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Dog's Spaying Advised After False Pregnancy

May 25, 1989|DR. GLENN ERICSON

Q: I'd like your opinion on spaying our 8-year-old Maltese. We just had her checked by our vet because we thought she was pregnant. Her mammary glands became swollen, and she actually had milk. Our vet said that she was going through a false pregnancy and recommended that we have her spayed, but we fear she may be getting too old for anesthesia and surgery, especially since she seems to be doing well otherwise. What could happen if we don't have her spayed?

A.L. Bronstad, Orange

A: Since your pet has gone through false pregnancy, which is caused by a hormonal imbalance of the ovaries, it would be wise to follow your veterinarian's advice and have her spayed. Otherwise, the odds are that she would repeat these episodes and could develop an infection. Then, instead of having a relatively healthy dog for surgery, you would have a very debilitated and weak patient for what amounts to emergency surgery. With any surgery on any age patient, anesthesia is always a risk, but modern techniques have considerably reduced those risks. Your veterinarian will probably want to do some pre-surgery lab tests to make sure that she has normal kidney and liver functions as well as normal blood volume. Your veterinarian shares your concern for your pet's safety and health and will do all that is necessary to make sure that she will do fine while in surgery.

Q: We have three cats at home, and the one male tends to be very dominant and aggressive toward the two other female cats. We had him neutered when he was 6 months old, and yet he still will grab them on the neck and try to mount them. They have also been spayed. We have tried to spray him with a water bottle and chase him off when we catch him grabbing one of the girls. Is there anything else we can do?

Mrs. Marni Carpenter, Garden Grove

A: Your male cat is obviously the more dominant and has a strong instinct to display it with his aggressive behavior. This could also result in his starting to spray in the house. It may be possible to start him on medication such as Ovaban (megestrol) or even phenobarbital at very low doses in order to reduce his behavior. This aggressive behavior may be very difficult to eliminate. I know of one incidence where the owners had to find a new home for the aggressive cat, where there were no others.

Got a question about your pet? Write to: Dr. Glenn Ericson, Ask the Vet, Orange County Life, The Times, 1375 Sunflower Ave., Costa Mesa, Calif. 92626. Ericson, a practicing Orange County veterinarian, is immediate past president of the Southern California Veterinary Medical Assn.

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