Different methods for getting your female cat or dog spayed

December 16, 2020 9 mins to read

There are different ways to get a female cat or dog spayed, and Europe prefers one method, while North America (Canada and the USA) prefer another. One method can cause more problems for your female companion then the other. So what are the different methods for getting your female dog and female cat spayed? and how do they work? Is one better then the other and if so why? Read on and find out all about spaying your female pet.

Why I wrote this article about getting your pet spayed <3

If you care about your pet as much as I do mine, you’ll understand that all animals hold a dear place in my heart. I cry thinking about all the animals that suffer everyday, and I can’t bear to see the animals I own suffer. I want to educate the world about caring for animals, their diets and healthcare. This is an article from the heart, and I hope you read it through to the end. If you love your cat or dog and you are going to spay them, then reading this article in its entirety is the least you can do.

A difference in my pets personality after getting spayed

There was a distinct personality change in my cats, after getting them fixed. It’s understandable when you remove the dick and balls of a male cat, or the uterus and ovaries of a female cat, and its ability to procreate (which is arguably the driving force of life), that it’s going to not only disturb the cats normal estrogen or testosterone production, but put them into depression and alter their personality. I think it’s safe to say if you were born and your parents cut off your dick and balls, or removed your ovaries and uterus…your life would be irrevocably altered for the worse, yes they are “just animals” or so some people think, but they have feelings, and yes they feel pain…so please read through this article if your going to fix your cat or dog.

Sure cat’s and dogs have to be fixed in order to be domesticated, we can’t have them peeing and breeding everywhere. Maybe cats and dogs aren’t meant to be domesticated…but that’s an argument for another time. If we care at all about our pets, the least we can do, is take the time to educate ourselves, and make sure we are doing what’s right for them instead of simply putting their welfare it in the hands of a veterinarian, and trusting that they know what’s best.

Fixed or spayed. What’s the difference?

Medical professionals refer to spay as “Gonadectomy”. In most of America, fix and spay refer to the same operation for cats and dogs, an Ovariohysterectomy. However an ovariohysterectomy is not the only operation to fix a cat, and it’s actually more invasive and detrimental to a cats health then the alternative. It’s time you educated yourself on the terms veterinarians use…read on below.

Ovariectomy and Ovariohysterectomy. What do these terms mean?

In north America the layman refers to the procedure as “spay” or “fix”. In the medical world, they have two different terms to describe two completely different operations for fixing a female cat: ovariectomy and ovariohysterectomy. Like most Medical language, these terms have their roots in Latin, but it’s really quite simple to understand what they mean.

Ovariohysterectomy defintion

Let’s break down the term.

“Ovari” = ovaries

“hyster” = uterus

“ectomy” = removal

Ovariohysterectomy literally means “ovaries and uterus removal”. It refers to the removal of the ovaries, oviducts and uterus. As such, this procedure takes out all major reproductive organs. Here is more details on how the ovaries and uterus function in female cats, if your down for some light reading.

Ovariectomy definition

If you’ve been reading diligently, you probably already know, this term literally means “ovaries removal”. It refers to the removal the ovaries and part of the uterine horn that is in close association with the ovary, but leaves most of the uterus. So your probably wondering, if both an ovariectomy and hysterectomy work to fix the cat, then what’s the difference? (read on)

Female cat reproductive organ diagram

female cat reproductive organs
female cat reproductive organs

Europe does it different then North America

Ovariohysterectomies are more commonly performed in North America, while ovariectomies are much more common in Europe.

Why does North America prefer Ovariohysterectomy while Europe prefers ovariectomy?

European vets can’t for the life of them figure out why their U.S. colleagues take out the whole thing when all that’s required to prevent pregnancy is that we take out two small bits of tissue. Following medical journals, I’ve noticed that when it comes to healthcare and medical procedures, Europe is far ahead of North America; which is unfortunate.

It’s what students are taught in college

It simply comes down to what students are taught mainstream in veterinary college…Ovariohysterectomies are more commonly performed in the United States, because this is the technique that is taught in veterinary colleges here, while ovariectomies are much more common in Europe because that is what veterinarian students are taught there.

Does an ovariohysterectomy help prevent infection or disease? Studies say NO!

The argument is that an ovariohysterectomy, by removing the entire uterus to the cervix helps prevent some uterine diseases, such as uterine cancer and infections like “stump pyometra”. It goes without saying that an ovariohysterectomy is much more invasive than an ovariectomy; your removing more of the animals guts after all. But is an ovariohysterectomy really better than an ovariectomy?

  • In European studies, uterine infections have not been found to cause a problem. That’s because removing the ovaries means no more of the hormones, whose fluctuations give rise to uterine infections.
  • And uterine cancer? At a prevalence of 0.003 percent of female dogs, it’s not a compelling enough reason to remove the uterus, claim European vets.
  • Consider in an ovariohysterectomy, the potential for excessive bleeding, anesthetic risk, and incision infections…it makes sense that we would remove as little as possible, as fast as possible, with as tiny an incision as possible.

Stump Pyometra

Sump pyometra can occur when fluid collects in what remains of the uterus after the surgery and causes severe infection. It has been suggested that removing the entire uterus to the cervix may help prevent this condition. However, stump pyometra results from hormone production from residual ovarian tissue, so removing the whole uterus is not necessary.

Uterine Cancer

Removal of the entire uterus has also been advocated as a way to prevent uterine diseases, such as uterine cancer. However, according to Dr. Phillips, the incidence of uterine tumors in dogs and cats is very low. Personally I’ve had a couple pets die of cancer, and it was not from uterine cancer. So besides being much more invasive, there is no evidence to support that an ovariohysterectomy prevents uterine cancer, in fact the procedure has a much higher risk of complications in your pet than an ovariectomy, according to Dr. Philips “The greater risk and concern, in my opinion, is damaging the ureter during the more invasive surgical procedure,””

Ovariohysterectomy has a higher risk of complications.

“Dr. Phillips also advocates the ovariectomy over the ovariohysterectomy because of the risk of complications associated with the latter procedure. She says that when the uterus is surgically removed along with the ovaries, the ureters—the tubes that convey urine from the kidneys to the bladder—can easily be damaged, either by becoming entangled in suture material or by being caught in a surgical clamp. Damage to a ureter could cause lifelong medical issues or even death for the animal.” –College of Veterinary Medicine

A Third more modern option | A Laparoscopic Spay

Thanks to advances in technology, there is a new more modern option to spay your cat or dog, which may lead to a faster recovery and a lower chance of complications. Known as a Laparoscopic Spay, it utilizes a bipolar electrothermal vessel sealing device, that can be used on the blood vessels of the ovaries and uterus, and on the uterine horn.


There are two very different procedures an ovariectomy (OVE) and ovariohysterectomy (OVH). For most of Europe the most common practice for spaying a pet is an ovariectomy. In Canada, USA and most of north America the favor the more invasive OVH simply because that’s what they’re taught in veterinary college.

Advocates of OVH propose it helps reduce post-op infections and potential uterus cancer. However all evidence suggests OVH does NOT reduce the chance of infection and the incidence of cancer ie: 0.4%, is too small to outweigh the more invasive OVH and it’s higher potential for complications.

New technology has provided a more advanced operation known as a “Laparoscopic Spay” with a smaller incision, which results in quicker recovery, and even less chance of complications, but the cost of tools and additional training means few veterinarians offer the procedure. Europeans doctors can’t understand why North American doctors insist on preforming a more invasive and risky operation with more potential for complications…maybe it’s just what Americans are comfortable with. But after looking at the studies…I for one have to agree with them.


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