Spaying and what to expect

At an age of about 6 months we took Jessie to the vets to be spayed or neutered. A few people, who have their hound booked in, have ask me various questions about Jessie’s recovery. 
This is not meant to be a post about the procedure, or the merits for spaying before or after first season. Just what to expect when you bring your puppy home.
For more information about the procedure itself you could try HERE

We booked Jessie in for a Tuesday in the half term school Holidays, this also tied in with Joanne’s holidays, meaning she would be home from the Wednesday to the following Monday. It also meant we wouldn’t miss our Monday night puppy class.

I got the job of dropping Jessie of at the vets at 10 am on the Tuesday morning. I wont lie, it was a bit stressful, made worse by knowing she didn’t have a clue why I was leaving her with strangers in a strange place. I have to say our chosen vets (Ian McConnell) were excellent, the staff made every effort to put Jessie at ease and made a big fuss of her. There is still however, something depressing about walking out of the vets with just a lead and no dog !

After a phone call at around 3 pm we were told we could pick Jessie up after 4.30 pm. I think we were slightly early.. On the receptionists advice we settled the bill before getting Jessie, which meant once reunited we could go straight out, much better than juggling a dog while paying. The procedure cost us about £130.

When we went into the treatment room we discussed after op care, she had been administered all the antibiotics she needed but we were advised on the 5 days of pain killers. We were also given instructions about registering the microchip that had been inserted while she was asleep. After the discussion, the member of staff went out and returned with Jessie in her arms. When put on the floor she stood still and tried her best to wag her tail, she was evidently very groggy but standing. She had her cone on. Not being use to a cone, I think she perceived its weight as being someone pushing her head down. This resulted in her standing with her nose nearly on the floor, very still and dejected.

The most noticeable thing after her groggy appearance was a very soggy face. It seems some dogs drool more than others, Jessie being one. She had wet whiskers and ears, all in the cone. I incorrectly assumed the wound would be on her side and was pleased to find there was no noticeable shaved areas. Jessie has never had much belly fur so she didn’t have to loose much.

I carried her out and Joanne drove us home with Jessie asleep on my lap.

Most of Tuesday evening Jessie slept on an old sleeping bag on the lounge floor. She seemed happier sleeping straight than curled up in her bed. She was very keen to be close to someone and was much more settled with someone within touching distance.

Although Jessie normally slept in the kitchen at that time, on her own in her box, She really didn’t want to be left. So I ended up in a sleeping bag on the floor next to her on the first night. Most of the night she spent tucked into my arm with her head on me. I woke once to find she had practically got in my sleeping bag. On another occasion I woke to find she had placed the large end of the cone over my face, its weird waking in a cone with your dog !

By morning she was much more alert. We were able to take her in the garden to toilet, til then she had no desire to. By Wednesday evening she was walking round and hitting everything with her cone. Following the vets advice we fed her pasta and scrambled eggs for a couple of days. From past experience we have found eggs and pasta have a high protein value with low waste, reducing the need to poop. Her first poop was Thursday morning and from the little yelp it was obviously a bit uncomfortable squeezing her tummy muscles.

By Thursday evening she had mastered the width of the cone a was pretty much back to her normal self. Now the challenge was to stop her bouncing all over.

We found keeping her amused doing sitting, and other gentle obedience exercises helped. We also discovered the fun of playing hide the cheese. Suggested by an internet friend, it takes little physical effort but lots of sniffing and strolling.

By weekend we found taking the cone off while supervised, relieved frustration. Jessie wanted to attend to personal hygiene and even do simple things like holding a chew bone in her paws. She was very good at letting us take the cone off and putting it back on.
We always put the cone on when unattended, and she was back into her routine of sleeping in the kitchen after the first night. In general the worst part of the experience was the first two days. The scar was bigger than we expected, but was clean. 

I mentioned earlier that Jessie was given a supply of pain killers. These were in the form of an aural suspension, I assume the liquid must have been flavoured as we had no problems getting her to swallow it from the syringe each morning.

The final part of the story was the stitch removal on day 10. I dreaded this assuming it would be painful. In reality it took about 2 mins and Jessie didn’t flinch. We stood her up on her back legs on the counter and I talked to her while they were removed. 

To celebrate the end of the ordeal we went straight from the vets to a dog friendly cafe ..

It may be early days but we have noticed Jessie has been more cuddly and affectionate since the op, perhaps a hormone change, or just the result of bonding, or even just wanting to be near rather than being left. 

I hope this is of help and perhaps reassurance to any one thinking of, or about to have there dog spayed.

Note.This was written some years ago. Jessie seems to have had no ill affects from the procedure. She is a healthy happy dog who is very affectionate. She also no longer sleeps in the kitchen, she has shared our room / bed since being 12 months old.

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