Female Feline Desexing – What to Expect

Nov 2, 2021

Spaying a female cat is an excellent step to help your young lady grow into a loving, well adapted household citizen. However, at Vetmed we understand that deciding to desex your female kitten can be a scary one, so we have put together some information to help you understand both the procedure and the benefits of desexing your young lady.

WHY DO VETS RECOMMEND DESEXING?

This is an easy one to answer – basically because there are so many health and behavioural benefits for your little kitten. These include:

  • No heat behaviour – during the heat cycle, numerous behavioural problems may develop. Females will actively seek out male cats, putting them in danger of traffic and fights with other animals. Also, unspayed females may spray urine when they are in heat.
  • Decreased risk of cancers – mammary cancer is the third most common cancer in cats. Cats who have been spayed have a 40-60% lower risk of developing mammary cancer. Tumours also occur in the uterus and ovaries, which are eliminated in neutered cats.
  • Decreased risks of infections – unspayed cats may develop a severe uterine disease called pyometra. With this disorder, bacteria enter the uterus, and it becomes filled with pus. Undetected, this condition is almost always fatal.
  • Population control – many cats are euthanised because they are unwanted. Preventing unwanted litters of kittens is part of responsible pet ownership.

WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO SPAY MY KITTEN?

The best time to spay your kitten is around six months of age. The kitten has matured enough to make anaesthesia a low risk but is young enough not to have reached sexual maturity yet.

WHAT DOES SPAYING A KITTEN INVOLVE?

In a feline spay, both ovaries and the uterus are removed through small incisions made through the skin of the abdomen just below the belly button while the kitten is under a general anaesthetic. Sutures are hidden under the skin, with only a small knot visible above the skin. This is generally a quick and very painless procedure that only requires your kitten to be in hospital for the day.

WHAT DO I DO BEFORE THE PROCEDURE?

At Vetmed, kitten castrations are performed by appointment only Monday to Friday at all four of our vet hospitals. When you ring to book in your young lady for desexing, our lovely reception staff will answer any questions you may have and reinforce any important details you need to know.

Your kitten must have nothing to eat from approximately 8 pm the night before the surgery to ensure that there is nothing in her stomach that could lead to vomiting during the anaesthetic.

It is also vital that your little one is brought into the veterinary hospital between the hours of 7:30 and 9:00 am. This allows our dedicated vets and vet nurses to perform their pre-anaesthetic health checks and procedures in a way that promotes a painless, stress-free process and ensures the risks involved are mitigated as far as possible.

WHAT DOES THE DAY OF THE PROCEDURE INVOLVE?

After you have dropped off your young lady with the vet nurses and you have signed the consent form, the sequence of procedure is a follows:

  • Pre anaesthetic examination – your kitten must be checked over by a veterinarian before any sedation or pain relief to ensure that she is healthy and there are no physical signs of illness.
  • Pre anaesthetic blood tests – blood tests are performed in-house and provide the veterinarian with vital information about your young lady’s internal health prior to anaesthesia.
  • Premedication with sedation and pain relief – once the veterinarian has established that your kitten is healthy using the physical exam and the blood tests, sedation and pain relief is given via injection. Your young lady is then moved to a specialised area within the hospital for observation before anaesthesia.
  • Induction of anaesthesia – once your kitten is sedated and has adequate pain relief, a catheter is inserted, and the anaesthetic is inducted using a fast-acting anaesthetic agent such as Alfaxan. A tube is then placed into their throat to ensure their airway is protected. She is then placed on a mixture of oxygen and inhalation anaesthetic whilst the procedure is conducted.
  • Recovery – once desexing is finished, she will then be slowly woken up. This occurs in a recovery area of the hospital where specially designed cages provide plenty of warmth. Further pain relief is then provided to ensure your young lady is relaxed and pain-free as she slowly recovers. We allow at least 2 hours from the time she is awake before she can go home to mitigate any complications which may occur during this period.

WHAT ABOUT AFTER THE PROCEDURE? WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT AT HOME?

The veterinarian or vet nurse will contact you as soon as your little one is in recovery, but you must allow at least 2 hours after this call before you can pick your young kitten up from the hospital. Your young female will go home with some pain relief medication, and you will be provided with a discharge statement that will guide you on how to use the medication, what to feed your little one and other important information. A vet nurse or veterinarian will go through this statement and explain how to administer the medication.

Expect your little kitten to be a bit quiet on the night of the procedure, but she should return to her usual self by the following day. She will have sutures that will need to be checked 7 days after the procedure. It is recommended that you do keep your little lady inside for those 7 days to give her time to heal. If you have any questions, we are always here to help. Please contact us at one of our four locations, and one of our team members will be able to assist.

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