An ovariohysterectomy procedure is also known as a spay. This is the surgery done to remove th e reproductive organs in female cats. The ovaries and the uterus are removed to prevent pregnancy and the cat coming into estrus “heat”. The procedure also has the benefit of helping to reduce the risk of the cat developing mammary cancer, especially if done before the first heat.
Before the cat is anesthetized, she is examined and has presurgical blood work done to check her organ function and general health status. After the cat is anesthetized, she is prepped for surgery using antiseptic solution to scrub her abdomen. The area of the incision is numbed with a local anesthesia, so that she is comfortable when she wakes up. A sterile drape is applied to the abdomen. The veterinarian is sterile as well, wearing cap, mask sterile gown and gloves. The cat is monitored using machines to measure heart rate, oxygen, and blood pressure. A technician or veterinary assistant constantly monitors the cat’s vital signs and adjusts the anesthesia and fluid rate accordingly.
An incision is made on the cats abdomen, through the skin and the subcutaneous fat, into the abdominal cavity. The uterus and ovaries are identified. Each ovary has a large blood vessel which much be “ligated” (tied off ) called “the pedicle”. This is done using suture and several ligatures. The ovary is clamped, the ligatures placed and then the pedicle is cut and removed. Once each pedicle is tied off, the body of the uterus is also ligated. The body is clamped, ligated and then transceted (cut). The ovaries and uterus are removed all in one piece. The incision is closed with absorbable suture material, in several layers. The skin closure may be a buried/absorbable suture closure or may be external sutures that will need to be removed.
The cat receives pain medicine before and after surgery, as well as having several doses to be given at home. Generally cats are feeling great by the next day.