Welcome to Dr. Michelle’s Corner. This month, Dr. Michelle Rudd of Crofton Veterinary Center discusses reasons to spay and neuter your pet.
February has two big events for our companion animals (no, not Valentine’s Day!) which I will discuss in two separate posts. February is Spay and Neuter month and also National Dental health month! In this first post, I will discuss the importance of spaying and neutering our feline and canine companions. Whether you have recently gotten a pet or are considering it, spaying and neutering is one of the most important health decisions you will make.
Spaying is a surgical procedure performed on female cats and dogs to remove the ovaries and uterus while neutering, or castration, surgically removes the testicles of male cats and dogs. There are many health benefits for your cat and dog companions when spayed or neutered in addition to helping prevent unwanted behavioral problems. Unspayed animals can develop an infected uterus which is life threatening and requires expensive surgery to treat. Unspayed cats and dogs that go through heat cycles are also at an increased risk of developing mammary cancer which can be fatal in 50% of dogs and 90% of cats. Females in heat can also be loud and will sometimes urinate in their houses as a form of marking behavior.
Unneutered (intact) male dogs are at an increased risk of testicular cancer. Prostatic infections and abscess are also more common in intact male dogs which often require long courses of expensive antibiotics to treat. As an intact dog ages, non cancerous growth of the prostate develops which often results in painful urination and defecation and often times inappropriate urination. Intact animals, especially males, will often be at risk of roaming. Many will do anything to look for females and this puts them at risk of being hit by cars and being picked up and placed in shelters. Many unwanted aggressive behaviors can be prevented with neutering.
Preventing pet overpopulation is also one of the most important reasons to spay and neuter our companion animals. Each year millions of animals are euthanized due to overcrowding in shelters and not enough homes. Those that don’t end up in shelters suffer as strays facing disease and starvation. Preventing unwanted litters by spaying and neutering can help lower the number of animals that end up euthanized in shelters each year.
There are many benefits to having a companion animal that is spayed or neutered. Please talk with your veterinarian about getting your pet spayed or neutered today! See more information at aspca.org top 10 reasons to spay or neuter your pet. Stay tuned for my next post where I will discuss the importance of good dental health for our cats and dogs.
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