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Spaying and Neutering

Spaying and neutering are two of the most common surgeries for cats and dogs, and yet many pet owners know very little about the procedures. You may be surprised to find that there are some other considerations in the decision to spay or neuter your pet beyond the desire to prevent reproduction.

While both procedures are commonly performed at veterinary hospitals across the country, spaying and neutering are still major surgeries that require special care.

After watching the video and reviewing the following information, please feel free to reach out to your local veterinarian with any and all questions you may have.

What Is Neutering?

Neutering refers to spaying, or ovariohysterectomy in females, and castration in males. With a spay, the ovaries, fallopian tubes and uterus are surgically removed. In males, the testicles are surgically removed during castration.

What Are the Benefits of Spaying My Dog and Cat?

Aside from preventing unwanted pregnancies in your female dog or cat, spaying your pet before the first heat cycle can also reduce or eliminate other associated health risks, including:

  • Mammary, uterine or ovarian cancer
  • Uterine infections
  • Problems associated with the birthing process

Further, research indicates that spaying female dogs may increase their lifespan by 9 to 18 months, likely by preventing many of these life-threatening conditions.

What Are the Benefits of Castrating My Dog or Cat?

In addition to removing the risk of unwanted reproduction and overpopulation, castrating your male dog or cat can also reduce or eliminate a number of associated health risks, including:

  • Testicular cancers
  • Risk of perianal tumors
  • Prostatic diseases such as inflammation, infection, cysts, or enlargement of the prostate gland

Neutering male and female dogs greatly reduces the risk of sexually transmitted diseases, such as brucellosis and transmissible venereal tumors.

When Should I Have My Dog and Cat Spayed or Neutered?

For female pets, we recommend spaying before the first heat cycle. Similarly for male pets, we recommend castration before a pet reaches sexual maturity. In cats, this may occur as early as 4 months of age, and between 4 to 6 months of age in dogs. When neutering is performed younger ages it may decrease surgical and recovery time and potentially reduce surgical complications.

What Are the Risks Associated with Neutering?

Although rare, a reaction to pre-anesthetic medication or general anesthesia could occur. If your pet has experienced any allergic reactions or complications, please be sure to let your veterinarian know before the procedure to identify any potential risks.

Neutering dogs and cats may result in alterations to their metabolism so that they require fewer calories per day to maintain an ideal body weight. Please consult your veterinarian if you have any concerns about providing appropriate nutrition to your pet. Additionally, female dogs may be at increased risk of developing hormone-responsive urinary incontinence later in life.

Need More Information?

For kittens and puppies enrolled before 6 months of age, the Early Care Plus Optimum Wellness Plans include a spay or neuter procedure. Owners with dogs or cats over 6 months of age also have the option of adding an adult spay or neuter surgery when they purchase an Optimum Wellness Plan.

Learn more about how you can give your pet lifelong preventive health care by contacting your local veterinarian, choosing a personalized Optimum Wellness Plan today, or check out some of the related content links below: