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Ovary-Sparing Spay/Vasectomy

There have been several articles published in peer-reviewed journals (including the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association) over the last few years regarding possible negative effects of spaying and neutering on some dogs, especially when performed at young ages. In addition to traditional spay and neuter, we are pleased to now offer the alternative sterilization procedures ovary-sparing spay and vasectomy, which allow the dog to remain hormonally intact, but removes the risk of unwanted pregnancy and the life-threatening uterine infection called pyometra (in female dogs).

We understand there are different needs for different dog breeds. All of our annual wellness visits are tailored to the breed and age of your dog so we will discuss your options at that time. Recommendations will be made based on your individual situation, your dog’s breed, and your personal preferences. We can help you learn how to manage heat cycles if you decide to allow your female dog to mature physically before spaying.

For sterilization of female dogs we offer:

  • Ovariohysterectomy (spay) the ovaries and uterus are completely removed. When performed by the surgeons at Silver Maple Veterinary Clinic, using state of the art monitoring, surgical technique and pain management this is a safe procedure with minimal recovery time (in our experience, with spays performed at our hospital, generally not more than 2 weeks are needed for return to complete activity, even for mature patients)
  • Ovary-sparing spay (OSS), in which the entire uterus is removed to below the cervix, but the ovaries are left so the dog still has her female hormones.

Dogs will still show behavioral and external signs of being in heat, but most have little to no discharge, they cannot get pregnant, and have a very low-to-zero chance of developing pyometra (a serious infection of the uterus), although the ovary-sparing spay procedure is relatively new and as such has not been studied long-term.

Recovery time is comparable to the traditional spay when performed at our practice.

The incision for this procedure may need to be longer than for a traditional spay, to allow adequate visualization and access to the cervix to ensure complete removal (complete removal of the cervix is essential to prevention of pyometra), and to avoid putting excessive tension on the supportive structures of the ovaries (in a traditional spay, the cervix is often left in, and the ovaries are removed, so there does not need to be care taken to maintain these structures). Incision length does NOT generally affect recovery time, as incisions heal side to side, not end to end.

Surgery time for this procedure can be longer than for a traditional spay. We have highly trained technicians and veterinarians that pay close attention to the anesthesia being administered.

For sterilization of male dogs, we offer:

  • Neutering (castration), in which the testes are completely removed and testosterone levels are significantly reduced.
  • Vasectomy, which removes the risk of causing unwanted pregnancies while leaving the dog completely hormonally intact. This is a relatively simple procedure with a quick recovery time. It is important to realize that the dog will remain hormonally intact, but will be sterile.