Benefits of Spaying or Neutering Your Pet
For Spay and Neuter Awareness Month, your team at South Seminole Animal Hospital is excited to share with you all of the reasons we think these surgeries are so important. We want our pet parents to understand why it is such a vital part of proper wellness care.
Stop Pet Overpopulation
Each year millions of cats and dogs become homeless in the United States, struggling to survive or are euthanized. Every stray cat and abandoned dog came from animals that were not spayed or neutered.
As a responsible pet owner, spaying or neutering your pet helps prevent unwanted litters and gives each animal a better chance at a good home.
Some people avoid spaying or neutering because they think that they might want to breed their pets. Breeding animals is not a decision to be taken lightly and a lot of thought and research should go into doing so. In most situations, pets should be spayed or neutered.
Health Benefits of Spaying and Neutering
There are several important health benefits that come along with spaying or neutering your pet.
Spaying or neutering your dog or cat:
- Reduces risk of Pyometra: When a female dog or cat is not spayed, repeated heat cycles leave her at high risk of developing an internal infection. Pyometra is a serious and life-threatening infection of the uterus. Spaying female cats and dogs surgically removes the uterus and ovaries, eliminating this risk.
- Lowers the risk of mammary cancer: Just as in humans, hormones can play a big part in the development of certain cancers like breast cancer. Spaying your pet before her first heat cycle almost entirely prevents mammary cancer later in life.
- Prevents testicular cancer in dogs and cats: The testicles are removed during a neuter procedure, eliminating the possibility of developing testicular cancer. Intact males are also more prone to developing other types of tumors.
- Decreases prostate problems: The influence of testosterone can increase the risk of some prostate problems, in particular benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). This can lead to difficulty urinating and/or defecating.
- Lower the odds of an accident: Hormones are a powerful thing. Pets who are reproductively intact are more likely to become injured or lost while looking for love.
Behavioral Benefits of Spaying and Neutering
There are definitely some behavioral benefits that go along with spay/neuter surgery. Behavior problems are the top reason that pets are surrendered, so this is not to be taken lightly.
The influence of hormones can lead to undesirable behaviors including:
- Urine marking
- Increased aggression
- Estrus behaviors such as frequent urination and vocalization in cats
- Decreased engagement with humans
- Mounting and/or masturbation behaviors
- Escape attempts
Spaying or neutering a pet doesn’t change their personality. However, removing sexual organs does reduce instincts to procreate and the associate behaviors to attract or find a mate(s).
Plan for the Future
Spaying or neutering as recommended by your veterinarian may prevent future life threatening diseases.
The benefits of spaying or neutering your dog or cat are numerous, and our veterinarians will give clear recommendations as to when your pet should undergo the surgery. Generally speaking, this ranges from six months to 12 months depending on the breed of animal and sex, along with any specific health concerns the individual patient may have.