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Spay or Neuter?

Spaying - As soon after six months as possible, it the time to spay your pet female dog or cat.

Most pet owners spay their females to prevent puppies and kittens or to avoid the bloody discharge during the twice yearly heat cycle.

These are two valid reasons, but most pet owners do not realize how many other problems can be avoided by spaying.

Spaying a female dog is a major surgical operation to remove both the ovaries and the uterus - an ovariohysterectomy to be exact. By removing these tissues from the body, several potential problems are avoided:

  • Pyrometritus - A common infection of the uterus becomes filled with pus. The uterus may increase in size 10 to 100 times normal. The dog or cat becomes severely ill and will die if not operated on promptly.
  • Mammary Gland Cancer - Most tumors of this type are dependent on hormones secreted by the ovaries. Mammary gland tumors and cysts are very common in the older female can can be prevented.
  • Endometritis, Cystic Ovaries, Tumors of the Uterus and Ovaries - All are diagnosed in the female and can be avoided by removing these tissues.
  • False Pregnancy - While not harmful to the female, false pregnancy causes anxiety and nervousness that maybe annoying to the owner.
  • Ovarian Imbalance - Causes a hair loss problem on the trunk of the female, hyperpigmented areas and enlarged nipples.
  • Attraction of Male Dogs or Cats - A nuisance when the female is in heat and dog must be taken out periodically.
  • Roaming - Unless supervised constantly, a female in heat has a tendancy to roam, risking unwanted pregnancies, injury from cars, or risk of being stolen, in her search for a mate.

Neutering (Castrate) the male dog or cat. Prior to a year of age is the best time to neuter your pet male, for the following reasons:

  • Curb agressive tendencies in many males.
  • Domestictes or "tempers" high-strung personalities. While this may not be desired for hunting or field-trail dogs, it does give most pet owners more control in training their pet.
  • Roaming is reduced greatly because the breeding desire is diminished greatly. This not only helps to control the expanding dog population, but also reduces your dog's rate of injury due to automobile accidents, dog fights, and risk of being stolen.
  • Testicle tumors are completely prevented, as these are the organs removed from the body. They can be malignant and a severe threat to the pet's life, or they can be damaging to the haircoat and skin of the dog.
  • Prostate diseases are almost entirely avoided because most are brought on by the hormonal influences of the testicles. Prostatitis can be very difficult to treat in the dog, and prostate cancer is almost impossible to treat.
  • Perineal hernias and scrotal hernias are common problems in the old male dog, which has not been castrated. Again, male hormones play a role in developing these conditions. Expensive surgery - many times the cost of the original neutering - will be the only way to correct the problem.
  • A word about vasectomies in dogs: It certainly works well to sterilize the male dog, but has no benefits to correct ANY of the potential dangers listed above.

Reprinted with permission.
Information source - Noah's Ark Animal Sanctuary

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