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Removing ovaries only

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

Is it OK to remove ovaries only while spaying a young cat (5 month old)? Veterinarian said that removing ovaries at early age is enough to ensure that there will be no ongoing health issues. What are your opinions?
post #2 of 19
I'm curious - why would you want to leave the uterus? What are the benefits?
post #3 of 19
Thread Starter 
I don't want to leave anything...the vet said so. he said that removing both ovaries and uterus will be very traumatic for a very young cat. And removing ovaries only is enough…and now I’m curious about all these...
post #4 of 19
By leaving the uterus, the cat still runs a risk for uterine cancer and pyometra.
The stress from a spay is negligible for a young, healthy cat, most are acting quite normal again the day following the surgery.
post #5 of 19
Hmmm... I've never even heard of 5-6 months old being considered "young" for a spay. Almost every cat I've ever had was fixed by that age.
post #6 of 19
I have had many many kittens spayed at 2lbs (8 weeks) and they all have ovaries and uterus removed. I think it would be a very bad idea and awfully irresponsible of the vet to suggest leaving the uterus behind...

Find another vet? This one seems very unknowledgable and kind of fishy to me. 6 months is even waiting too long to spay/neuter IMO, I have also never heard anyone consider this too YOUNG. That is weird.
post #7 of 19
Originally Posted by NinaCaliente View Post
Hmmm... I've never even heard of 5-6 months old being considered "young" for a spay. Almost every cat I've ever had was fixed by that age.
here they'll do it even earlier - there's a weight requirement [at least 2 pounds] but not an age one.
post #8 of 19
Thread Starter 
the thing is...this is a cat i'm wating, the cornish rex. and the breeder who lives in russia has already spayed her...they didn't remove the uterus. i wasnt informed that it would be done this way. she wrote me an e-mail saying all these. as far as i know in russia they still don't spay cats till 8-9 months old and 5 month old cat considered to be very young for spaying. BUT this kitten was the smallest of this litter, that is why she is selling it as a pet class cat. maybe this was the reason why they did it.
post #9 of 19
We got our girl done at 5 months - everything removed. That is strange that your vet only wants to do the ovaries. Hm. I would try and get a bit more information from the vet to find out why but I would also call a few other vets in your area to see what they say - a second opinion, if you will. Vets here (in Ireland) usually prefer to wait a bit longer to do the spay and neuter, but even our vet said do it between 5-6 months....

For the record, Conor was fine the day after her spay. I had never had cats before, so I was nervous, but she was pretty much back to her normal self within a day or two.
post #10 of 19
This sounds strange to me too..

I made a thread on here a while back asking about the common age to get kitties spayed, and the most popular answer was 2 months or 2kgs, whichever came first.. (at least I think it was 2 months, I'm only sure about the 2kgs part.)

I think they also mentioned that there have been studies that suggest the younger a cat is spayed it could put it as more possible risk during the operation/recovery. But others mentioned they thought young cats bounced back much faster than older ones.

My kitty was spayed at about 4 months and everything went fine.

I'd suggest finding another vet. Is the kitty indoors-only? If it is an indoor-only cat, and you feel strongly about getting it fixed by this particular vet, maybe consider waiting until the kitty is old enough to get everything out?
post #11 of 19
Ok so it's a Russian vet that your breeder uses!!! I get it!

Did you ask your breeder why the spay is done like that? I guess it's just cultral differences.... But could you request that they take out the uterus too? In your post it sounded like she's already been spayed... Maybe respaying her when YOU get her? I would hate to pay twice though, and put her through that again.
post #12 of 19
Thread Starter 
Well, cornish rex kittens are usually tiny at that age, and mine is even smaller (as i've already mentioned it was born smaller than the rest of kittens in this litter). for example my devon rex became 2 kg when he was 8 month old...anyways, i talked to breeder, she said that for a kittens with low weight removing ovaries is a better choice. it sounds reasonable to me.
speaking about cultural differences...well they usually remove both uterus and ovaries but spaying earlier than 6-7 months is still rarely practiced. Anyways...gotta do a wider research on this issue.
i appreciate your help!
post #13 of 19
I think you are going to end up having to re-spay her, due to the risks of uterine cancer and pyometra, as someone else has mentioend, and I would like to know what the vets thinking was behind that, and why it would be less traumatic to the cat, when it is common practice in other countries.
post #14 of 19

I wanted to comment as there seems to be some suspicion coupled with a lot of misinformation here about the medical rationale of an ovary-only spay.


There is nothing wrong with removing ovaries only to spay a cat - In Europe it is the preferred method as the surgery takes less time, causes less trauma, and accomplishes the same thing.


Also in Europe they will often perform the procedure via incision on the flank of the cat, rather than cutting through the middle of the abdomen (linea alba), as the middle of the abdomen is more difficult to heal and could lead to the (rare) complication of an abdominal hernia if your cat is active post-op.


For those worried about the consequences of leaving the uterus intact, studies have shown that removing the ovaries permanently terminates heat cycles in the female cat or dog as well as removing the female sex hormones' influence on the unterus. In young dogs and cats with normal uterine health, either before or after a heat cycle, removal of the ovaries causes any remaining uterine tissue to atrophy (shrink or decrease in size.)


Many reviews analyzing the safety and time savings of doing an ovary-only spay (OE) versus a ovary+uterus spay (OHE) reveal a net benefit to the patient for having just the ovaries removed and leaving the uterus in place. There is no evidence anywhere that indicates there is a greater risk of eventual uterine pathology such as pyometra, bacterial endometritis, cystic endometritis in dogs and cats that had OEs done compared to dogs and cats having an OHE done.


I would suggest you spare your cat the trauma, healing time and anesthesia risk, of a second major surgical procedure.


Here is a good veterinary reference all about an ovaries only spay procedure.

post #15 of 19

Another great article, explaining why an ovary-only spay procedure is preferred, written by a vet.


To quote:


"The reasons to leave the uterus in are pretty obvious. You can make a smaller incision if you are only taking out the ovaries, and smaller incisions are obviously preferable where possible. While you’re at it, you can center your incision over the ovaries instead of having to center it further towards the animal’s tail so as to get the uterus as well. The ovaries can be difficult to fully visualize, as they can be tucked deep into the abdomen; placing the incision further towards the animal’s head makes it easier to see what you’re doing, so you can be sure to get the whole thing and not leave little bits of ovary behind. If you leave little bits behind, the animal can still go through heat cycles. This happens more often than you might think.

Finally, removing fewer organs leaves fewer chances for the surgeon to make a mistake. Mistakes do happen, especially with less experienced surgeons....

Another consideration in choosing OVH over OVE is pyometra, a disease most commonly found in unspayed animals. As an animal ages, its uterus becomes less able to fight off bacterial invaders, and infection of the uterus can be a big (life-threatening) deal. To avoid the problem, remove the uterus.

However, although the causes of pyometra are not fully understood, we do know that it doesn’t happen unless progesterone levels are elevated, as happens during the estrous cycle. And animals without ovaries don’t get elevated progesterone levels unless we give them progesterone, something we don’t generally do to dogs and cats. This means that animals who have only their ovaries removed won’t get pyometra, even though the uterus (the infected organ in this disease) is left behind, because they won’t be going through heat cycles which result in elevated progesterone levels."


I hope that clears things up :)


(Oh, and uterine cancer is also dependent on hormones released by the ovary.)

post #16 of 19
Ariaelf, welcome to TCS. wavey.gif This is a great community of cat lovers and I hope you'll take a look around the rest of the site. You've made some interesting points, but you should note that this thread is almost 4 years old, and it's unlikely that anyone is still following it. You might want to do a search for more recent threads/discussions on the topic.
post #17 of 19


I never join forums but i just had to reply to this subject.

As i see it's 4 years old but I did search on the subject and found this thread.

I am from Europe and have lived here for 6 years in the USA.

Often i am VERY frustrated by the way Americans deal with animals.

One of them is the spay and neuter thing.

I just adopted a kitten from local animal services and she needs to be spayed.

I am looking for a vet that does ONLY removal of ovaries. The less the better.

I've had 2 cats in Europe, one without ovaries and one with tubes tied. None had any reproductive area health issues.

One lived to 16 the other 14. So, for me less is better and not too young.

Was interesting to read previous posts on this topic and i'm thrilled that i'm not the only one with different views.

If i ever decide to neuter my dog i'll just tie his tubes only.

If i can't find a vet here willing to do it i'll do it in Europe while visiting family.

I want to sterilize my dog, no need to change his natural chemistry.

Hope there will be more like minded people in this country.

Enjoy your animals and do your own research before you decide what's best for your animal.


post #18 of 19
Originally Posted by ariaelf View Post



There is nothing wrong with removing ovaries only to spay a cat - In Europe it is the preferred method as the surgery takes less time, causes less trauma, and accomplishes the same thing.



The UK is in europe and ovaries only is NOT the prefered method here - it's ovaries and uterus.

post #19 of 19
Old thread...

I know many dog breeders are doing this and vasectomies over EN, then the dog is properly desexed at 6-18 months.
Not done in cats though, studies have shown EN to be safe and I've not had any issues with my pets or litters I get done young. It takes less than 3 minutes for my vet to do males, a few minutes more for females - very quick surgery and almost instant recovery
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