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Traditional Vs. Laser Spays for Cats & Dogs

It's time to get your pet spayed, but should you opt for laser spay or traditional spay? Today, our Westminster vets look at the differences between laser spay and traditional spay techniques for cats and dogs, and the benefits of getting your pet spayed. 

Benefits of Spaying Female Cats & Dogs

Spaying your female pets can help keep many serious health issues and undesirable behaviors from impacting your cat or dog. 

Spaying Cats 

Getting your cat spayed before their first heat, can help to reduce their risk for malignant mammary tumors later in life. 

Spaying also helps to cut your feline friend's chances of developing a uterine infection, and of developing cancers in the reproductive organs. 

The procedure can also reduce problematic behaviors such as intense rubbing on objects, marking territory with urine, the desire to wander, heat-induced howling and increased and overly intense affection. 

Spaying Dogs 

Having your dog spayed before her first heat can give her a chance at a long, healthy and happy life by preventing serious issues such as infections in the uterus and breast tumors. 

Spayed dogs will not go into heat if they have this surgery while still young. Female dogs that have not been spayed will typically go into heat every six months, for about two to four weeks. A female dog in heat produces bloody vaginal discharge and may appear jumpy, clingy, or edgy.

The Spaying Process

Whether you choose a traditional spay or laser spay for your pet, the process is largely the same. Your vet will:

  • Make a 2 to 3-inch incision just below the belly button into your pet's abdomen. The reproductive tract, both ovaries and the uterus are typically removed through the incision. 
  • Close the incision using internal stitches, skin staples and skin glue, and/or stitches. 

Laser Spay vs. Traditional Spay

Below, we'll compare laser spays against traditional spays.

Laser Spaying 

During laser surgeries, the vet replaces the traditional scalpel with a hot or cold laser. Some veterinarians believe that using a laser to perform the surgery will help reduce both the risk of infection and recovery time because the laser beam cauterizes blood vessels while vaporizing cells and "cuts" through tissues.

Many vets believe the benefits of laser spaying are: 

  • Less swelling at the surgical site.
  • Reduced bleeding due to the cauterization of blood vessels as the laser beam cuts through the tissues. 
  • Decreased risk of infection due to superheating of tissues at the incision site, which helps to destroy bacteria present during surgery. 
  • Decreased levels of pain in the immediate period after the operation.

While using lasers in place of a scalpel can offer the surgeon extreme precision, as with traditional surgery using a scalpel there are also some risks with laser surgery. Though lasers may cause less pain than scalpels, laser surgery still has the potential to be painful. While rare, hemorrhage can still occur. 

Traditional Spaying 

While some vets prefer to use lasers to perform surgeries, others will prefer a scalpel. Scalpels are used for a variety of procedures, and vets who use them are highly skilled at doing so. Additionally, spaying is one of the most common veterinary surgeries, and most vets have become very skilled at it.

Benefits of a traditional spay include:

  • Often costs less than laser spaying. 
  • Readily available at most veterinary hospitals. 

Hemorrhage is not common when a spay is performed by a skilled veterinarian, and the type of bleeding that can happen as a result of complication during spays cannot be stopped or prevented by using a laser instead of a scalpel. 

By choosing a reputable vet and an animal hospital that you trust the risks of complications due to the spaying surgery (whether laser or traditional) should be minimal. When you book an appointment to have your pet spayed be sure to ask your vet about the risks of surgery, as well as the recovery process.

Helping Your Pet Recover Comfortably From Spay Surgery

Whether you choose to have your pet laser spayed or traditionally spayed your pet will need some time to recover.

Here are tips for a safe and comfortable recovery:

  • Provide your pet with a quiet place to recover indoors and away from other animals.
  • Reduce your pet's activity level for about two weeks following surgery, or as long as your veterinarian recommends.
  • Prevent your pet from licking the incision site. Licking could cause an infection. Using a veterinary 'cone' or a post-surgical t-shirt can help to prevent your pet from licking the wound.
  • Do not bathe your pet or allow them to swim for at least ten days after surgery.
  • Check the incision site daily in order to monitor healing and watch for early signs of infection.

If you notice redness, swelling, or discharge at the surgery site, or if the incision has opened up, please contact your veterinarian. Also, contact your veterinarian if your pet is lethargic, has a decreased appetite, is vomiting, has diarrhea, or has any other concerns after their spay surgery.

Whichever type of spay surgery you choose for your pet, keep in mind that the overall benefits outweigh the risks involved for either type of surgery. If you are at all concerned about the risks of spaying your female animal, contact your vet for further information. 

Is there laser neutering for dogs and cats?

Yes there is, Laser neutering for dogs and cats is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that uses a laser to remove the testicles. This method is becoming increasingly popular due to its reduced pain, swelling, and bleeding compared to traditional neutering techniques. Additionally, laser neutering may result in faster recovery times and less postoperative discomfort for the dog.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Is it time to get your dog or cat spayed? Contact Wachusett Animal Hospital to book an appointment for your furry family member.

Welcoming Cats & Dogs to Our Animal Hospital

Wachusett Animal Hospital and Pet Retreat is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Westminster companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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