Spay/neuter is an outpatient procedure: the dog or cat typically returns home the same day. Still, spay/neuter is a surgery, so it requires, for the animal’s safety and comfort, a physical exam of the patient, pre-operative time to prepare, and post-operative time for recovery. Anesthesia and pain management, both during and after the surgery, are necessary.
Actual surgical time (“cut-to-close”) for a routine spay/neuter is minimal. For the typical veterinary surgeon, a cat neuter is the fastest procedure on average, taking only 5 minutes or less. A cat spay averages 15-20 minutes. Dogs take a little longer, with a dog neuter averaging 20-30 minutes and a dog spay 30-45 minutes.
Veterinarians trained in high-volume surgical approaches (such as Dr. Marvin Mackie’s QuickSpay technique) and supported by skilled staff can perform spay/neuter procedures significantly faster.
In the routine case, spay/neuter is performed with no complications and the dog or cat is up, about, and returning to normal later the same day or by the next day.