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What is the difference?

Spaying a pet is the surgical sterilization by the removal of the reproductive organs, all or in part. Traditionally, in the United States, the surgery to spay a pet was the removal of the ovaries and uterus (ovariohysterectomy). In Europe, the standard has just been to remove the ovaries only and leave the uterus (ovariectomy). For the purpose of sterilizing the pet, there is no difference. Studies comparing the European method (ovariectomy) to the United States method (ovariohysterectomy) found that there was essentially no difference in long term health or problems by leaving the uterus intact.

What is the benefit?

In general, an ovariectomy can be performed with a smaller incision and a little less manipulation which generally correlates with less pain and problems postoperatively. In larger animals (>20 lbs), laparoscopy can be used to perform an ovariectomy further minimizing the post operative discomfort.

At Pikesville Animal Hospital we have been performing ovariectomies on the majority of our patients with great success. We believe it is a better experience for the patient and recommend it as our standard approach to spaying a pet. For larger pets, as it is appropriate, we use the laparoscope as part of the procedure.