The Importance of Spaying and Neutering Your Pet


Not everyone realizes the benefits of having their pet spayed or neutered. There are social, economical, and medical reasons people should consider when deciding if they should breed their animal. I would encourage you to visit your local humane society and see why it makes sense to spay or neuter your dog or cat. Each year approximately 20-25 million animals enter the shelters and only about 15 million are adopted. This means there are about 10 million unwanted pets put to sleep each year because a suitable home could not be found for them.


Besides preventing unwanted litters, there are several medical benefits to spaying and neutering. Decreasing the chances of urogenital diseases should be the main reason to have your pet spayed or neutered. In females, the incidence of mammary gland cancer is significantly reduced. Also, there is a drastic decrease in the number of uterine infections. Most female dogs will come into heat every six months. The heat cycle consists of an approximate 21 day bleeding period in which they are only fertile during the middle week of the cycle. During most of the cycle unwanted male animals will begin to congregate where your animal resides. Spaying is an excellent way to prevent such unwanted nuisances. Neutering male pets reduces the incidence of prostatic and testicular tumors. Any crypt orchid (retained testicle) male should be neutered. This is a hereditary trait that often leads to the retained testicle becoming cancerous. Neutering in male animals may decrease the desire to roam, as well as decrease aggression and/or fighting, and possibly prevent urine spraying. Castration to decrease aggression is recommended in any household where small children are present. Also, male intact cats are the greatest risk group for contracting such fatal diseases as Feline Leukemia Virus and/or Feline Immunodeficiency Virus. Neutering male cats also decreases the incidence of urinary tract stones and infections.


The risks associated with either of these operations are minimal, especially with improvements in anesthesia and other areas of surgery. However, there are increased risks associated with the age and presence of other underlying disease processes. Pre-anesthetic blood work can be performed before the surgery to reveal any underlying problems that may not be apparent to the owner or the veterinarian. I recommend having your pet spayed or neutered early, before such problems develop. The optimal age for surgery, for both canines and felines, is six to nine months.


Of course, some animals should be bred, but this should be done by professional breeders raising quality purebred animals. Even with purebreds, only the top of the line from each breed should be mated so that good quality animals are reproduced. Breeding less valuable animals perpetuates congenital defects and abnormalities. This simply adds to the problem of increasing the numbers of unwanted animals.


For more information about spaying or neutering your pet, please consult us at Animal Kare Center of Paducah.