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.