What is spaying and neutering?
Spaying is an operation performed on female animals to prevent pregnancy. Neutering is performed on males to prevent them from impregnating a female. The most widely used method of spaying your pet is called ovariohysterectomy. In this procedure the ovaries and uterus are removed. The vet then stitches the two inner layers, and these stitches will dissolve. The outer layer is stitched, and these should be removed in a follow up visit, usually in 10 days. The most widely used method of neutering is called orchiectomy. In this procedure the spermatic cords are tied, the testicles are removed, and if stitches are used, they will have to be removed in a follow up visit. Once your pet has been spayed or neutered, keep them inside, or on a leash. Try to keep them from licking the incision, or puling at the stitches. Check the area for redness, swelling, discharge or loose stitches. if you find any of these, call your vet.
Why should I spay or neuter my pet?
Three simple reasons for spaying or neutering.
1. Most of us pay taxes, and this millions of dollars of this tax money is spent to care for the unwanted pets created by dogs and cats creating unwanted pets. 20 million dogs and cats are euthanized every year. The amount of animals brought in during the heavy kitten and puppy seasons are more than anyone could ever care for or adopt. As a result a majority of the animals are euthanized. You may have a home for your 6 puppies, or kittens, but those homes could have adopted another pet who was euthanized instead.
2. The health of your pet will be better if you spay or neuter them. A spayed or neutered pet is more likely to wander less, and runs less risk of being hit by a car, or being attacked by wildlife.
3. Annoyance. If you've ever had a female cat in heat, you know all about the screaming, howling and otherwise carrying on that continues all through the day and into the night. If you've ever had an intact male spray his scent to notify females he's around on your new couch, walls, and desk, you know this is NOT amusing. Remember, you cannot blame them for acting on a natural thing.
What will this change about my pet?
Spaying eliminates the females heat cycle (or estrus). Dogs go into heat about every 6 months, and it lasts for about 21 days. Cats can go into heat 3 or more times a year, and it lasts anywhere from 3-15 days. This eliminates the whining, and crying at all hours of the day and night that females do when in heat. It also keeps your pet cleaner because it eliminates the blood lost by the female pet. It eliminates the group of howling males banging down your doors when she's in heat. The males can smell a female in heat almost up to a mile away, even if she's indoors because she urinates outdoors, leaving her scent for the males.
Neutering eliminates the mating drive which causes the males to run off and possibly injured or killed. The change is not immediate with the operation as the hormones are still in the system, but they will pass with time. It will reduce sexual related mounting of furniture, and other objects, not to mention legs. Dominance mounting can still occur, but that's a separate issue. Neutering will most likely eliminate spraying or marking done by males, but if the habit is established it may not.
What health problems will be avoided by spaying or neutering?
Spaying will reduce the risk of breast cancer. Almost 50% of unspayed dogs develop breast tumors. The chances of a spayed female dog getting breast cancer is greatly reduced. Cats are less likely to have breast tumors, but if they do have them they are almost always malignant. Spaying almost eliminates this risk. Uterine disease is no longer a problem after spaying. Pyometra, (an infection that can be fatal) and uterine cancer are no longer a risk. Ovarian systs that can be sometimes very painful are no longer even a consideration after spaying.
Neutering significantly lowers the risk of prostate cancer in male dogs. Almost 60% of intact males suffer from prostate cancer, why not make the odds a little better? Neutering eliminates the risk of testicular tumors as well.
Spaying and neutering also prolongs a pets life. Almost by twice the life span in cats, and a significant number of years for dogs.
Spaying and neutering myths
It cost too much. It will cost you a lot more to care for the puppies created by the dog! It will also cost less than the vet bills incurred from your male running after the female in heat up the road, and getting injured by car. There are programs for assistance for those who cannot afford to get the procedure done. Call your local vets to find out who participates.
My children should see the miracle of birth. Well, I'd advise you to rent a tape at your video store. Almost all mothers hide when they give birth to their puppies or kittens. So they won't actually see it, and when something goes wrong, will you have the monetary resources to pay for the emergency vet visit and treatment to save the mother and puppies lives?
She needs to have at least one litter. Does a woman need to have at least one child? Having a litter does not in any way improve or change a pet's disposition. It will however drain her body of nutrients, make her thin, can weaken her bones, and teeth.
If I neuter him he won't be as protective. He'll actually be more effective at protection since he won't have the desire to wander. His instinct to protect will be unaffected.
They'll get fat and lazy. Not so. They need exercise just like they always did, but spaying them actually changes nothing as far as weight gain.
Only females need to be fixed, it's not my responsibility. As we all know it takes two to tango. The female may end up with the litter, but it's just as much his doing as hers. In the media we hear all about family values, this applies to responsibility for all life, not just humans. Not to mention if he impregnates the "wrong" female, her owner has grounds to sue.