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Reasons to Spay or Neuter Your Pet

Spaying or neutering your animal companion will help them live a longer and healthier life. These surgeries can also reduce behavioral problems and help control the pet population.
Spaying is a surgical procedure done on female animals to remove both ovaries and the uterus. Neutering is a surgical procedure done on male animals to remove the testicles.

Medical reasons to spay your female pet:

  • Pyometra: Pyometra is an infection of the uterus that often requires immediate surgical removal of the organ. This life-threatening condition for the pet is often both expensive and stressful for the owner.
  • Mammary cancer:  Mammary cancers grow quickly in our pets. This type of cancer often requires very aggressive surgical removal of the mammary chain.  Spaying your pet before her first heat (6-9 months old) is the most effective way to reduce the risk of mammary cancer.

Behavioral reasons to spay your female pet:

  • Heat: Females in heat (especially cats) can become extremely vocal and mark their territory with urine. These behaviors are done to let males know they are in heat and ready for breeding.  This can be very disruptive to your home, and there is often a discharge to deal with as well.

Medical reasons to neuter your male pet:

  • Prostate disease: Removing your pet’s testes significantly reduces the risk of prostatic disease.
  • Testicular cancer: By removing the testicles, cancer of the tissue is impossible.

Behavioral reasons to neuter your pet:

  • Roaming: Intact males (haven’t been neutered) often roam the neighborhood looking for females in heat. While out wandering, these animals are at risk of being hit by a car, attacked by a predator, fighting with other pets or getting lost.
  • Marking: Intact males often spray strong smelling urine around the house to mark their territory. The smell of the urine can be hard to get out of carpeting, furniture, and clothing.
  • Aggression: Intact males have more testosterone in their body. This hormone promotes aggression that increases the risk of fights between animals and pets biting people.
  • Mounting: Inappropriate mounting of other pets, toys, inanimate objects and people can be an embarrassing behavior. It can also result in the penis getting stuck out of the prepuce resulting in a painful medical emergency.

Community considerations for spaying and neutering:

  • Spaying and neutering results in fewer unwanted litters, which reduces the number of animals in shelters. There are millions of healthy pets euthanized each year waiting for homes.
  • Fewer unwanted litters also mean fewer stray animals. Stray animals are usually unvaccinated and can carry diseases. These animals can get into fights resulting in infections and disease transmission.
  • Planned spaying or neutering is a good financial investment. The cost of a spay or neuter is less than paying for an unplanned pregnancy, C-section, emergency surgery for a pyometra or treatment of a preventable cancer or fight wounds.

Debunking misconceptions:

  • Spaying or neutering your pet will not make them become overweight.  With a healthy diet and exercise plan, your pet can maintain a normal body weight.
  • You don’t need your pet to have a litter to teach your children about the miracle of birth. Children can learn these lessons from books, videos, etc.

If your pet is not neutered or spayed and you would like to learn more or you would like to make an appointment for the surgery, contact your family veterinarian.

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