Abdominal and Flank Kitten Spay Procedures Compared

Kitten spay procedures should be performed when a cat is between 3 and 6 months old, before her first heat. An "ovariohysterectomy", or spay procedure, is when a kitten surgically has her ovaries and uterus removed. A kitten can undergo a flank spay or an abdominal spay.

The Benefits of Spaying a Kitten

A cat that has been spayed will usually have a much better temperament and will be less likely to try to escape the home in search of a mate. She will also not have unwanted litters or develop cancers specific female cats.

Before the Cat Spay Procedure

Feline spay procedures require a kitten to not have any food or water the night before the surgery. Before an incision is made, the area the procedure will be performed will be shaved and sterilized to prevent infection.

Flank Spay

A flank spay is when a kitten has an incision made on her flank, half-way down the side from the spine after receiving general anesthesia. This type of spay procedure is usually done on cats that are lactating since the incision is out of the way of mammary glands.

It may be easier for the owner of the kitten to monitor the incision as the cat will not have to be handled. The incision is more visible since it is on the top part of the kitten's body.

The disadvantages of a flank spay is that it is sometimes harder to tell if a cat has been previously spayed or not. A veterinarian will need to have more precision during a flank spay since dropped vessels, ovaries or the uterus are harder to retrieve. It is also harder for a veterinarian to do a thorough examination of the kitten's abdomen during a flank spay.

Abdominal Spay

An abdominal spay is when an incision is made in the middle of a kitten's belly. Abdominal, or midline, spays also require a kitten to undergo anesthesia. The incision made goes through the skin and muscles of the abdomen, and the ovaries and uterus are then located. The correct arteries and veins are then found and ligated-tied off. The uterine body is also ligated. The ovaries and uterus are then removed. Before the veterinarian sutures the incision, he or she will check the abdomen to make sure there is no abnormal bleeding.

Post-Surgery Care

After a kitten is spayed, she is usually allowed to go home the same day. She will be sleepy or groggy for the night from the pain medicine given to her. This will help the healing process begin. The kitten may be nauseous, so do not over-feed her.

Keep children and other pets away from the kitten the night she comes home from the veterinarian's office. The kitten's activity level should be restricted for the first few days. Do not let her go outside until the wound is completely healed.

It is estimated that about 2,000 kittens are born every hour in the United States. Cat spay neuter programs are available throughout the United States to help keep the pet population under control, and to prevent cats from behaving in ways that can be detrimental to not only their well-being, but their owners' sanity.