Spay Neuter poster

Neutering your cat, what you should know.

Neutering your cat, what you should know.

Scar from spaying

Image of post surgery scar, from spaying procedure.

For starters, let’s clear up a common misunderstanding. Many people think “neutering your cat”
implies, male sterilization and that spaying implies, female sterilization. The latter being correct. Spaying is female sterilization. However, male sterilization is referred to as “castration”, not neutering. Neutering is derived from the Latin word “neuter”, meaning neither sex.  Another term to imply sterilization, for both genders is “fixing”. I always found that to be an odd reference. It implies that something was broken, which is obviously not the case.

Female sterilization.

Spaying surgical procedure

Surgical procedure of spaying.

There are two approaches, by which this can be surgically carried out. One of which is primarily used here, in North America and the other in Europe. We’ll discuss the pro and cons of each, further on. The first, primarily used here in North America is the ovariohysterectomy, often abbreviated and referred to as, OHE. This entails the removal of both the ovaries and the uterus.  The second, primarily used in Europe is, the ovariectomy, often abbreviated and referred to as, OE This entails the removal, of just the ovaries.

Pros & Cons.

An Ovariohysterectomy, being the removal of both the ovaries and uterus, is a more expansive surgery, than an ovariectomy. In that, it does expose the cat to further risk and increases the potential for post-operative infection and illness. In addition, it both lengthens the recovery period and increases post-operative discomfort. It is argued, however, that the removal of the uterus reduces the risk of postoperative illness, such as infection and the risk of future illness, to the uterus. These potential risks range from minor infection to tumors and malignancies.

An ovariectomy is less intrusive and as a result, offers obvious benefits. Another, important benefit of the ovariectomy approach, is the opportunity to perform the surgery Laparoscopically, which has the benefits of decreased patient morbidity, less postoperative pain and a quicker return to normal activity.

Both methods will permanently terminate heat cycles in the female cat or dog as well as remove the female sex hormones’

There is another surgical approach, on the horizon. Presently, it is in the research stage. Referred to as, the Ovary-Sparing Spay (OSS). As the name implies, the ovaries are left intact and in place. Thereby, all hormonal activity is untampered. I gather it is similar in procedure to the so-called, “tying of the tubes” in a human female. This being, to restrict flow within the fallopian tube, by means of tying.

Male Sterilization.

There are two very different surgical approaches to surgically carry this out. Both result in sterilization. However, the non-castration procedure leaves the male dog, with normal sexual hormonal activity and the associated behavior, as well. Such as aggression, marking territory and sexual desires. The procedure involves removing a section of the spermatic cord (Vas deferens), thus preventing sperm from traveling. The castration approach is practiced primarily, both here in North America and Europe.The castrative procedure is not very intrusive and often requires no sutures.

Male reproductive system diagram

Diagram of male cats’ reproductive system.


Remember, as Bob Barker always said, “please have your pet spayed, or neutered” Note, even he confused neutering, with male sterilization, castration, or fixing.

As soon as, there’s more information on the advance of the Ovary-Sparing Spay (OSS), I’ll post an update article.


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