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Routine Surgical Procedures


Female spaying and male neutering surgeries are a very important step in your pet's care, and can have a significant impact on their future health.  Additionally, the unwanted pet population of our area benefits from fewer unwanted pregnancies and fewer pets being brought to shelters, where they may or may not be adopted.  Fewer strays and less-crowded shelters mean more animals in loving homes where they belong.  Dr. Carter recommends spaying or neutering non-breeding dogs as early as 6 months old.  


If you prefer for your pet to have a cosmetic ear trim, we recommend making the appointment in advance for when the puppy will turn 3-5 months old.  Tail docking and dewclaw removal for newborn litters need to be completed at the age of 2-5 days post birth.  Tail docking for older dogs can be completed at any age.

Dog Profile
Surgical Scissors

Is it time to schedule your pet's routine procedure surgery? 

Our canine spay and neuter, ear trim, and tail trim appointment wait time may be several weeks due to our current surgery schedule.  We recommend spay and neuter beginning at 6 months of age.  


Ear trims are recommended around the age of 3-4 months old.  Tail docking and dewclaw removal can be performed at any age over 2 days old.  


If you have a new litter of puppies and require cosmetic tail docking and/or dewclaw removal, we recommend bringing them 2-5 days after birth.  These procedures can be can be accommodated to ensure we meet the age requirement prior to complete nervous system development.


Please remember to book in advance.  We do require a $25 surgery booking fee after confirmation of your appointment to hold your placement on the surgical list.  This payment will be applied to your surgical procedure.  Failure to cancel or change your appointment 24 hours prior to your scheduled booking will result in the forfeit of your appointment deposit.

How Does Spaying or Neutering Help My Pet?

Every pet is different and there is no set list of benefits Dr. Carter and the team at Carter Veterinary Clinic can guarantee for each individual.  However, there are a few health and behavioral changes veterinarians and pet parents alike have observed since spaying and neutering became common practice.  With better behavior and a lower risk for life-threatening diseases, your pet can live a happier, longer life with you.

Female Spaying Benefits

  • Pregnancy entirely prevented

  • No heat cycles

  • Pyometra is a severe infection of the uterus that may occur in non-spayed females. After surgery, there is no risk of an infection

  • After being spayed, female dogs are much less likely to roam in search of a mate

  • Breast cancer becomes a much smaller risk

  • Ovarian and Uterine cancers and issues become obsolete.

Male Neutering Benefits

  • Neutering eliminates the risk of testicular cancer, and reduces the risk of developing an enlarged prostate

  • Aggression caused by higher levels of testosterone can also be reduced after a neutering procedure

  • After being neutered, male dogs are less likely to roam in search of a mate, a situation that could also put your pet at risk of getting attacked by another animal or hit by a car

  • Certain behaviors like marking and mounting can also be reduced

Dog in Cone
Your pet may try to clean the surgical incision site by licking.  Some pets also may try to pull their stitches out with their teeth or scratch at the surgical suture area, for example, with ear trims.  If your pet is excessively licking the surgical area, attempting to pull their stitches out, or scratching at the surgical area, please contact us to be fitted and prescribed an Elizabethan collar, which is also sometimes called a cone or e-collar.  This will prevent your pet from infecting the incision site or opening the incision by pulling out their stitches.  You should have your pet wear this device until it is time for the stitches to be removed 10-14 days after surgery.  Please note that ear trims, tail docking, and dewclaw removal do not require removal of stitches as we use suture that will dissolve over time.

Be Watchful

What should I do when my pet arrives home?

After arriving home, you should keep your pet warm and comfortable by providing a soft, clean bed, ideally in a comfortable room temperature of 68F-75F.  Please prevent your pet from jumping up on furniture and stair climbing during the first 10 days post surgery.  We don't encourage exercising, such as running, during the recovery period.  Your pet will be sore and may not want to move around very much.  This is completely normal.  Time is needed for their body to heal. We encourage low activity until stitches are removed 10-14 days post surgery.

When can I feed my pet?

Your pet may not be very hungry after arriving home.  Do offer approximately half of your pet's regular dinner should they wish to nibble.  If your pet eats and still seems hungry, offer the remaining portion of your pet's dinner approximately 1 hour later.  Some pet's experience nausea after general anesthesia, so dividing the meal into smaller portions may decrease the risk of nausea and vomiting.  Your pet's access to water should not be restricted.

What should the incision look like?

The incision should generally be clean with the edges together.  We apply betadine scrub and solution to the incision area prior to surgery to disinfect the area at the time of surgery.  You may see this still on the skin when you pick up your pet. Please allow it to do its job.  You can clean excess after 2-3 days.  The skin surrounding the incision should be a normal or slightly reddish pink color.  If you notice any excessive or continuous blood draining, seepage that lasts 24 hours, excessive swelling, redness, or unpleasant odor, please contact us immediately. Stitches should be removed 10-14 days after surgery. 

Surgical Incision Care

Restrict Activity for the first 10-14 days to allow the incision to begin healing.  Too much activity may cause the sutures to break apart or cause the incision to bleed.  It may also cause excessive stretching of the surgical incision, especially during the first few days.  Indoor cage rest or confinement in a small room is ideal


-Short bathroom breaks on a short leash 


-No running off leash 

-No jumping


-No Stair climbing


-No playing with other dogs


-No strenuous activity


-No bath or getting wet until stitches are removed 10-14 days after surgery.  No appointment is needed for stitches removal.  Please come at your convenience during our regular business hours. Please note that ear trims, tail trims, and dewclaw removal do not require stitches to be removed as we use suture that dissolves over time.  We recommend not allowing your pet to get wet for 2 full weeks after ear, tail, and dewclaw procedures.


-Do not apply cream, ointment, disinfectant, or any other substance unless prescribed by Dr. Carter


-Never clean the incision with hydrogen peroxide or alcohol as they damage cells and delay healing


-Do not give your pet Tylenol or Advil for pain as it is toxic to dogs.  If your pet appears to be in tremendous pain, please contact us for pain management needs.  Pets are usually a little sore which is normal.

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