Spaying and Neutering Health Benefits for Your Pet
As Bob Barker famously said, ‘Help control the pet population, have your pet spayed or neutered”. However, spaying and neutering are about a lot more than just controlling overpopulation and overcrowded shelters! There are also significant medical advantages to spaying and neutering your pet. In fact, it’s likely your pet will have a longer and happier life if they are spayed or neutered, particularly at a young age. In this article, I’ll discuss the benefits of spaying and neutering.
Male intact dogs are prone to behavior problems including increased roaming, marking, and aggression. Did you know that intact male dogs are more than twice as likely as neutered dogs to be hit by a car? In addition, male dogs are less likely to develop perineal hernias, and have a greatly decreased risk of perianal adenomas (tumors near the anus).
Male intact dogs also have an increased risk of behavioral problems. Neutering an adult dog with existing behavioral problems is not a “magic solution,” but it might help. Unfortunately, in those cases where habitual behaviors have already been ingrained and reinforced, additional treatment, including behavioral modification and medication may be necessary. However, neutering a dog at a young age may help decrease the incidence of behavioral related problems, including aggression.
Neutering a male dog may help prevent prostate problems including BPH or benign prostatic hypertrophy. Most importantly, neutering at a young age is 100% preventive for testicular cancer. Neutering male cats carry additional benefits, as they are less likely to spray or mark outside of the litter-box, and may also have decreased urine odor.
Female dogs and cats have even more reason to be “fixed,” as spaying female dogs carry additional benefits. Spayed female dogs and cats will eliminate their risk of developing a disease called pyometra, an infection in a dog or cat’s uterus. This condition is life-threatening, and surgery is almost always required to treat. Pyometras are emergencies, and surgery should be performed as soon as possible. One saying in veterinary medicine is, “Never let the sunset on a pyometra”. Of course, emergency surgeries have higher costs to the hospital and, as a result, to the client as well. Spaying your dog will eliminate this risk, and the associated pain and discomfort this condition causes your pet.
Female dogs and cats that are spayed at a young age have a greatly decreased risk of mammary (breast) cancer. Approximately 50% of mammary tumors in dogs are cancerous; in cats, the number is closer to 90%. Unfortunately, mammary tumors are common in older female intact dogs and cats. Spaying your cat or dog at a young age will greatly reduce this risk, and it is recommended that your pet is spayed before her first heat cycle, in order to minimize her chances of developing cancer.
Health Benefits of Spaying and Neutering Your Pet
As you can see, there are numerous advantages to spaying and neutering your pets, especially at a young age. To learn more about these benefits and to schedule an examination to evaluate your dog or cat for surgery, please call to speak to one of our Doctors at our Veterinary Hospital. Spaying and neutering your pet can help them leave longer, happier, healthier lives.
Jeffrey Stupine VMD
World of Animals Veterinary Hospitals