9539 Liberty Road, Frederick, MD 21701
Phone: 301-898-4009 ~ Fax: 240-668-3664
Gentle, complete veterinary care for the felines in your family
Link map for Frederick Cat Vet for directions, hours, bio of the veterinarian and staff, veterinary services offered and a tour of the veterinary practice

What is a Spay and What is a Neuter?

When you compare prices and practices, it is important to know exactly what is involved with these procedures. Spaying and neutering are surgeries that we perform at Frederick Cat Vet quite commonly, but it is best not to view them as simple or routine. When we perform a spay (bilateral ovariectomy) or neuter (bilateral orchiectomy), there are a critical set of steps in this important day in your cat's life to ensure that everything goes as smoothly and stress-free as possible, for you and your pet. We have a single protocol that we have determined is ideal, so we do not offer different options within this process. We do not differentiate between barn cats and those with long pedigrees.

Prior to surgery day, we complete a thorough physical examination to evaluate your cat's health, and take a very small sample of blood to run a pre-anesthetic screen. Checking all systems allows us to address possible health problems before the procedure. Detection of an upper respiratory infection, the presence of a congenital heart murmur, or intestinal parasites (many of which can be transmitted to people) are just a few of these concerns. At about four months of age, we will set a date for your kitten's surgery.

Food is withheld overnight which makes the anesthetic procedure safer. We admit your cat to the hospital at 7:45 AM. Reviewing the previous examination record, we conduct another physical evaluation that morning. If this is all normal, we administer pain medication and a light sedative. Cats feel pain exactly as people do, so appropriate doses are provided before and after surgery to ensure they remain comfortable.

After the initial medications have taken effect, we begin general anesthesia. It is not possible to achieve a safe, comfortable level of anesthesia by sedation only. It is a misconception that sedation only for these procedures is safer than general anesthesia. At Frederick Cat Vet, we maintain your cat on general anesthesia through intubation. This allows us to provide oxygen support and a precisely metered dose of inhalant anesthetic. Your cat will begin to wake up after surgery as soon as we turn off this anesthetic, as he or she breathes out the anesthetic.

An intravenous catheter is placed prior to the surgery on a leg, so a small amount of fur is shaved off. This IV catheter allows us to provide an electrolyte solution during the procedure and make precise adjustments as needed. During the entire procedure, your cat's vital signs are constantly monitored by the veterinarian and veterinary technician. This involves use of our eyes and ears coupled with sophisticated computer equipment to measure breathing rate, heart rate, blood pressure and bloodstream oxygen level.

A spay is an abdominal surgery and there are small absorbable sutures placed within the abdomen and below the skin along the small midline incision. You will not see these and they dissolve over a few months, allowing ample time for these tissues to heal (about 10-14 days). You will see a light amount of surgical adhesive on her belly and this will flake off as the incision heals. A neuter is less involved but is invasive as well and requires the same care and attention.

After surgery, your cat quickly wakes up and recovers under close supervision in one of our deluxe hospital suites. Each of these suites has a small window area on the back to provide our patients with natural light and the option of checking out the small garden outside. We find that this pleasant distraction is very helpful in reducing stress and speeding recovery. Since they skipped breakfast, they are usually very anxious to get their first meal of meat baby food. This palatable, easily digestible, high-protein meal is exactly what a recovering patient needs. (These jars of food are good for all cats for a variety of reasons, but only on a very short-term basis). Some cats are a little grumpy when waking up, but they respond quickly to gentle attention including light combing and neck massage.

We contact you after surgery and then as needed that afternoon to arrange for a time to take your cat home from the hospital. We will discuss home care when you arrive. Our protocol provides pain relief that lasts for 72 hours and for the vast majority of procedures, you will not need to give any medications at home.

We will only send your loved one home after they have appropriately recovered. Most kittens are acting quite frisky as if nothing major has happened, but rarely some cats will recover more slowly and may need overnight hospitalization at another facility. We will stay in regular contact with you to ensure your cat is doing well and to answer any concerns you may have.

The cost of spays and neuters includes everything for the day of surgery including pain medication before and after the procedure, intravenous catheterization, anesthesia, monitoring, surgery and hospitalization. Any examination during the next 14 days related to the surgery is also done at no additional charge.

-Mike Karg, DVM