Cat Spay

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Please Understand That This is A Series of Pictures
of An Actual Surgical Operation

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The Surgery Follows Below:

"Spay" is a generic term for what is medically referred to as an "ovariohysterectomy". Like most medical terms, "ovariohysterectomy" can be broken down into the pieces that make it up. "Ovario" refers to ovary; "hyster" refers to uterus and "ectomy" means to remove.

In an "ovariohysterectomy" the surgeon is opening the abdomen, removing the two ovaries, two uterine bodies and tying off all associated blood vessels that feed these organs and then closing the abdomen in a sterile manner.  The best time to do this surgery is when the cat is 8 to 12 months of age and not in heat or pregnant. The reasons are several:  #1 Body fat has not built up making the procedure more difficult. #2 The removal of these organs before the first heat cycle lessens the chance of the animal ever getting mammary cancer. #3 The animal will not get serious uterine infections. #4 Unwanted pregnancy will not occur. #5 When in heat or pregnant the ovaries and uterus have a tremendous increase in blood flow making the surgery more difficult and dangerous to the animal.

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The actual removal of the organs outlined in blue in the above diagram will be seen in the images to follow.


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First the abdomen is shaved to remove
hair which could contaminate the interior
of the abdomen and cause infection.
(The cat is lying on it's back with it's rear legs towards us)

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The abdomen is scrubbed with a
a disinfectant soap to remove dirt
and kill surface bacteria.

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Sterile surgical towels are placed to cover
all but the area where the incission into the
abdomen is to be made. This keeps contamination
of the abdomen and surgical site low.  Towel clamps
keep the towels in place on the skin.

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The Sterile Surgical Pack

Forceps hold tissue and organs.
Scissors are to break down ligaments and cut organs free.
Spay Hook is used to reach inside the body and retract organs.
Clamps squeeze blood vessels and organs to stop bleeding.
Scalpel is used to cut through skin and deeper tissues.
Sponges (gauze pads) are used to wipe away any fluids and dry the surgical field.

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Making the incision through the skin, abdominal muscles and fibrous tissue
to gain entrance into the abdomen. Scalpel is being used.

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Using the spay hook the uterine horn is found inside the abdomen
and brought to the surface.

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Difficult to see but I am cutting one uterine horn free from the ovary
so it can be removed. Scissors are being used.  On the left are two
clamps on the ovary to hold off any bleeding.

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One uterine horn has been cut free (see arrow) and I am tying off (ligating)
the blood vessels leading into the ovary so it can be removed. Suture material is
being held with a needle holder which is similar to a very precision long nosed plier.

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The two uterine horns heve been cut free and the second ovary is
being tied off and removed.

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The two uterine horns are being tied off on the uterine body.
Clamps to hold off bleeding are under the closest hand to you.
After the ligature is made the clamps will be removed and the
uterine horns cut free and removed.

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The uterine body and horns are being cut free and removed.
This completes removal of the two ovaries, the two uterine horns and
a portion of the uterine body.

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Two ovaries and two Uterine Horns that were removed.

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The first step in closing the abdomen is placing sutures in the tough
fibrous, inner layer called the external rectus. These sutures are absorbed
by the body in 6 to 8 weeks after the tissue has grown back together.
My left hand is using forceps to hold the tissue, while the right directs a
curved suturing needle clamped in the needle holders. Each suture is
tied in a square knot which resists loosening.

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The external rectus ligament has been sutured shut and I am ready to put
in a second layer of sutures to hold the fatty tissue together. This is done
to prevent any accumulation of fluid under the skin (called a seroma in
a poorly closed sugical wound). Notice that very little bleeding has occured.
The tiny black dots which the arrow points to are the sutures.

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In the view above  the fatty layer has been closed with absorbable suture material
and the uppermost layer, the skin, is being sutured closed.

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The above view shows the completed surgery. Skin sutures are seen. We now awaken the patient from
general anesthesia and prepare a warm cage for it to rest in overnight.  In seven to ten days we
will remove the skin sutures and the procedure is completed.

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Our patient is awake and recovering nicely.

Unwanted Pregnancy Causes the Death of Millions of Animals Each Year.
Please do your part to prevent this waste of life.
Have your cat spayed at an early age!

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