Today's Pawbly question..
Many new pet parents wonder about spaying and neutering. It is one of the most common questions I am asked at a new puppy and kitten examination.
At every new puppy/kitten exam I discuss the timeline for care of their new addition.
In general puppies and kittens visit the veterinarian every three weeks between 8 and 16 weeks. At six months old we recommend spaying and neutering.
Here are some of the reasons why we recommend spaying and neutering.
In case you aren’t familiar with the terms, spay a female, neuter a male.
Spaying is removal of the female reproductive organs. This is usually the removal of the uterus and ovaries via an abdominal incision.
Spaying a female before their first heat cycle will significantly reduce their chances of ever having mammary (breast) cancer. (It is reduced to almost zero). Mammary tumors affect both dogs and cats but is often aggressive and life-threatening in cats. If you ever feel bumps or abnormal tissue around your pets nipples please see a veterinarian.
Spaying will help your pet live longer.
Spaying will help your cat be a better pet. An unspayed cat will go into heat, usually for 4-5 days about every three weeks, during breeding season. When they do they often call loudly, usually at all hours of the day and night, and act erratically. Some will even spray urine to attract a male. This is very annoying and drives some pet parents a little crazy.
Spaying your pet will help prevent pet over population. There are millions of unwanted pets who cannot find a home. By spaying your pet you will be helping prevent another unwanted pet from being the victim of a society that euthanizes unwanted or un-owned pets.
Your pet does not benefit from having a litter, neither does allowing your pet to have a litter help your family understand responsibility or biology. A pet that is allowed to have a litter is allowing a nation of over populated pets to be burdened further. Teaching responsibility starts with teaching to be kind and compassionate. Do you know where those babies will go? Can you afford to care for all of them in case you cannot find a forever loving home for them?
Not spaying your pet can lead to the additional expenses. This includes veterinary care, vaccinations, de-worming and spaying and neutering if you cannot find them a home.
Neutering is the removal of the testes from the scrotum.
Neutering removes the chance of testicular cancer and significantly reduces the chance of prostate problems in dogs.
Neutering also reduces the roaming of your dog. They will not be driven to stray to find a mate and it will help keep your pet safely in your yard or home. Unfortunately, many dogs are involved in traffic accidents or hit by a car because they are driven to roam to find a female in heat.
Behavior issues may be curbed or avoided by neutering. Aggressiveness and marking with urine are more common in intact males. If you wanted a pet to be your companion then it is in both your and their best interest to spay and neuter.
An unneutered cat will often mark or spray your home and your belongings. The urine is very strong smelling and can be difficult to remove. Neutering your cat before 7 months old will help prevent this behavior from being displayed. If your cat starts to spray see your veterinarian and have him neutered as soon as possible to try to stop this.
Spaying and neutering requires veterinary assistance. There are affordable, low cost spay and neuter clinics available in almost all cities in the U.S. The anesthetics and procedure are routine and very safe. Anesthesia has inherent risk but there are many ways to diminish the risks to your pet. Ask your veterinarian for information and recommendations about these surgeries.
If you decided a pet was something you wanted to share your life with then you decided to have a pet for the love and happiness they bring. By spaying and neutering you are helping to prevent disease, provide a safer home, save other pets from pet overpopulation and provide for a happier longer life with your pet.