Spaying and Neutering
Neutering offers benefits to both you and your beloved companion. Neutering (or spaying) is the process by which your pet’s veterinarian renders them sterile. When males are sterilized, the process is called neutering. When females receive the same treatment, it’s called spaying (nonetheless, you can refer to either procedure as neutering).
It’s hard to accept, but there aren’t enough homes for the pets currently needing adoption. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), 3.4 million cats enter shelters every year. By neutering your pet, you’ll help reduce the overpopulation of this community. More importantly, however, spaying and neutering helps your pets live a healthier, longer life.
Neutered puppies grow up healthier and happier
If you’re the proud owner of a female puppy, you’ll be interested to hear that spaying can reduce her chances of developing breast cancer, uterine cancer and ovarian cancer. It also lessens the likelihood of uterine infection. All that, plus avoiding the risks associated with an unplanned pregnancy. Some vets prefer to neuter bitches before their first season, but others disagree, so talk to your vet about timing.
If you have a male puppy, you should know that neutering will prevent testicular tumours and may prevent prostate problems. It also reduces the possibility of perennial tumours and hernias.
Neutered puppies grow up healthier and happier
The obvious benefit to you and your family of having your puppy neutered is that you’ll never have to deal with unwanted litters. But there are other advantages too. Males neutered early in life are less aggressive, less distracted by females in heat, less likely to mark their territory with urine and less likely to mount the furniture or your leg!
Spaying a female puppy will stop stray males camping in your garden and decrease her desire to roam.
Of course, if your puppy is a purebred, you may be thinking you could earn good money from selling any offspring. Bear in mind though, that even for experienced breeders, most of the ‘profits’ is eaten up with stud fees, vaccinations and other healthcare costs. Breeding also requires hard work and specialist knowledge so all in all, it’s something best left to the professionals.
The benefits to society
Tragically, every year millions of dogs are put to sleep in this country. Most of them are the result of accidental breeding by free-roaming un-neutered dogs. Neutering your puppy means that you won’t be adding to this problem.
Spaying your female cat before her first estrous cycle (going into “heat” or being able to breed) greatly reduces her risk of cervical cancer and eliminates her risk for ovarian cancer. Because removing the ovaries reduces the levels of hormones that encourage the growth of cancerous tumors, spaying reduces your cat’s risk of mammary cancer as well.
Keep in mind there are other diseases resulting from natural cat behaviour when they mate. Feline leukemia and feline AIDS are two diseases spread through the bites of infected cats to other cats, according to the VCA Hospitals (these diseases are different from human AIDS and leukemia, and cannot be transmitted from cats to people). By reducing your cat’s urge to fight over mates and territory, you’ll also reduce her chances of contracting these incurable diseases from other cats.
Unneutered male cats are driven by hormones to seek mates and defend their territory against intruders. So, two or more unneutered male cats in the same household can spell trouble. Fights tend to break out, especially if there’s a female cat in heat nearby. By neutering your cats, you’ll reduce their aggressive instincts.
Reduces Risk of Roaming
When female cats go into heat, both her hormones and instincts are urging her to find a mate. And if she’s your only cat, she’ll try to escape every time you open the door so that she can find one. Remember that males are also driven by hormones and the mating instinct, and will try their best to escape for the same reason. Both males and females are at risk outdoors of being injured as they cross roads and highways to mate. By neutering your cat, you’ll reduce this wanderlust and find they’re happy to stay put in the safe, comfy spot next to you on the couch.
Male cats spray their urine on vertical surfaces to mark their territory. And while the pungent odour of an unneutered cat’s urine alerts other males that there’s another guy nearby who has claimed the area as his turf, it tells females he’s waiting for his opportunity to mate with her. An unneutered male cat in your house can be a messy business. Neutering a cat reduces or eliminates the urge to spray, and if they do, the scent should be much more mild.
Female cats also pass bodily fluids when they go into heat. These fluids also contain scents to alert males that a fertile female is nearby. By spaying your female cat, you’ll eliminate the same problem.
I can’t tell that my pet is in pain even though he has broken teeth and red, inflamed gums. Wouldn’t he stop eating if he was in any pain?
Some pets will stop eating altogether when their teeth, bone, and gums hurt badly enough. The vast majority, however, will find some tactic to keep eating. They may chew on the other side of their mouths or swallow their kibble whole. Pets have an extremely strong instinct to survive no matter what discomfort they feel. Sometimes the symptoms of periodontal disease are so vague that we don’t notice them. Pets may be reluctant to hold their toys in their mouths, be less playful, resent having their teeth brushed, have a hard time sleeping, or have no outward symptoms at all. Often, after we have treated broken teeth or extracted infected teeth, our patients’ parents tell us that they act more energetic and playful than they have in years!!
How often should a routine dental cleaning be performed?
Every patient is different, so this is a hard question to answer. Usually, the smaller dogs should have their teeth cleaned earlier and more often because their teeth are more crowded in their mouths. Bigger dogs may not develop tartar as quickly, but their mouths should be monitored closely for broken teeth. Cats are all individuals and should be examined closely for any excessive gingivitis, which may be an indication of some special cat diseases like resorptive lesions or stomatitis/gingivitis syndrome.
How can periodontal disease hurt my pet?
The possible local (in the mouth) effects of periodontal disease are pain, infection of the gums, bone, and/or teeth, and loss of teeth. Chronic infection of the periodontal tissues allows bacteria to enter the circulatory system resulting in the seeding of the internal organs (heart, kidneys, liver) and may lead to serious infections in these organs.