Spaying and Neutering: Why Not?

Why is it so important to have your pet spayed or neutered? There are numerous medical reasons why it’s so important to act fast and have them fixed early, whether it be for specific medical problems that may arise, or behavioural issues that become habits as the pet ages. Let’s go over some reasons why you should seriously consider this procedure for your furry friends.

During a spay, your pet is put under general anesthesia so that we can remove the uterus and ovaries. In doing so we eliminate many issues that would otherwise be a risk to your pet.

  • By spaying your pet you remove the risk of them developing life-threatening cancers of the ovaries and uterus.
  • A female who is spayed before her first heat has less than 1% chance of getting mammary cancer in the future. However, if we wait until her second heat cycle the risk increases to 8%. It is even more important to spay your kitties early, as 85% of all mammary tumors are extremely malignant.
  • We can prevent unwanted and accidental pregnancies. How old can my dog get pregnant? Well, it usually varies by breed, but as soon as your pet has her first heat cycle, she’s able to become pregnant. Sometimes as soon as 6 months of age! And in cats, it can be even younger!
  • Your pet will give you lots of signs that she’s begun her heat cycle. Let’s go over some of the behaviors your dog or cat will show. Dogs will often lick their “behind” more often and you may notice some red-tinged discharge. Furthermore, they may also howl and become restless. Cats will often meow excessively and look for more affection than usual.
  • We also spay our pets to avoid the possibility of them developing what is known as a pyometra, an often fatal condition if not caught early. This condition is a buildup of infection in the uterus, caused by a hormone imbalance. As the infection worsens, the uterus becomes engorged with this infection and can rupture in the pet’s belly and cause a systemic infection if not treated immediately!

There are also tons of benefits to neutering your furry friends. Let’s go over some of the problems older intact animals may face.

  • By removing the testicles at a younger age, we are reducing the overall amount of testosterone. By doing this, we can help diminish a number of unwanted behaviours in your dog such as dominance, mounting, etc. If these behaviours are noticed later on in life, having the animal fixed won’t necessarily “cure” them of these issues as they have now become habits.

Note: the adrenal glands also produce testosterone, so don’t worry about your pet being any less of a ‘man’!

  • Neutering early also helps to prevent a variety of conditions of the prostate and completely eliminates the risk for testicular cancer.
  • Intact males, both cat, and dog will often mark their territory with, you guessed it, urine! And we all know just how pleasant getting pee out of the couch and carpets can be, don’t we?

There’s a myth that pets that are fixed will automatically be predisposed to obesity. By removing some major sources of hormones (ovaries or testicles) it’s true that your pet’s metabolism may slow down, but by feeding an appropriate amount of food and with regular activity, your dog or cat will stay fit and lean.

So if you have any more questions about this common procedure, feel free to give us a call and one of our team members would be more than happy to explain everything in detail, one on one!

Written by Janelle Boudreau, RVT