Being a pet owner comes with a lot of different responsibilities. One of the first decisions that you will have to make on behalf of your pet is whether to get them spayed/neutered. Since they are elective surgeries, some pet owners mistakenly think that they are unnecessary and don’t want to put their pet through the procedure, not realizing that in fact, the benefits of the surgeries far outweigh the risks involved and the short period it will take your animal to recover.
Spaying is the term used to describe the removal of the ovaries and uterus in female animals, while neutering is used to describe the removal of the testicles and spermatic cord in males. Spaying can typically be carried out from as early as 4 months of age and many veterinarians believe that the earlier the procedures are carried out, the greater the benefits associated with the process are.
Some of the reasons why it is important to spay your female pet’s include the following:
Spaying eliminates the risk of your pet developing ovarian and uterine cancers, both of which can require intensive treatment or surgery, and which can prove fatal if not detected and treated early on.
Spaying dramatically reduces your female’s risk of developing breast cancer and the sooner this is done, the greater the benefits are. If spayed before their first heat cycle, your female will have less than a 1% chance of developing breast cancer. If spayed after a single heat cycle, their risk increases to 8% and after 2 heat cycles, their risk increases to 26%. After two heat cycles, there is no proven protective benefit of spaying to prevent breast cancer.
Females with diabetes or epilepsy should be spayed to prevent hormonal changes that could interfere with their medication.
Spaying will prevent your female from becoming pregnant and having babies. This will ensure that there are no unnecessary health risks to your pet, will save you considerable costs involved in raising baby animals, and will eliminate the need to try and find them all sincere permanent homes when they are old enough to leave their mother.
There are also many reasons why it is important to neuter your male pet. These include:
It eliminates the risk of testicular cancer, which is the second most common cancer seen in male dogs.
Neutering significantly reduces the risk of your pet’s developing prostate cancer.
It also reduces the risk of your male pet’s developing perianal tumors.
If you neuter your male pet before they reach 6 months of age, it will eliminate or considerably reduce incidences of spraying and marking.
Neutering has been shown to reduce aggression, roaming and fighting with other males.
Your male pets will be less likely to badger and harass any females that they come into contact with.
In addition to the health benefits listed above, getting your pet spayed/neutered also plays a crucial role in the fight against pet overpopulation. Puppies, kittens and other baby animals are much more desirable than older pets and this means that many older animals are abandoned in favor of younger alternatives. Other animals are given up because the owners have got bored with them or a change in their circumstances means that they are no longer able to give them the care that they need. Sadly, more than 4 million animals are euthanized in the United States every year because there just aren’t the resources available to care for them. By spaying/neutering your pet and preventing them from reproducing, you can play a small part in preventing further overpopulation problems.
If you would like to find out more about spaying/neutering, or if you would like to schedule an appointment for your pet to have this procedure, please contact our veterinary team today at (573) 245-1027.