CatsDogsPet Health

It Pays to Spay…and Neuter!

By March 16, 2023 No Comments

Spaying and neutering is one of the best things you can do for the health of your pet. But as a pet owner, it might also be a difficult decision for you to make. Here are some facts to help you make the right decision for your pet and your family.

The difference between spaying and neutering

  • Spaying means removing the uterus and ovaries of a female pet.
  • Neutering means removing a male pet’s testicles.


Benefits of spaying or neutering

  • The biggest advantage to spaying or neutering your pet is reducing their risk of many health and behavioural
    • Spaying will:
      • Stop females from going into heat
      • Prevent heat-related discharge and/or suffering from hormonal fluctuations that can cause medical and behavioural problems
      • Prevent pregnancy and potentially life-threatening pregnancy-related complications
    • Neutering may:
      • help prevent aggression,
      • reduce or eliminate undesirable behaviours such as fighting, mounting, marking (spraying urine)
      • reduce escape attempts to find mates


Risks of not spaying or neutering

  • Higher risk of certain cancers
    • Ovarian, testicular, breast (mammary) and uterine cancer
  • Pyometra, a life-threatening bacterial infection of the uterus
  • Higher risk of injury as pets (especially males) roam farther from home for the purpose of mating


When to spay/neuter?

  • We prefer to spay cats and dogs around six months of age, before their first heat.
  • Male cats are neutered at six months and dogs are neutered at one year of age.


We recommend spaying or neutering all pets who won’t be bred. 


Now that you’ve decided to spay/neuter your pet, here’s what to expect… 

  • Prior to your cat or dog’s surgery appointment, we’ll let you know what time to start withholding food and water as well as any other pre-operative preparations.
  • Your pet will be assessed by Dr. Zak the morning of their surgery.
    • If all is well, they will be given light sedative (to help them relax) and pain medication.
    • Once relaxed, they will be anesthetized.
    • All pets are monitored closely during their procedure to make sure they stay safe, comfortable, and their heart rate and breathing remain normal.
  • Neutering (removal of the testicles) is usually a relatively quick procedure.
    • Spaying takes a bit longer since it requires abdominal surgery to remove the uterus and ovaries.
    • Once your pet’s procedure is complete, our veterinary team closely monitors them as they awaken from the anesthesia to ensure they stay safe and comfortable.
    • Most pets are sent home on the day of surgery with pain medication and clear instructions on how best to care for them as they recover.


Your pet’s first night at home following surgery

Besides keeping a close eye on your pet that first night at home, here are some tips to help avoid complications and ensure a smooth recovery:

  • Follow Dr. Zak’s advice and make sure your pet’s Elizabethan collar (or other device designed to prevent your pet from bothering their incision), stays on.
    • If you must remove the collar so your pet can eat, watch them the entire time to make sure they do not lick or chew the incision area.
  • Limit your pet’s activity as recommended specifically for your pet.
    • Movement causes friction along the incision; this can slow the healing process and cause fluid swelling or worse, breakdown (dehiscence) of the incision.
  • Keep your pet from rubbing the incision against furniture, the floor, or other surfaces.
    • Ask us for recommendations if your pet is having trouble adapting to the Elizabethan collar (E-collar).
      • Some pets can get around alternative recovery collars and reach their incisions. Some dogs or cats may also chew through soft collars.


Debunking myths about spaying/neutering

While we’re at it, let’s clear up a few myths about spaying and neutering:

  • Spaying/neutering does not make pets fat. A pet’s metabolism may slow a bit after the procedure, but you can adjust for this by continuing to watch your pet’s food intake, cutting calories if needed, and making sure your pet gets enough exercise.
  • Neutering does not make male dogs less masculine.
  • Spaying or neutering will not change your pet’s natural instincts, intelligence, playfulness, or personality.


 Spaying/neutering benefits you, your pet, and your community

Spaying or neutering benefits both you and your pet by reducing your pet’s risk of certain diseases and other health complications, and cutting down on undesirable behaviours. Your dog or cat will not only have a healthier life after the procedure, he or she may even live longer!


Another benefit of spaying/neutering is preventing unwanted pets. We have stray pets and community cats in Waterdown and the surrounding areas, so we urge you to do your part by making sure your pet won’t contribute to the homeless pet population.


Schedule an appointment with us for your pet’s spay or neuter today!


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