In short, the difference between spaying and ovariectomy is the amount of tissue removed.

Ovariectomy – two ovaries removed

Spaying – two ovaries removed + uterus removed

For your pet, an ovariectomy means less surgery time, less trauma and decreased potential for complications. These two methods of sterilization are equally successful for pets.

Ovariectomies must be performed before your pet’s first estrus cycle. You will need to work with your veterinarian to determine when the best time for this surgery is for your pet. If you miss the time frame, they will need to be spayed instead.

Common Questions about Ovariectomies

Will my pet act any differently between the two surgeries?

No, with both surgeries the end result will be sterilization without alteration of their behavior

If the uterus is left in the OVE, can my pet become pregnant?

No, as the ovaries are removed, no egg release will occur, no hormonal cycling will occur, and therefore no chance of pregnancy

Is there any chance of disease with leaving the uterus in the pet?

Most complications involving the uterus post surgery involve poor surgical technique with removal of the ovaries and can occur with either technique.
Leaving the uterus in the pet could result in a very low percentage of tumors developing [0.03%]. If tumors were to occur, the vast majorities are easily resected and tend not to spread.
Finally, post spay [OVH] vulvular bleeding which occurs in 15% of all spays is avoided as the uterus is not opened up.

Therefore we feel that to achieve the goal of less trauma, less risk, less pain, it makes sense to choose the Ovariectomy procedure.

Do you have more questions? Contact us and ask your veterinarian!


BART VAN GOETHEM, DVM, AUKE SCHAEFERS-OKKENS, DVM, PhD, Diplomate ECAR, and JOLLE KIRPENSTEIJN, DVM, PhD, Diplomate ACVS & ECVS, Veterinary Surgery, 35:136–143, 2006