"Fixing" Your Pet
Whether your pet is a new puppy, an older dog, or a stray who wandered into your heart, one of the best things you can do for your pet is to spay or neuter them. Females are spayed, the common term for an ovariohysterectomy. Male animals are neutered, or castrated, so that they can no longer impregnate females. Read below for more information and common myths about "fixing" your pet.
#1 - Reduced risk of mammary tumors.
The number of heat periods a female animal goes through before being spayed can greatly change the percentage at which they are likely to develop mammary tumors.
- When an ovariohysterectomy (OHE/Spay) is performed prior to the first heat period in a female animal, the risk of mammary cancer later in life is less than 1%.
- Should the OHE/Spay be performed between the first and second heat periods, the risk of developing mammary cancer later in lie is then increased to about 8%.
- Anytime after the second heat period the risk of mammary cancer in female animals is about 25%.
#2 - Reduced risk of pyometra.
Another major medical risk to a female animal that can be avoided by spaying is a pyometra, or an infection of the uterus. Roughly 8% of intact female animals will have the unfortunate luck of experiencing this painful infection and emergency surgery. Dogs are more likely to develop a uterine infection than other species, simply because of the way their cycle works, and many times the infection turns life threatening by the time it is discovered by a veterinarian.
When to spay? Anytime after 4 months of age. We usually recommend scheduling this with the last puppy visit.
Should your pet have its first heat or one litter before spaying? NO! This is a myth. There is absolutely no proven benefit to having one heat or one litter before spaying. All this does is increase your pet's risk of mammary cancer.
When deciding whether to neuter your pet, do not confuse your own perceptions or feelings with those of your dog. He has no emotional bias. Instead, look at the medical and social benefits of having a neutered pet!
Health Reasons for Neutering...
- Testicular tumors are very common in older dogs.
- Prevents most prostate diseases and greatly decreases risk of tumors.
- Heritable diseases cannot be accidentally passed on.
- Dogs with testicle(s) that do not drop need neutering to reduce risk of cancer.
#1 My pet will be a "wimp" without them.
- Testicles do not contain "manliness" and removing them does not make your dog a wimp.
#2 It will make my pet fat and lazy.
- Overeating and reduced exercise causes excess weight gain.
#3 It will change my dog's personality.
- Yes, and in a good way! It will decrease some of the destructive behavior associated with not being neutered, including roaming, marking territory, excessive urination and defecation, and some forms of aggression. Don't forget that genetics and training are the most important contributors to your pet's behavior!