For those that are seeking a solution to end the reproductive cycle and the general health of your pet, this option is available. We, at Atlas Animal Hospital pay close attention to this process so that your pet is back to their lovable selves swiftly, and ensure that extra care is given to the process.
Neutering, from the Latin neuter (of neither sex), is the removal of an animal’s reproductive organ, either all of it or a considerably large part. The term is often used in reference to males whereas spaying is often reserved for females. Colloquially, both terms are often referred to as fixing. Neutering is the most common sterilizing method in animals. In North America and Europe, most humane societies, animal shelters and rescue groups urge pet owners to have their pets spayed or neutered to prevent the births of unwanted litters, contributing to the overpopulation of unwanted animals in the rescue system.
Spaying & Neutering Cats
Unless you’ve acquired a kitten for breeding purposes, you should seriously consider having her neutered. Most veterinarians agree that neutering makes your kitten a friendlier, healthier, and more obedient pet.
What is spaying and neutering? Neutering is the general term for feline sterilization, as well as the term for the procedure that removes a male cat’s testicles. Alternatively, females may get spayed, the term for the procedure that removes her ovaries and uterus. Both procedures require general anaesthesia, and your kitten will likely stay at the veterinarian for anywhere between a few hours to a few days afterward to recoup.
When is the right time to neuter? The best time to spay a female kitten is between 4 to 6 months — before she has her first heat cycle. The younger the cat, the quicker the healing process, but older cats recover from the procedure just fine, too. Male cats should be neutered between 7 to 9 months of age, before they acquire the “spraying” habit (which we’ll talk about later). But even if your cat is older, neutering him is still worthwhile.
What are the benefits and risks? Your kitten’s disposition should only change for the better after spaying or neutering. If you have a female cat, she’ll probably become more playful and less anxious. Spaying will also help reduce the risk of uterine infections, certain tumours, and hormonal imbalances. Male cats that remain un-neutered often start to spray walls and furniture with streams of urine to “mark their territory.” Neutering reduces, if not eliminates, this behaviour. And, it will also control his urge to roam, mate, or fight other cats. One potential negative side effect of neutering is obesity caused by hormonal changes and a calmer lifestyle. This risk can be countered, though, by monitoring your kitten’s diet and encouraging regular exercise.
Spaying & Neutering Dogs
Did you know that spaying and neutering have health benefits for your pet? If you’re the proud owner of a female puppy, you’ll be interested to hear that spaying can reduce her chances of developing breast cancer, uterine cancer and ovarian cancer. It also lessens the likelihood of uterine infection. All that, plus you’ll avoid the risks associated with an unplanned pregnancy. If you have a male puppy, you should know that neutering will prevent testicular tumors and may prevent prostate problems. It also reduces the possibility of perianal tumors and hernias.
Timing: Some vets prefer to spaying female dogs before their first heat cycle, but others don’t. For male dogs, the timing is less specific, so it’s best to get your vet’s recommendations.
The benefits to you: The obvious benefit of you and your family having your puppy spayed or neutered is that you’ll never have to deal with unplanned litters. But there are other advantages too. Males neutered early in life are less aggressive, less distracted by females in heat, less likely to mark their territory with urine and less likely to mount the furniture or your leg. Spaying a female puppy will stop stray males from camping in your garden and decrease her desire to roam and breed.
The benefits to society: Tragically, millions of dogs are euthanized in this country every year. Most of them are the result of accidental breeding by free-roaming, un-neutered dogs. By neutering your puppy, you will know that you won’t be adding to this problem.
Worries you may have about spaying and neutering:
Is the surgery safe? Spaying and neutering are straightforward operations, and ones that your vet will have performed dozens of times before. It’s natural to feel nervous, but you can also feel confident that you are doing the best thing for your puppy. The procedure is straightforward when you are neutering a male (removing the testes). A female spay (removing the ovaries and uterus), is considered major surgery, but is a routine procedure and the risk is minimal.
Will my puppy gain weight? There’s absolutely no need for a neutered puppy to gain weight. Just remember to adjust how much you feed him according to his activity level. You may also consider switching to a lower calorie food such as Hill’s Science Diet® Light dog food when he reaches one year old.
Will my puppy’s personality change? Maybe, but only for the better. A neutered male puppy may be less aggressive and less likely to wander.
What else should I know? Your pet will be required to have a general anesthetic for this procedure, so your vet will ask you not to give your puppy anything to eat or drink for twelve hours before the operation. You’ll probably be able to bring your puppy home on the same day, although he may have to stay a little longer if he’s very sleepy.