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To Spay Or Not To Spay…..That Is The Question!

Friday, April 18th, 2014

To spay or not to spay. That is the question

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Why spay or neuter?

Every year, millions of unwanted pets, including puppies and kittens, are euthanized. However, responsible pet owners can make a difference. By having your dog or cat sterilized, you will do your part in preventing the birth of unwanted puppies and kittens. Spaying and neutering prevents unwanted litters and may even reduce a lot of the behavioral problems associated with the mating instinct.

 

Spaying eliminates heat cycles and usually reduces habits and behaviors that pet owners so often complain about. Neutering male dogs and cats reduces the breeding instinct and can have a calming effect, making them less likely to roam and more content to stay home (and snuggle with you on the couch).

 

Early spaying of female dogs and cats can help protect them from some serious health problems later in life such as uterine infections and breast cancer. Neutering of male pets can also lessen the risk of developing benign prostatic hyperplasia (enlarged prostate gland) and testicular cancer.

 

The procedure has absolutely no effect on a pets’ intellect or physical abilities. In fact, most pets tend to be better behaved following surgical removal of their ovaries or testes, making them more desirable pets to be around.

 

Risks of surgery

While both spaying and neutering are major surgical procedures, they are also the most common surgeries that veterinarians perform on dogs and cats. Like any surgical procedure, sterilization is associated with some anesthetic and surgical risk, but the overall incidence of complications is very low.

 

Although reproductive hormones cause mating behaviors that may be undesirable for many pet owners, these hormones also affect your pets overall health. Removing your pet’s ovaries or testes reduces these hormones and can result in increased risk of health problems such as incontinence. Talk to our veterinarians about the benefits and risks of the sterilization procedure so you can be well informed before making a decision.

 

Before the procedure is done, your pet will be given a pre-surgical examination to ensure that your pet is in good health. General anesthesia is administered to perform the surgery and medications are given to minimize pain (it is after all, like a hysterectomy for women. Ouch!)  You will be asked to keep your pet calm and quiet for a few days after surgery to give your pet and the incision time to properly heal.

 

When to spay or neuter

We at North Hills Veterinary Clinic recommend spaying and neutering at 4 months of age but you will want to consult your veterinarian to see what they recommend. Keep in mind, contrary to popular belief, it is best NOT to wait for your female dog or cat to go through their first heat cycle before your spay.

 

Source: AVMA.org