Whether you have a dog or a cat, you’ll need to decide if and when to get your pet spayed or neutered so they will not be able to reproduce. In female pets, spaying is an operation that removes the uterus and ovaries. In male pets, neutering is a surgical process that removes the testicles. Although spaying and neutering carry some risks—as does any type of surgery, the benefits the procedures give outweigh the potential costs.
- Spaying and neutering helps control the animal population. You certainly love your pet, but if your dog or cat becomes pregnant, are you willing to be responsible for a litter of puppies or kittens? That’s a huge task for most people to take on and sadly, many of those animals end up in a shelter, where too often they are euthanized. Ensuring that your pet does not accidentally become pregnant or impregnate another helps decrease the problem of homeless pets in shelters.
- Spaying and neutering decreases unwanted behavior. When a female dog or cat is “in heat,” that is, during a hormone cycle when your pet has the natural urge to find a mate, your pet may forget her training and exhibit undesirable behavior. Your dog may run into the street after a male dog or pull at her leash to chase down a potential mate. Your cat may cry persistently and rub or roll on the floor. Male cats will be attracted to her scent. Unneutered male cats become territorial and mark these areas by spraying urine. A male dog or cat that has not been neutered may be aggressive and tend to roam in search of a mate, often getting into fights. By removing the sex organs, these problems are diminished.
- Spaying and neutering reduces risks of diseases. Removing the ovaries and uterus in dogs and cats eliminates the risk of ovarian, uterine and breast cancer. Neutering in dogs decreases the occurrence of benign hyperplasia (enlarged prostate) and prostatitis (inflammation of prostate), perianal adenoma (a tumor near the anus, tail or groin), and reduces the risk of testicular cancer—the second most common cancer in non-neutered, or intact dogs.
- Spayed and neutered pets live longer and healthier. A study shows that dogs that are not neutered are twice as likely to be hit by a car or bitten by another animal. Unneutered cats are four times as likely to be hit by a car and three times more likely to be brought to the vet because of an animal bite. This is due to increased urge to roam, mark territory and be aggressive—a result of the sex hormones.
For pet lovers, spaying or neutering your dog or cat is not only the responsible thing to do, it is also a caring thing to do. Need information on spaying or neutering your pet? Call us at Dogwood Vet Hospital at 919-942-6330 in Chapel Hill, NC and around the Pittsboro, Carrboro and Hillsborough areas.