Veterinary Health: Importance of Spaying & Neutering

4 Reasons Why it’s Essential to Spay or Neuter Your Pets

spaying and neutering your cat

One of the main responsibilities of good pet care, is the decision to spay or neuter your pet. There’s a number of reasons for doing this; helping to reduce the number of homeless pets, to maintain the health of your pet, and for behavioral reasons, are just some of the benefits. Read on, to learn more.

What is spaying and neutering?

Simply put, this is the medical procedure for removing the reproductive organs of animals, so that they can no longer breed. This typically applies to domestic cats and dogs that are owned as pets, and not for breeding.

In females, this is known as spaying, where her ovaries, Fallopian tube and uterus are removed. In male animals, this is known as neutering, where the testes are removed.

In other, less common cases; cats and dogs can undertake a vasectomy, hysterectomy or ovariectomy.

Non-surgical alternatives

While spaying and neutering is a popular and practical solution, some pet owners feel uncomfortable at the thought of surgery.

As an alternative, there is an approved product on the market that can be injected into dog’s testes to stop the production of sperm.

Benefits of Spaying and Neutering

Some of the noted benefits of spaying or neutering your pet are:

Pet population

It can reduce the number of homeless pets. Dogs can produce up to seven pups in a litter, while kittens typically have three to five kittens. These large numbers of litters contribute to the 6.5 million unwanted pets that end up in homeless shelters every year. Of these, 3.3 million are dogs and 3.2 million are cats.

Behavioral problems

It is believed that spaying and neutering your dog can help with certain behavioral problems. Females that have been spayed, for instance, no longer have a heat cycle and subsequent “breeding instinct-related behavior” according to AVMA.

Similar, in males, the removal of testes removes their reproductive ability and eliminates “male breeding behaviors”, such as aggression and urine marking.

Since sterilized dogs in particular are less likely to roam or fight, they are more prone to staying closer to home in safer surroundings.

Some owners express concern that it may change their pet’s personality. The only changes you can expect are from some of the instinctive breeding urges, which make your pet even more loving to be around.

Longer life

According to PETA, sterilized animals live longer, since it can eliminate certain health problems, including; uterine cancer and testicular cancer and it also greatly reduces the risk of mammary cancer and prostate cancer. According to the organization, they are also less likely to contract diseases such as AIDS and feline leukemia, which are spread through bodily fluids.

Care costs

The initial cost of spaying/neutering your pet aside, the associated health benefits may result in less long-term costs spent in health care. This should be a cost factored in when buying your pet, since it is typically done in their early life, and the responsibility will fall to you as a new owner.

Where to get my pet spayed and neutered?

Consult your local veterinarian, who will be able to provide a care plan and costs. There are also low-cost and free spay and neuter clinics available, which can be located by calling 1-800-248-SPAY.

For more information on the subject, please visit the ASPCA and American Humane Society.