What are the reasons to spay my bitch?

Firstly you will not have to worry about her coming into season every 6 months, and by having her spayed she will not run the risk of any unwanted pregnancies.

Many older bitches that have not been spayed develop an infection in the uterus, known as a pyometra.  This is life-threatening and the uterus has to be removed as soon as possible.  This essentially means spaying the bitch when she is older and in poor general health, therefore increasing the risks involved.   Spaying will prevent this as the uterus and ovaries are removed.

By spaying your bitch you also reduce the risk of your dog developing mammary tumours in later life (breast cancer).  Mammary tumours in bitches are very often triggered by hormones, so the younger she is spayed the less likely she is to develop them.

Some bitches develop false or phantom pregnancies after a season, due to high levels of progesterone in the blood at that time.  Symptoms include; milk production, nest making and carrying soft toys around.  Once a bitch starts to have false pregnancies they will normally occur after every season and she will need treatment to resolve them. Again, spaying will prevent this.


reduce the risk of your dog developing mammary tumours in later life (breast cancer)… the younger she is spayed the less likely she is to develop them.

How do I tell if my dog in season?

Bitches will normally come into season for the first time at about 6 to 9 months of age, but this can vary.

  • The first signs are usually a blood stained discharge from the vulva, which will look swollen.  She may show an interest in dogs but will not normally stand to be mated. This stage is known as proestrus and usually lasts about 9 days.
  • This is followed by oestrus, the discharge becomes clearer and she will now stand to be mated.  This also lasts about 9 days but the total length of the season can vary considerably.
  • A bitch will normally come into season every 6 to 7 months.

If you do not want your bitch to be mated you will have to keep her under close supervision during her season.


When can my female dog be spayed?

A bitch can be spayed any time from 6 months of age.  As a general practice policy we spay bitches 2 to 3 months after their first season, but we can do them before the first season if requested.

Bitches that have been spayed may start to utilise their food more efficiently.  If kept on the same diet, they may put on weight.  Therefore we recommend that you check her weight at regular intervals after she is spayed and reduce her food intake if she gains weight. We run weight management clinics with our vet nurses if you would like extra help and guidance.

What does the operation involve?

The operation to have your bitch spayed is called an ovariohisterectomy.  This involves the surgical removal of the uterus and the ovaries.  The procedure will be carried out under a general anaesthetic, which is of lower risk when carried out in the younger, healthier bitch.

How long will it take for my pet to recover from the procedure?

Your bitch will be kept at the surgery for the day of the operation and providing she has had a good recovery she may go home the same evening.  The most important things to observe are the sutures.  These will generally need to be removed after ten days from the operation providing no complications have arisen.

The most common complication to arise is patient interference; we take measures to prevent this such as the use of a Buster collar or medical t-shirt.  This prevents the patient licking and chewing the wound and therefore prevents infection and breakdown of the wound.  They normally need to be worn until the sutures are removed.  Socks can be placed on the bitch’s feet if she is scratching the wound.

It is advisable to keep exercise reduced until she has had her sutures removed.

As an extra precaution we ask to see her three days after the operation.  We are then able to check the wound to ensure it is healing in a satisfactory manner and make sure there are no problems with her.


Contact your local Mercer and Hughes Vets to book your dog’s operation or for more advice.



Spaying My Female Dog
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