles

The only way for a lone girl to find love in the wild is to scream out loud, “I am here! I am here!” Indoor or not. Domestic or not. Your girl will cry out for love, loudly, the whole time she is in heat. For cats, it happens for three-four days every three-ish weeks all through mating season. For dogs, it is every six months for 2-4 weeks! Cats generally clean up after themselves, while dogs do not. Diapers may be in order to save your house from stains.

Oh, and you know what else attracts the boys? Urine! Lots of it in odd places. On your bed, under your bed, on the couch, on your clothes… She’s got to advertise and she’ll do what she has to, which may even elicit a response so you have unwanted male companions sniffing around your house.

Reason #6 to Spay: Very Cost Effective

If you are like our family, you live below the median income and struggle financial when decision making. A spay will actually save you money. If one spay seems overwhelming, try 3-6 spays or neuters per litter with all the vaccine boosters that comes with them. It’s expensive and time consuming to have a litter, care for them till they are of age and then find them all homes. And that’s if everything goes well. If there are complications or a C-Section is needed you will suddenly have a bill of 2-3 grand on your hands.

You know… if you adopt from a respectable rescue, pets come pre-spayed!!

Need help affording a Spay:

  • Your local shelter can spay or neuter at low cost.
  • Check out Best Friends to see if you can get a voucher for it.
  • The Big Fix: Watch for the discount spay mobile van to come to your area