Why Spay Neuter

What is Spay Neuter?

"Spay" refers to the sterilization of a female dog or cat. "Neuter" refers to the sterilization of a male dog or cat, although sometimes it is used to refer to female pets as well. Sterilization is accomplished by the removal of reproductive organs via surgery.

Why Spay Neuter?

10 years ago, there were upwards of 5 million dogs and cats being killed in shelters across the U.S. simply due to the lack of homes. Today, due to the work of so many across the country, we have closer to 500,000 dogs and cats being euthanized due to lack of space. This is tremendous progress, however, anyone who has shared their lives with a dog or cat, knows that even 1 animal euthanized is 1 too many.

Pets end up in shelters for several reasons: some are given up by their families, some are saved from the streets, and others are confiscated for neglect or cruelty. Additionally, there are countless animals who never make it to the shelter and suffer without someone to care for them. Spaying and neutering prevents unwanted litters and is the most effective and humane way to save animals' lives. You can directly impact the number of healthy animals who are killed in our nation's shelters by sterilizing your pet today.

When to Spay Neuter?

For dogs:

In the past decade, there have been numerous research studies documenting both benefits and risks associated with spaying and neutering dogs at various ages. We know that sterilized dogs live longer. We also know that spaying a female dog prior to her first heat cycle significantly decreases the incidence of mammary carcinoma (a common form of cancer) and pyometras (a common infection of the uterus). However, in some large breeds, early sterilization appears to have a greater incidence of certain orthopedic conditions and may have a higher incidence of some immune diseases and certain cancers. Therefore, it’s important to make an informed decision based on sex, breed, current medical knowledge, lifestyle and environment. We recommend talking this over with your veterinarian or call us to discuss your individual circumstances.

We are able to spay/neuter dogs between 8 weeks to 7 years of age.

For cats:

We, at Spay Neuter Vets, in conjunction with the Veterinary Task Force on Feline Sterilization, the American Veterinary Medical Association, the American Animal Hospital Association, the American Association of Feline Practitioners and the Association of Shelter Veterinarians, support the recommendation to spay/neuter cats before 5 months of age. Some of the benefits of spaying/neutering cats before 5 months of age include decreased risk of mammary carcinoma, eliminating reproductive emergencies such as pyometra and dystocia, preventing unwanted litters (which can occur as early as 4 months of age), and potentially decreasing behavioral problems linked with cat relinquishment. Additionally, there is no scientific evidence that shows a medical or behavioral reason to delay sterilization surgery in cats past 5 month old. The Feline Fix by Five Months campaign has further educational information on the reasons behind this recommendation if you would like to learn more.

We are able to spay/neuter cats as early as 8 weeks or 2 pounds. We can also spay females in heat, post partum, lactating or pregnant.

Health Benefits of Spay Neuter

Your female pet will live a longer, healthier life. Spaying reduces uterine and ovarian cancer risk and prevents pyometra, a potentially life-threatening infection of the uterus. Most importantly, spaying helps prevent mammary tumors which are cancerous in about 50 percent of dogs and 90 percent of cats. Spaying your pet before her first heat will decrease the chance of developing mammary cancer later in life to near zero.

Neutering male animals protects them from prostatic hypertrophy and infections, as well as testicular cancer and certain types of hernias and perianal tumors.

Behavior After Spaying and Neutering

The most dangerous behavior seen in intact males is their instinct to look for a mate, because it leads to animals running away as well as car accidents. Once neutered, your male dog will be less likely to roam away from home.

Neutering male dogs and cats can also reduce urine marking in your house, aggression towards other dogs, and territorial aggression. However, it is important to realize that these behaviors can become a habit and continue after neutering. Thus, neutering between 6-9 months of age is often recommended before undesirable behaviors become permanent.

Intact female dogs come into heat about every 8 months, resulting in bloody vaginal discharge and an unpleasant odor. When in heat, females are more likely to be aggressive and can show erratic behavior such as howling and writhing on the ground. They will attract males from miles around. These sexual behaviors will resolve once altered.

Contrary to some beliefs, spaying or neutering is unlikely to change a pet's temperament, basic personality or levels of playfulness and general activity.

If you have any other questions about spaying/neutering your pet, please contact us.

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