Why should I spay or neuter my pet?
Spaying is the removal of the female reproductive organs (ovaries and uterus) while neutering is the removal of the male reproductive organs (testes). Unless you intend to breed your pet, we strongly recommend that spaying or neutering be performed.
Spaying and neutering (sterilization surgery) is the right thing to do for several reasons. Spaying eliminates the chance of unwanted pregnancy and also lowers your female pet’s health risk for serious uterus infections and breast cancer. Breast cancer is the most commonly reported cancer in female dogs. Intact (not spayed) female dogs are seven times as likely as spayed female dogs to develop breast cancer, and roughly 50% of all canine mammary cancer is malignant. Pyometra (uterine infection) affects up to 1 in 4 female dogs by age 10. This can become a serious, life-threatening condition requiring hospitalization and surgery.
As for males, neutering decreases the likelihood of urine marking behavior and lowers your pet’s health risk for certain prostate and testicular diseases. Both spaying and neutering, done at the appropriate age, can reduce aggressive behavior toward other pets and humans.
When should I spay or neuter my pet?
The appropriate age at which to have your pet spayed or neutered depends on several factors including overall health, breed of the pet, behavioral factors (early onset of spraying/house-soiling, aggression tendencies), and personal preference; for example, if you have a male and female pet you may choose to have them altered sooner rather than later to prevent unwanted pregnancy. For larger breeds of dogs, waiting to spay or neuter until closer to a year of age may help reduce the risk of certain cancers and orthopedic conditions.
At River City Veterinary Veterinary Care, our spay and neuter protocols are designed with the principle that safety and comfort for your pet are of foremost importance. For those reasons, we include pre-operative lab work prior to surgery, intravenous catheterization, pain medications before and after surgery, anesthetic monitoring, and pain-relief prescriptions for administration at home, as well as an Elizabethan collar.
If you have any additional questions about having your pet spayed or neutered, please ask one of our friendly staff!