Most people know that spaying or neutering your pet helps control the homeless pet population and reduces the number of pets euthanized each year. What many people do not know is that there are numerous medical and behavioral benefits to spaying or neutering your animals.
Spaying refers to an operation in which both ovaries and the uterus are removed from the female animal. This operation is done through a small incision in the abdomen. Neutering technically refers to either spay or castration but is commonly used to refer to the male animal having both testicles removed through a small pre-scrotal incision. Pets who have been spayed or neutered (castrated) are also referred to as fixed or altered.
Some of the medical benefits include:
- Your female pet will live a longer, healthier life. Spaying prevents uterine infections and can reduce the incidence of breast tumors, which can be malignant or cancerous in approximately 50 percent of dogs and 90 percent of cats. Spaying your pet before her first heat offers the best protection from these diseases.
- Neutering your male pet prevents testicular cancer and some prostate problems.
Some of the behavioral benefits include:
- Your female pet will not go into heat. This means they will not attract mates, will be more likely to stay home, and will not become pregnant. Females in heat can also be a nuisance as they need to wear a diaper or the discharge can be messy, particularly on furniture or bedding.
- Your male dog will be less likely to roam. An intact male in search of a mate risks injury in traffic, getting lost, and fights with other males.
- Your neutered male may be better behaved. Neutered dogs and cats are less likely to mark their territory by urinating all over the house. Your dog will be less likely to mount other dogs, people, and inanimate objects after he is neutered. Aggression issues may be avoided by early neutering.
Spaying or neutering your pet is cost-effective. The cost of your pet's spay or neuter surgery is far less than the cost of having and caring for an unwanted litter. At AVC, the surgery costs are based on size. Please call us if you are interested in finding out the cost of the procedure for your pet.
When to Spay or Neuter Your Pet
- The traditional age for spaying or neutering dogs is six to nine months. However, large breed dogs should be neutered between 1 and 2 years old, so long as there are no other untoward behaviors that indicate it should be considered sooner. Dogs can also be spayed or neutered as adults, but with a slightly higher risk of post-operative complications in older dogs, overweight dogs, or dogs that have health problems.
- We recommend kittens be spayed or neutered between 4 and 6 months of age. In animal shelters, surgery is often performed at 8 weeks of age so kittens can be sterilized prior to adoption.
Talk to an AVC veterinarian to determine the best time to spay or neuter your pet.
Helping Your Pet Before and After Surgery
AVC will provide instructions for post-operative care. Your pet may experience discomfort after surgery. We strongly advocate pain management so pain medication will be sent home with your pet, unless there is a medical reason not to do so, which is rare.
Here are some tips for a safe and comfortable recovery:
- Provide your pet with a quiet place to recover indoors and away from other animals.
- Prevent your pet from running and jumping following surgery for as long as your veterinarian recommends.
- Prevent your pet from licking the incision site. **This is very important!
- Avoid bathing your pet for at least ten days after surgery.
- Check the incision site daily to confirm proper healing. If you notice redness, swelling, or discharge at the surgery site, or if the incision is open, please contact AVC. Additionally, call your veterinarian if your pet is lethargic, has a decreased appetite, is vomiting or has diarrhea, or if you have any other concerns following surgery.
Spay and Neuter Myths and Misconceptions
- Spaying or neutering have the potential to cause a pet to gain weight but your pet will remain fit and trim if you provide a proper diet and exercise.
- Neutering is not a fix for all behavior problems. Neutering your pet may reduce undesirable behaviors caused by higher levels of testosterone, but there are no guarantees.
At AVC, we look forward to caring for your pet now and well into the future. If your pet needs to be spayed or neutered, or you have questions or concerns about the procedure, please call and speak to one of our experienced staff.