Deciding to Spay or Neuter Your Pet
Did You Know?
Cats and dogs can be fixed as soon as they turn 4 months of age. Studies show that spaying a pet before her first heat cycle will reduce the chances of mammary cancer later in life.
When purchasing a pet from a breeder you may be required to sign a contract or agreement about the care of your pet. One popular clause in many contracts requires owners to spay or neuter to prevent breeding.
Rabbits who are housed with others should also be spayed or neutered. Rabbits are the third most common pet relinquished to shelters after dogs and cats.
Spaying and neutering (also referred to as "sterilizing" or "fixing") is done under anesthesia. Spaying involves removing the female's reproductive organs. Neutering is the removal of a male's testicles. This way, animals are unable to procreate and have unwanted litters.
The procedure to spay or neuter is quite simple. Some pets (depending on age, breed, and current health concerns) will go home the same day as their procedure, while some might have to spend the night at the vet hospital where we can keep a watchful eye on your pet and restrict their activity.
A few pets may experience discomfort for a few days, but many pets go back to being their happy, playful selves in a few days. If there is a chance your pet will have pain or discomfort, we will certainly address those chances with medication.
While some pet owners feel they have a duty to breed their pet because they are purebred, this is not the case. An estimated 25% of all animals turned over to shelters and rescues are purebred animals. Many animal rescues dedicate themselves to rescuing one specific breed because of the number of purebred animals needing homes.
Other pet owners worry about their pet's health after having them fixed. Old wives tales exist about pets gaining weight after being fixed, or them not being as affectionate. Neither of these beliefs is true. Pets do not gain weight because they are fixed. Pets gain weight because of diet and lack of exercise. Pets that are spayed or neutered are just as affectionate after being fixed, as they were before.
In fact, some pets (such as female cats) in heat will stop being affectionate during heat cycles. Being in heat can lead your female pet to cry for no apparent reason and shy away from being petted or played with. Females who are not spayed may also show signs of nervousness and can attract males who are not neutered and can make a litter.
The benefits of spaying and neutering:
- Decreases the chances of your pet roaming the neighborhood
- In males, there is no chance for testicular cancer
- In females, there is no chance for ovarian cancer
- Other reproductive related cancers (such as mammary cancer) is greatly reduced
- Your pet will not experience "heat" or "ovulation" periods
- Spayed and neutered animals live longer, healthier lives
- Cities and towns spend millions of dollars each year caring for, and unfortunately euthanizing animals who are homeless
While spaying or neutering your pet is a big decision, take into consideration your pet's health, the overpopulation of pets currently, and what you would do with an unwanted litter of puppies or kittens. If you are still unsure about spaying or neutering, contact us to discuss the topic further.