Thousands of unwanted companion animals are euthanized every year, which is a direct result of pet overpopulation. Spaying & neutering our own companion animals will help get a handle on this epidemic, as well as providing a great many other benefits to their health.
1) Healthier Females
Spaying (the removal of the ovaries and uterus) is a veterinary procedure performed under general anesthesia that usually requires minimal hospitalization. Spaying a female cat or dog helps prevent pyometra (pus-filled uterus.) Treatment of pyometra requires hospitalization, intravenous fluids, and antibiotics. It also prevents breast cancer, which can be a result of malignant mammary tumors. More than 25% of unspayed female animals can develop mammary tumors in their lifetime. Mammary tumors can become malignant in about 50% of female dogs and 85% of female cats. Spaying your pet BEFORE her first heat offers the best protection from these diseases. There is no benefit to waiting until after her first heat: this is a myth.
Some articles and even some veterinarians have begun to suggest that early spay/neuter can adversely affect large dogs' orthopedic growth. While this can sometimes be true for male dogs, the benefits far outweigh the risks, particularly for females. The VHS still advocates for spay/neuter surgery as young as possible. Read more on this research here.
2) Healthier Males
Besides preventing unwanted litters, neutering your male dog or cat (surgically removing the testicles) prevents testicular cancer and other illnesses common in unneutered males.
Some recent articles and even some veterinarians have begun to suggest that early spay/neuter can adversely affect large male dogs' orthopedic growth. While this can sometimes be true, the benefits far outweigh the risks, and the VHS still advocates for spay/neuter surgery as young as possible. Read more on this research here.
3) Better Behavior
Neutered dogs, cats, and rabbits can focus their attention on their human families. On the other hand, unaltered pets may mark their territory by spraying strong-smelling urine all over the house. (Yes – females can spray, too!) Male dogs may embarrass you by mounting furniture or human legs when stimulated. Aggression problems can be avoided by early neutering, although neutered dogs protect their homes and families just as well as unneutered dogs.
4) Avoiding the Heat
While cycles can vary greatly, female felines generally go into heat for 4-5 days every 3 weeks during breeding season. In an effort to advertise for mates, they will yowl and urinate more frequently – sometimes all over the house. Unspayed female dogs generally have bloody discharge for about a week (also all over the house!) and can conceive for another week or so.
5) Less Risk of Roaming
An intact male in search of a mate will do just about anything to get one! That includes digging his way under the fence and making like Houdini to escape from the house. And once he’s free to roam, he risks injury from traffic and fights with other males. Males can pick up an intact female’s scent up to a mile away.
6) Highly Cost-Effective For You!
The cost of your pet’s spay/neuter surgery is a lot less than the cost of caring for a litter. It also beats the cost of treatment when your unneutered male escapes and gets into fights with neighborhood strays… or the cost of reclaiming your lost pet from the shelter... or the cost of cleaning the carpet that your unspayed female keeps mistaking for her litterbox… or the cost of… well, you get the idea!
7) Better for the Community
Stray animals pose real problems in many parts of the country. They can prey on wildlife, cause vehicle accidents, damage the local fauna, scare children, and/or injure other pets. Spaying & neutering is the solution to the problem, short-term and long-term!
8) The Miracle of Responsibility
We have heard many people say that they don’t want their pet to be spayed or neutered because their children will miss the miracle of birth. But you know what? Letting your pet produce offspring you have no intention of keeping teaches your children irresponsibility. Anyone who has seen an animal euthanized in a shelter for lack of space knows the truth behind this dangerous idea. There are countless books and videos available to teach your children about birth in a responsible manner, without sacrificing lives to do so. You can also foster a litter from the VHS! This is the perfect lesson in responsibility and compassion for your kiddos, and it's fun, too.
9) It will NOT make your pet fat!
Lack of exercise and overfeeding will cause your pet to pack on the pounds, not neutering. Your pet will remain fit & trim as long as you continue to provide exercise and monitor food intake.
10) Fighting Pet Overpopulation
And last, but certainly not least, hundreds of thousands of cats and dogs (and sometimes rabbits, too!) are euthanized annually for no other reason than lack of space and resources. Or, these animals suffer on the streets as strays instead. These high numbers are the result of unwanted, unplanned litters that could have been prevented by spaying or neutering.
The Vanderburgh Humane Society Davidson Rausch Low-Cost Spay & Neuter Clinic adheres to the standards for the Spay/Neuter Medical Care Guidelines developed in 2008, and updated in 2016, by the Association of Shelter Veterinarians’ Veterinary Task Force to Advance Spay/Neuter.
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