Whether you've recently adopted a new pet or plan on doing so in the near future, one fact remains: you'll want to have your new pet spayed or neutered as soon as possible if this isn't already being taken care of by the shelter or other agency from which you're adopting. Having your pet spayed or neutered not only reduces your pet's risk of developing certain reproductive cancers down the road, but it also means doing your part to prevent unwanted litters. This, in turn, frees up much-needed space in shelters, which can lead to lower euthanization rates.
While a spay or neuter procedure is one of the most "routine"veterinary surgical services, it's still important for pet owners to be educated and informed on what to expect before, during, and after the procedure.
Leading Up to the Surgery
All pets having a spay or neuter procedure done will need to be placed under general anesthesia for their comfort and safety. This also means having pre-anesthesia blood work done to ensure that anesthesia can be safely used on your pet. Usually, blood work in preparation for a spay/neuter procedure will be done in the days or even weeks leading up to the surgery itself. A general wellness exam may also be recommended by your vet to ensure your pet is the proper size and weight for the surgery, especially if you have a young kitten or puppy.
The Day of the Surgery
On the day of the surgery, you will likely be asked to bring your pet in and to ensure that he or she hasn't eaten in about 12-24 hours. This is important for the use of the anesthesia, so be sure to follow the orders from your veterinary team. Your pet will be taken back to be placed under anesthesia before the procedure, and more than likely, you'll be free to head home. You'll receive a call from the vet's office when your pet is ready to come home—usually later the same day or the very next day.
The Day After and Beyond
Once you pick your pet up, your vet will provide you with some basic instructions for caring for your newly spayed or neutered pet. Generally, incisions are closed with dissolvable stitches, so you shouldn't have to bring your pet back in. The main thing is to make sure that your pet doesn't chew or scratch at the incision site. If so, you may need to place a temporary veterinary cone over your pet's head until healing is complete.