Spaying is when uterus and the ovaries are surgically removed from a female dog. Neutering is when the testicles are surgically removed from a male dog. There are many misconceptions and myths about these procedures...Therefore it may be best to read about this and then make an informed decision.
Why is This Done?
It is a common misconception that this is only done to prevent dogs from mating. While this is the end result, there are also major ways in which this will help your Maltese live a healthier life and possibly increase life span.
When a female Maltese is spayed, this will:
Greatly reduce her chances of developing ovarian & mammary cancer and decrease her odds of developing ovarian infections.
Spare an older dog from having puppies. Delivering a litter past the age of 8 is very dangerous for both mama and puppies.
When a male Maltese is neutered, this will:
Eliminate the possibility of testicular tumors
Eliminate the possibility of infections
Reduces the risk of prostate disease - More than 60% of male dogs, older than 5 years old, who are not neutered, show signs of prostate enlargement.
Separating Truth from Myth
Neutering a dog will make him sad, lose strength and decrease his activity level = False. Studies have shown that male dogs do not act out any mating behavior unless they are stimulated by their own hormones in response to a female dog in heat. When neutered, it does not bother a dog that he cannot mate. When a male dog is neutered, his body can use its energy and resources for other things beside mating, including stamina and strength. A male dog will be just as good of a "watch dog" and behave normally in all of these aspects.
A female dog will become overweight and lazy = false. When given the proper amount of food and exercise properly, a female dog will not become overweight.
What Age is a Maltese Spayed or Neutered?
The younger, the better. When a female is spayed before her first heat, her odds of mammary cancer are greatly reduced. The odds go up a bit, even if an owner waits until after the 1st heat. To offer her the best chance, a female Maltese should be spayed at the age of 4 to 5 months old. However, having this done at any age will help a dog's health.
How is This Done?
Spaying is done under general anesthesia and should be performed by an experienced and trusted veterinarian. An incision is made in the female dog's abdomen. The uterus is taken out from the incision area. The ovarian ligaments and blood vessels are securely tied. The abdominal tissues are stitched back together in layers. External stitches are usually not needed.
Neutering is done by making an incision in front of the dog's scrotum. The testicles are then removed through this incision. The blood vessels are tied off and cut. The skin incision will have either have stitches that dissolve or ones which do not and will need to be removed 10 days later.
How Long Does it Take for a Dog to Recover?
For the male Maltese, the scrotum is often swollen for about 3 days. Sometimes there is slight bruising. Pain relief is almost never necessary afterward. Most male dogs are eager to play by the day after surgery but to keep the incision intact; it is best to restrict the dog from a lot of activity for about 10 days to 2 weeks.
For the female Maltese, it is important that she be allowed to fully rest for 10 days. Any signs of vomiting, shaking, pale gum or bleeding indicates a complications and the dog should be brought to the veterinarian right away. This is uncommon. A female dog may want to lick her stitches and this can cause infection. Steps may be taken to prevent her from reaching this area. 10 to 14 days afterward, she will have a post checkup at the veterinarian and have any external stitches removed.
A dog should not be fed or given water for the first hour after getting home.
What About Older Dogs?
It is very helpful for senior dogs to be spayed or neutered. Doing so will help to extend the life of your Maltese dog.
A female may have heat cycles for her entire life. Having babies while a senior dog can be extremely dangerous for both female dog and potential puppies.
Spaying greatly reduces
the possibility of developing ovarian, uterine and mammary cancer as
well as uterine infections. Infections are very common in older dogs and can often be life-threatening.
Spaying your senior female Maltese also
reduces hormone changes which can affect other health conditions your
dog may have, such as diabetes, epilepsy and other health issues.
Neutering senior male dogs eliminates the possibility of developing testicular tumors, infections and reduces the risk of canine prostate disease.
Much More Information
24 Maltese Behavioral Issues with Detailed Training for Each
34 Maltese Health Issues - Know Exactly What to Look For & What to Do