Spaying and neutering animals controls the homeless pet crisis, but it also has medical and behavioral benefits.
What is spay or neuter?
A spay is a surgical removal of a female animal’s reproductive organs so that she cannot become pregnant.
A neuter is the surgical removal of a male animal’s testicles so that he cannot impregnate a female animal.
Surgeries are performed by your vet, with the animal under general anesthesia so as to not subject them to pain. However, some discomfort post-operation is normal. Pain medication is typically dispensed to ease the soreness.
Medical and Behavior Benefits
- Spaying helps prevent uterine infections and breast tumors. These tumors can be malignant or cancerous and show up 50% of dogs and 90% of cats. Spaying your pet before her first heat offers the best protection. If spayed after their first heat cycle, their chances of developing certain health issues jump from 16% to 70% more likely.
- Neutering male pets prevent testicular cancer and some prostate problems.
- Spayed female pets won’t go into heat. A typical heat cycle in felines last four to five days every three weeks for breeding season. To attract mates they will yowl and urinate more frequently and often in unconventional places around the house that aren’t the litterbox.
- Neutered dogs are less likely to run away from home. A male dog not yet neutered will do anything to find a mate—including escaping the house.
- Unneutered dogs and cats are more likely to mark their territory by spraying strong-smelling urine all over the house. Your dog might be less likely to mount other dogs, people, and inanimate objects after he’s neutered. Some aggression problems may be avoided by early neutering.
- The cost to spay or neuter your pet will be significantly less than the medical bills that follow with their increased exposure to other diseases.
Spay/Neuter Myths and Misconceptions
Spaying or Neutering will not lead to weight gain. A lack of daily exercise and overfeeding causes a pet to put on a few extra pounds.
Neutering is not a quick fix for all behavioral issues. Although it reduces undesirable behaviors when higher level of testosterone is removed, there’s not guarantee that your dog’s behavior will change after the procedure. Although it reduces the amount of testosterone, it will not remove the hormone entirely. It will also not remove any habitual behaviors.
When to Spay or Neuter your Pet
The standard age for neutering is six to nine months, however puppies as young as eight weeks old can be neutered so long as they are healthy. Adult dogs can be neutered, however they run a higher risk of postoperative complications, especially in older dogs that have health problems or are overweight.
Kittens as young as eight weeks old may be spayed or neutered. It is advisable that a kitten is spayed or neutered before they reach five months of age to avoid urine spraying.
Surgical alternatives to traditional spaying and neutering
The uterus and part of the fallopian tubes are removed from a female dog or cat. This makes her unable to reproduce, but her ovaries remain and will produce hormones. This may not eliminate the animal’s behaviors associated with the breeding instinct.
Only the vas deferens, which conducts sperm from the testes, are removed. This procedure makes the dog or cat unable to reproduce, however the testes remain and will produce hormones. This may not eliminate the animal’s behaviors associated with the breeding instinct.
The ovaries are removed from a female dog or cat, but the uterus remains. Similar to ovariohysterectomy, this makes her unable to reproduce and eliminates her heat cycle and breeding instinct-related behavior.
Speak with your vet what is the best approach for your pet.