Spaying is the term used to describe the removal of the ovaries and uterus (ovariohysterectomy) of a female animal. Neutering is the term usually used to describe the removal of the testicles (castration) of a male animal. However, neutering can be used in reference to both genders. The surgical procedure, performed by a veterinarian, renders the animal incapable of reproducing. Here are answers to some questions you may have about this beneficial procedure.
When can I have this procedure done?
Both procedures can safely be on juvenile dogs and cats at 5-6 months of age before they are sexually mature. Our vets at Wilkinson Animal Hospital are strong proponents of juvenile or pediatric spay/neuter since it is both healthy for pets and effectively reduces pet overpopulation.
Why should I have my pet neutered?
Animal shelters, both public and private, are faced with an incredible burden: What to do with the overpopulation of dogs and cats that they cannot find homes for? Approximately 3.7 million animals are euthanized at shelters each year, due to the sheer fact that there are not enough willing adopters. Having your pet spayed or neutered ensures that you will not be adding to this tremendous burden.
Is the procedure safe for my pet?
Yes. Like any surgery, there are always risks. However, this is a commonly performed procedure that carries very few risks as long as your dog or cat is healthy. At Wilkinson Animal Hospital, we take extra precautions to minimize this risk by performing specific blood tests and heart tests prior to surgery, using advanced monitoring during the procedure, and doing thorough physical exams.
This procedure is performed under a safe general anesthesia so that your pet will not feel pain during the surgery. At Wilkinson Animal Hospital, we have developed workable post-operative pain protocols to ensure your pet’s pain level is controlled. This includes high tech post-operative laser therapy and medications to handle any pain.
What are some of the health and behavioral benefits?
Through neutering, you can help your dog or cat live a happier, healthier, longer life. Spaying eliminates the constant crying and nervous pacing of a female cat in heat. Spaying a female dog also eliminates the messiness associated with the heat cycle.
Neutering of male dogs and cats can prevent certain undesirable sexual behaviors, such as urine marking, humping, male aggression and the urge to roam. If you have more than one pet in your household, all the pets will generally get along better if they are neutered.
A long-term benefit of spaying and neutering is improved health for both cats and dogs. Spaying females prior to their first heat cycle substantially reduces the risk of developing breast cancer and totally prevents uterine infections and uterine cancer. Neutering males prevents testicular cancer and enlargement of the prostate gland, and greatly reduces their risk for tumors around the anal area.