Neutering your Pet
Many people are still unsure of the pros and cons of spaying and castration of cats, dogs and other small animals. We hope you find the following information helpful:
Spaying is the term used for neutering of female animals. This is a similar procedure to an ovariohysterectomy in women. There are many good reasons for having your female pet spayed:
1) Prevention of unwanted kittens and puppies-although many people say that they have friends and peopole they know that would adopt their pets' offspring, there are already extremely high numbers of unwanted animals awaiting adoption.
Many people feel that hat their pet should have a litter before they are spayed, although this is not necessary.
2) Prevention of mammary tumours (like breast cancer)-the earlier in a female dog's life she is spayed, the less likely she is to get mammary tumours.
3) Prevention of a life-threatening infection infection of the uterus called a pyometra-this usually involves having to spay the animal as an emergency and often also means a lengthy stay in hospital.
Female cats are usually spayed at 5-6 months before they start to show signs of their first season. Dogs are usually spayed before or after their first season, depending on discussions with the vet.
The main drawbacks to spaying are potential obesity, this may be controlled by careful food management, and there is also a small risk of urinary incontinence, although this may normally be controlled medically. The animal is usually in the vets for one day and the wound is usually small and recovery rapid.
Castration is the term used for neutering male animals. The main reasons for this are:
1) Prevention of unwanted puppies and kittens.
2) Reduction of roaming behaviour and aggression, especially fighting with other animals (cats in particular!).
3) Cats that are castrated are also less likely to contract FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus) and FeLV (Feline Leukaemia Virus) usually contracted by mating of fighting.
4) It makes male cats less likely to spray urine.
Castration after these problems develop does not always help. If an animal has retained testicles it is more likely to develop testicular tumours and so castration is even more important.
Prostatic disease and testicular disease are the main health problems that are prevented by castration.
Again, the animal is in just for one day, with small wounds and a very rapid recovery at home. If your pet has not yet been neutered, it may well be worth discussing this with your vet.