Should you spay or neuter your pet? The decision to have your pet spayed or neutered is a personal one, but consider the benefits before you make the decision.
When I was young I never had a pet that was spayed or neutered. Growing up in rural South Georgia, I ashamedly never even realized it was an option, and I certainly didn’t realize there were benefits. Had I known that neutering could keep my male dogs from straying as much, two of my male dogs may have not been struck and killed by cars. But decreasing wandering is just one of the many benefits of spaying and neutering.
Before I discuss what spaying and neutering does accomplish, I would like to discuss what it doesn’t do. Neutering (or spaying) is not a “sex change” operation. A male dog will not become more feminine and a female will not become masculine. A dog’s personality is developed early in life and is not changed by spaying or neutering at the recommended 6+ months of age (depends on breed). Additionally, Spaying does not make your dog fat. The reason a pet gets fat is the same reason we do. Not enough exercise and too much food. Because dogs are more mature and less “crazy” than they were as puppies, they are not burning as many calories. Finally, spaying and neutering does not cause a dog to be less protective. This again is a natural instinct, some dogs are more territorial than others, but spaying and neutering will not affect that drive, while it may decrease other types of aggression in some dogs.
So what will it accomplish? All well conducted studies have determined that neutered or spayed animals live longer. On average they reach 9.4 years of age, compared to 7.9 years for those not spayed or neutered. If that is not reason enough to spay or neuter, consider this:
Female dogs that are spayed before the first heat cycle are 99.95% less likely to get mammary cancer, which is the second most common cancer in dogs, and often carries a poor prognosis. Each consecutive heat cycle increases the risk dramatically. This is why I never recommend allowing a patient to go into heat, unless the owner is intent upon breeding her. If so, I recommend breeding as early as possible and then spaying. Also, spayed females do not get uterine or ovarian cancer, since these structures are removed. A spayed female dogs is also much less likely to develop a pyometra. Pyometra is a potentially fatal infection of the uterus in which the uterus fills with fluid, and in severe cases may rupture. Finally, a spayed dog can’t reproduce. This prevents unwanted puppies, and arguments between neighbors, that haven’t read this blog, with male dogs.
Male dogs who are neutered also benefit from the procedure. A male dog that is neutered will wander less. Often a male dog will leave home because they since a female dog is in heat. This can help prevent dogs crossing roads and potentially being struck by vehicles. Most patients seen on emergency in our clinic are not spayed or neutered. It also prevents your dog from being on the neighbor’s most wanted list when their female becomes pregnant. Additional health benefits include a major decrease in the risk of prostate cancer and other prostatic diseases. Finally, it eliminates any risk of testicular cancer and decreases risk of death due to infectious diseases.
All of the effects of spaying and neutering are too vast to discuss in this blog, but the procedure should be discussed with your veterinarian when your pet is a puppy. If you are intent on breeding your pet, consider the pros and cons of having a litter (I will discuss these in a future blog). Spaying and neutering will not guarantee your pet lives forever, but plays a major role in preventative medicine. We recommend all dogs that are not intended for breeding be spayed and neutered based on the most well performed clinical studies. Alternatively, if you still plan on breeding, make sure you know all of the risks and costs that can be associated with puppies. As always, if you still have questions or need more information contact us at Satilla Animal Hospital in Waycross, GA.
Monday 8:00am - 5:30pm
Tuesday 8:00am - 5:30pm
Wednesday 8:00am - 5:30pm
Thursday 8:00am - 5:30pm
Friday 8:00am - 5:30pm
Saturday 9:00am - 12:00pm
511 S City Blvd
Waycross, GA 31501
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