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Posted on 05-06-2014
Spay or Neuter Your Best Friend Today
To paraphrase Bob Barker, “Don’t litter, and spay and neuter you pets, people!” The Humane Society estimates that 4 million unwanted pets are euthanized in shelters each year. Spaying and neutering is an obvious solution to pet overpopulation and the resulting homelessness it leads to. But population-control and preventing unwanted pregnancies aren’t the only reasons to fix your pet—there are many health and behavioral benefits to spaying and neutering as well, and many pet owners are not aware of these advantages...
Spaying and neutering can help many hormone-related urges or behaviors, including marking with urine and feces. I had a dog while growing up that would lift his leg to “mark” the sofa, a wall, even people if we did not keep an eye on him. Of course if he peed on you we would try to convince you it was because he liked you. I know now that if we had neutered him as a puppy, this would not have been a behavior he would have developed. Unfixed cats and dogs will mark their territories. Males tend to be more obvious about it than females, but females will mark too.
In addition to marking behaviors, neutering and spaying can help with aggression, territorial and undesirable sexual behaviors, such as mounting a person’s leg. Additionally, it can help prevent the desire to escape from the yard and wander the streets in search of a mate. Many of the animals I see that come in hit by cars are in-tact animals. These animals likely had escaped from the yard looking for a date.
Most owners of spayed female dogs will tell you that they enjoy not having to deal with the mess that comes with having a dog in heat, cleaning up after her for over a week and keeping the gentleman callers at bay. And owners of spayed female cats will report that they have pleasant cats, and prefer them to the hormone-crazed cat that will rub, scratch and yowl all day long and ultimately drive you insane.
By neutering male pets you can help protect them from certain types of cancers, benign prostate enlargement, prostatic inflammation or infection, perianal adenomas, orchitis, venereal tumors and certain types of hernias.
By spaying female pets you decrease their risk of breast cancer (especially if done before their first heat cycle), pyometra (a life threatening infection, that requires emergency surgery), false pregnancies, mastitis, transmissible venereal tumor, ovarian and uterine cancer, cystic ovaries, and uterine prolapse/torsions, among many other possible complications.
By fixing your pet early you may avoid some serious health problems that can end up costing you 10 times the price of a spay or neuter—or worse, it may take years off your pet’s life.
Lastly, to dispel a common rumor, a spayed or neutered pet does not become fat or lazy. Their metabolism may slow down a bit, but all you have to do to keep them trim is cut back a little on the food… a small price to pay for preventing an unwanted litter, unwanted health problems, or unwanted behaviors.
Dr. Sandra D. Ontiveros
Manchaca Village Veterinary Care
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