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Spaying and Neutering

Spaying and Neutering

Spay and neuter options:

Surgical sterilization

During surgical sterilization, a veterinarian removes certain reproductive organs.

If you decide to spay or neuter your pet, you have options. Discuss the options with your veterinarian so you can make a decision that’s right for you, your family and your pet.

Ovariohysterectomy, or the typical “spay”: the ovaries, fallopian tubes and uterus are removed from a female dog. This makes her unable to reproduce and eliminates her heat cycle.

  • Hysterectomy: the uterus and part of the fallopian tubes are removed from a female dog. This makes her unable to reproduce, but her ovaries remain and will produce hormones.
  • Orchiectomy, or the typical “neuter”: the testes are removed from a male dog. This makes him unable to reproduce and reduces or eliminates male breeding behaviors.
  • Vasectomy: only the vas deferens, which conducts sperm from the testes, are removed. This procedure makes the dog unable to reproduce, but his testes remain and will produce hormones.

Why spay or neuter?

Every year, millions of unwanted dogs and cats, including puppies and kittens, are euthanized. The good news is that responsible pet owners can make a difference. By having your dog or cat sterilized, you will do your part to prevent the birth of unwanted puppies and kittens. Spaying and neutering prevent unwanted litters and may reduce many of the behavioral problems associated with the mating instinct.

Spaying eliminates heat cycles and generally reduces the unwanted behaviors that may lead to owner frustration. Neutering male dogs and cats reduces the breeding instinct and can have a calming effect, making them less inclined to roam and more content to stay at home.

Early spaying of female dogs and cats can help protect them from some serious health problems later in life such as uterine infections and breast cancer. Neutering your male pet can also lessen its risk of developing benign prostatic hyperplasia (enlarged prostate gland) and testicular cancer.

The procedure has no effect on a pet’s intelligence or ability to learn, play, work or hunt. Most pets tend to be better behaved following surgical removal of their ovaries or testes, making them more desirable companions.

When to spay or neuter

Consult your veterinarian about the most appropriate time to spay or neuter your pet based upon its breed, age and physical condition. Keep in mind that, contrary to popular belief, it may NOT be best to wait until your female dog or cat has gone through its first heat cycle.