All Pets Veterinary Clinic

SPAYING AND NEUTERING

THERE IS A HUGE PET OVERPOPULATION PROBLEM.
EVERY DAY in the United States well over 30,000 cats and dogs are euthanized because
there are not enough homes for them all. Many people think these animals are old, sick,
mixed breed animals. On the contrary, many of the 30,000+ cats and dogs euthanized
daily are young, healthy, pure bred and mixed breed dogs and cats that simply do
not have a home. One of the best ways to combat pet overpopulation is to spay and
neuter your animals. There are many reasons, other than pet overpopulation, to consider
spaying and neutering.

Seven reasons to spay and neuter your pets:
1. Spaying and neutering will help to prevent unwanted pregnancies.

2. Spaying will virtually eliminate the possibility of a female animal developing
pyometra, a life threatening uterine infection.

3. Spaying will decrease the incidence of mammary tumors (cancer). Animals spayed
before their first heat cycle have 0.5% chance of getting mammary tumors. Animals
spayed after their first heat cycle have an 8% chance of getting mammary tumors.
Animals spayed after 2.5 years of age (4 heat cycles) are at the same risk as an intact
female.

4. Spaying will help to keep stray or wandering males (which could potentially be
carrying an infectious disease) away from your dog/cat.

5. Neutering will virtually eliminate the possibility of your dog getting testicular
cancer.

6. Neutering will significantly decrease the chances of your dog having prostate problems.

7. Neutering will decrease the incidence of undesirable male behaviors like aggression,
spraying/marking, and leg humping.


Five common myths (and the truth) about spaying and neutering:
Myth #1: Spaying/neutering makes dogs and cats fat.
Reality: Overfeeding and too little activity are what makes dogs and cats
gain weight. Many owners do not adjust the caloric intake of their pet according to
his/her changing age and lifestyle. Spaying and neutering will eliminate the strong
desire of cats and dogs to reproduce. Thus, a dog that was once always climbing the
fence and running around the neighborhood to find a female in heat will no longer do
this. And since this desire is gone, so is all of the extra activity associated with
fulfilling the desire. Thus, the dog will burn less calories and will gain weight if
fed the same amount of food. Spaying and neutering do not directly cause obesity.

Myth #2: It is better for a female to have one heat cycle and/or one litter of
puppies or kittens before spaying her.
Reality: Just the opposite is true. After one heat cycle, the likelihood of a
female developing mammary cancer increases from 0.5% to 8%. Thus, spaying BEFORE the
first heat cycle is better for females.

Myth #3: It is inhumane to alter an animal by spaying or neutering them.
Reality: Spaying and neutering is done under general anesthesia and thus the
animal experiences no pain from the procedure. During the recovery period, the animal
may experience some discomfort from the skin incision. Pain medication can be prescribed
as needed.

Myth #4: Spaying or neutering will alter my petís personality.
Reality: Spaying and neutering WILL NOT change your dog or catís personality.
What will change is the intense desire to reproduce. Thus, neutered male dogs will be
less likely to mark or spray, escape to find females in heat, and will often times be
less aggressive. The way your pet interacts with you should not change one bit after
spaying or neutering.

Myth #5: It costs too much to have my pet spayed or neutered.
Reality: In most instances, a dog or cat can be spayed or neutered for under $150.*
Cost generally depends on size of the animal, smaller animals being less expensive, sex
of the animal, females being slightly more expensive due to the more complicated procedure,
and the species of the animal, cats being cheaper than dogs. Consider the alternative.
If your female has puppies or kittens the cost for food, dewormings, vaccinations, etc.
will generally be much higher than the cost of a spay. If your animal contracts a
disease/infection or is injured from the dog or cat it mates with, the cost of veterinary
care will generally be more than the cost of a spay or neuter.

Please donít help contribute to the pet overpopulation problem--help to end it by
spaying and neutering your pets BEFORE they have a litter.

*Cost will vary depending on veterinary clinic and the situation/condition of each
individual animal.

To see pictures of diseases/conditions that result in non-spayed/non-neutered animals
Click here.

The information provided is for educational purposes only and is not
intended to take the place of your regular veterinarian. Please do not hesitate
to contact your regular veterinarian if you have questions regarding your pet.



Karen Blakeley, DVM, MPH
4 March 2005