Spay: This surgical procedure involves removing the ovaries and uterus to prevent your female pet from going into heat and being able to reproduce. Spaying is a major surgical procedure which involves general anesthesia and proper pain management. We recommend spaying for all females. There are many health benefits to spaying your pet, including: prevention of breast cancer and uterine cancer, prevention of unwanted pregnancy or heat cycles, and elimination of risk for pyometra (severe uterine infection). Spaying is recommended between four to six months of age.
Neuter: This surgical procedure involves removing the testicles so the male will not be able to reproduce. Neutering requires general anesthesia but is not as invasive as spaying a female pet, since the surgeon does not go into the abdominal cavity. We recommend neutering for all male pets when growing period is completed. Neutering prevents males from wandering after females in heat, aggression secondary to testosterone levels, and reduces the likelihood of territorial behaviors such as marking with urine or stool.
WHEN / WHY SHOULD I SPAY OR NEUTER MY PET?
As part of the battle against pet overpopulation, it used to be frequent practice to spay and neuter young pets as soon as it was safe to do so, and sterilization still is routinely performed on shelter puppies and kittens. When it comes to privately-owned pets in secure homes, here are AAHA’s most recent recommendations.
Cats: Female kittens can enter their first heat cycle as young as four months, but usually not until they are five or six months old. AAHA has endorsed the “Fix Felines by Five” initiative, which recommends sterilization of cats by five months of age. This recommendation prevents unwanted litters and decreases mammary cancer risks in female cats as well as spraying/marking in male cats, but still allows kittens time to grow. Kittens sterilized at this age quickly bounce back from surgery.
Dogs: According to the AAHA Canine Life Stage Guidelines, small-breed dogs (under 45 pounds projected adult body weight) should be neutered at six months of age or spayed prior to the first heat (five to six months). Large-breed dogs (over 45 pounds projected adult body weight) should be neutered after growth stops, which usually is between 9 and 15 months of age. The decision on when to spay a large-breed female dog is based on many factors—your veterinarian can help narrow down the recommended window of 5 to 15 months depending on your dog’s disease risk and lifestyle.
What are the benefits of spaying or neutering my pet?
Many pet owners think their female pet needs to experience the joy of motherhood at least once or that their male pet will feel less masculine if he’s neutered, but animals simply do not think that way. US pet owners choose not to spay or neuter their pets for a variety of reasons, including: They show or breed the animals, financial constraints, fear of anesthesia, lack of understanding of the benefits, etc.
These concerns might seem valid, but the reasons to spay or neuter far outweigh the risks of not doing so. Older show or breeding pets who are spayed or neutered can avoid various cancers and infections. Many spay-and-neuter clinics are low-cost and anesthesia in veterinary medicine is now on par with human medicine. If you’re still not convinced that spaying or neutering your pet can lead to a happier, healthier, longer life, consider these benefits:
*Spaying your female pet drastically slashes her risk of mammary cancer, which is fatal in about 50% of dogs and 90% of cats.
*Neutering your male pet eliminates his risk of testicular cancer.
*Spaying and neutering limits pet overpopulation.
*Spaying your female pet prevents heat cycles and eliminates yowling, crying, erratic behavior, and bloody vaginal discharge.
*Neutering your male pet reduces inappropriate behaviors, such as roaming to find a mate, marking inside your home, and fighting with other males.
*Spaying and neutering are more cost-effective than skipping surgery. A uterine infection that requires emergency surgery to save your female pet’s life easily can cost several thousand dollars, while a simple tomcat neuter costs less than products needed to eliminate urine odors after your home has been well-marked by your territorial male cat.
If you have any additional questions or concerns, do not hesitate to contact us at 561-964-3144
Healing Hands and Caring Hearts for your Pets. This is Us!