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Definition of Spay


noun - a surgical procedure that involves removal of a female animal's ovaries and uterus under general anesthesia

verb - to sterilize; to alter (reproductively); to surgically remove a female animal's ovaries and uterus

"Spay" is a common term for ovariohysterectomy. A spay is often performed on puppies around the age of six months (sometimes earlier). Dogs are typically spayed in order to eliminate the possibility of reproduction and estrus / bleeding. In some cases, a dog must be spayed in order to treat a serious medical condition such as pyometra (abscessed uterus). Spaying dogs as puppies is believed to reduce the risk of mammary cancer.

While a spay is often considered to be a routine surgery, the procedure is not without risk. Complications are very uncommon. As with any surgical procedure, risks include anesthesia reaction, excessive bleeding, bruising and infection. Some dogs will develop hormone-related urinary incontinence, but this is also very uncommon. Overall, the prognosis for a full recovery is excellent in healthy patients.

Pronunciation: spey (rhymes with "play")
Also Known As: ovariohysterectomy (medical term), sterilization
Common Misspellings: spade, spaded, spayded
  • My dog had no complications during her spay.
  • Most female puppies are spayed at six months of age.
  • Will you have the vet spay your dog, or will you keep her intact?
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