Spaying or Neutering Your Pet

Over 13 million pets are euthanized in animal shelters each year for lack of homes. That is why it is important to make sure that your pets are not contributing to this serious over-population problem. If you keep your pet confined, neutering/spaying may seem unnecessary. Just the opposite is true. There are many health advantages for the pet through neutering and spaying. Spaying or castrating your young, healthy pet will reduce certain infections, cancers and possible behavioural issues that could occur in later life.

The technical term for Spay is an Ovariohysterectomy. It is an abdominal surgery involving the removal of both ovaries and the uterus. Since everything is removed, your pet will no longer “come into heat.” A healthy pet can be anesthetized for the 30-minute operation with minimal risk. This surgery is best performed prior to your pet’s first heat cycle. Early spaying will substantially reduce the chance of mammary tumours, the most common cancer of the older, unspayed female. Cystic ovaries, false pregnancies, hormonal disorders, and uterine infections also plague these same pets. Studies have shown that dogs left intact are more likely to develop behavioural issues. They are more inclined to bite and attack then a spayed or neutered dog. 90% of all dog attacks were dogs that were intact. Studies have proven that dogs who are spayed and neutered are easier to train.

It will be less costly to spay or neuter your dog at the proper age, than not spay and neuter. They could develop cancer or some other health issue that will be life-threatening and very expensive to treat. The optimal age for spaying and neutering is 6 months.

Results/Treatments of Spaying:

  • Pregnancy is impossible.
  • Treatment and prevention of severely infected uterus (Pyometra).
  • No more annoying “heat” cycles.
  • Treatment and prevention of ovarian tumours or cysts
  • Treatment of some forms of skin disease
  • The chance for mammary cancer is significantly reduced.
  • Studies show if your dog has at least 1 heat cycle, then your pet will have a 50% chance of developing mammary gland cancer! Please spay before your dog goes into heat
  • Less likely to develop behavioural issues or to become aggressive.

The technical term for Neuter is castration. An incision is made on or near the scrotum, and the testicles are removed. This is more than a vasectomy, although still considered minor surgery. The anesthetic risk for a young, healthy pet is minimal. If the operation is done before the pet reaches sexual maturity certain undesirable sexual behaviour traits may be avoided (scent marking, spraying, fighting, etc.). Prostate gland infections or cancer and testicular tumours are essentially prevented through castration. Roaming behaviour (to establish a territory or find a mate) is significantly reduced. Less testosterone, less trouble!

Written by: Torbay Road Animal Hospital