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Spaying and Neutering Your Pet



Download this Pet Care Guide – PDF

Spaying, the sterilization procedure used for female pets, eliminates the heat or “estrus” cycle. Twice a year dogs can go into heat for approximately 21 days. Cats can be in heat between 3-15 days as many as 3 or more times a year. By spaying a female pet the desperate attempt of a dog or cat to find a mate will cease. Unwelcome visits by potential males will stop, as they will no longer be drawn by the scent of the female in heat.

Almost half of un-spayed dogs develop breast tumors, but virtually no tumors occur if spaying is done before their first heat. Spaying also eliminates the possibility of developing uterine or ovarian cancer.

Neutering eliminates most roaming associated with the search for a mate. This, in turn, reduces the risk of fights, injury, poisoning, or traffic deaths. Fixed pets are more content and better behaved. Neutering also reduces the urge of male dogs to mount (an annoying habit used to show dominance) and male cats to mark their territory by spraying urine. Neutered pets are less likely to develop prostate cancer and cannot develop testicular tumors.

Dogs and cats have no psychological sex drive: don’t feel the need to reproduce and are frequently quieter after they are sterilized. For either gender spaying or neutering removes discomfort, distress and distraction, making your pet a more content family member. On average, pets that have been spayed or neutered live longer.

Spaying or Neutering is a relatively safe and painless operation done by a licensed veterinarian. At WPVH your pet will receive the detail, vigilance and care all our pets receive when going into surgery, e.g. pediatric grade anesthesia, pre-surgery blood-work, pre-surgery pain medication to eliminate all pain, and a warm and caring technician to be there to comfort and calm your pet as they wake up. There are many options in today’s world for “low-cost” spay and neuter clinics and they do provide a great social benefit. That said, your pet deserves the best. The cost of the procedure depends on the age, size, sex and health of the pet. Spaying or Neutering can be done at any age, providing the animal is in good health. However, the health advantages (i.e. avoiding tumors) are greater, and behavioral changes are more obvious when the procedure is done on younger animals.

Finally, don’t let the myths and misunderstandings about neutering confuse you.


MYTH: Spaying/neutering costs too much.
FACT: This charge only occurs once in the pet’s life. One can actually save money by having a pet sterilized since the chances of getting certain tumors or cancers are reduced. Treatment of these diseases can be very expensive.

MYTH: It will make the pet fat and lazy.
FACT: Lack of exercise and overfeeding are the main reasons a pet becomes fat. Many fixed pets are fed and treated differently by their owners after the procedure: a type of apology for the surgery or a change in attitude toward the pet. Feed your pet a properly balanced diet and make time for daily walks or play.

MYTH: One should let a female pet have at least one litter before spaying.
FACT: No medical evidence supports this statement. Animals do not need to have a litter for good health, mental well being or value as a pet. In fact, the chances of mammary tumors increase if she has a litter. Breeding a female before she is fully grown can also be dangerous to the pet, increasing the chance of complications at the time of delivery and afterward.

MYTH: It will break my pet’s spirit.
FACT: Neutering will not negatively affect a pet’s disposition. Sterilizing simply prevents the pet from reproducing. Some males become more docile when the sex hormones are removed from the behavior-stimulation equation: they simply loose their competitive drive for a mate. Dogs will retain their defensive behavior as far as the family is concerned; a guard dog will remain a good guard dog.