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Spaying or Neutering Your Pet at Minster Veterinary Services.

 

Minster, Ohio Veterinary Services serving West Central Ohio. Puppy exams, Puppy shots, Kitten exams, Kitten shots. Routine pet exam and vaccinations.

Spaying and Neutering  

 
 

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Answers to Questions About Spaying & Neutering

What is neutering?

To accomplish surgical neutering, a veterinarian removes certain reproductive organs. If your cat or dog is a female, the veterinarian will remove her ovaries, fallopian tubes and uterus. The proper name for this operation is an ovariohysterectomy, although it is commonly called "spaying."

The testicles are removed from a male animal. This operation is properly called an orchiectomy, although it is usually referred to as castration, or simply "neutering."

What are the advantages?

For you, the operation results in added convenience. It eliminates blood stains on carpets and floors, and usually stops tomcats from spraying strong-smelling urine on furniture and drapes. You'll no longer have annoying or menacing suitors to contend with. There's no need to confine your pet during "heat" periods, and no unwanted litters of puppies and kittens to take care of or find homes for. Your pet will be more likely to stay home and devote attention to you and your family.

For dogs and cats, surgical neutering eliminates a female's chances of developing uterine infections and reduces the possibility that she might develop mammary cancer. Males usually become less aggressive and spend more time at home, thus decreasing their chances of being injured in fights or automobile accidents.

Your community will also benefit. Unwanted animals are becoming a very real concern in many places. Stray animals can easily become a public nuisance, soiling parks and streets, ruining shrubbery, frightening children and elderly people, creating noise and other disturbances, causing automobile accidents, and sometimes even killing livestock or other pets.

As a potential source of rabies and other less serious diseases, they can be a public health hazard. The capture, impoundment and eventual destruction of unwanted animals costs taxpayers and private humanitarian agencies millions of dollars each year.

Will it change my pet's intelligence or disposition?

Only for the better. The operation has no effect on intelligence. And most neutered pets tend to be more gentle and affectionate. They become less interested in other animals and spend more time with the family.

Will it make my pet fat?

Removing the ovaries or testicles does affect metabolism. This seems to make many neutered pets put on weight more easily if permitted to overeat. The diet of every dog and cat should be carefully regulated to prevent excess weight, and this is particularly true after a neutering operation.

Is the operation painful?

Spaying and neutering operations are performed painlessly while your pet is under general anesthesia. After the surgery there may be some discomfort, but this is part of the normal healing process and can be controlled with medication.

When should my pet have the operation?

Generally speaking, as early as possible. Most veterinarians recommend that a female be spayed before her first estrus or "heat" period (around 6 months of age). A male dog or a tomcat can be neutered at 6 months to a year old. Your veterinarian can recommend the best time for your pet.

Is the operation expensive?

Professional fees for spaying and neutering reflect the difficulty of the procedures involved. The actual fee varies from one area to another, depending largely on the economics of maintaining a veterinary hospital in a particular community. The size, age, sex and health of your pet affect the cost of the operation.

If the fee seems high, remember that surgical neutering is permanent. It's a life-time investment in your pet that can solve a number of problems for you, your pet, and society already burdened with too many dogs and cats. In fact, it could save you money in the long run. The cost of boarding your pet during just one or two "heat" periods, for example, probably would pay for an ovariohysterectomy.

A litter--wanted or unwanted--also means added expenses. A nursing mother needs extra food and care, and once weaned, the offspring must be fed as well. New puppies and kittens also need inoculations and they may have to be treated for parasites. Even if your pet never has a litter, she could develop "female disorders" that would require surgery similar to or even more serious than spaying.

What are the alternatives?

The oldest (and in some respects the easiest) way to prevent mating is to keep your pet confined during its fertile periods. Once they reach sexual maturity, male animals can mate any time they are not confined.

Females can become pregnant only during their estrus or "heat" periods. These cycles usually occur twice a year in dogs, and at least two or three times a year in cats. Many cats "come into heat" as often as once every 2 or 3 weeks during certain months.

Since pets are capable of mating so much of the time, confinement is not particularly convenient for the owner. It also does nothing to eliminate such problems as spotting and spraying, or susceptibility to uterine infection and mammary cancer.

Veterinary medical scientists are working to develop a "pill" or some other convenient method of birth control for pets. There are now several medications on the market that can be used temporarily to keep an animal out of heat.

At present, other than confining your animal, the sure way to keep your pet from mating is to have it surgically neutered.

Will it stop the "pet population explosion"?

Spaying and neutering pets should help reduce the problem of surplus cats and dogs, but surgery alone is not enough. Unowned animals are a major part of the problem. In addition to creating a public nuisance and possible health hazard, stray dogs and cats give birth to unwanted puppies and kittens at an alarming rate.

Many communities have tremendously reduced or nearly eliminated their unwanted animal populations simply by enforcing existing animal control regulations. Others have come to grips with the problem by passing more stringent laws and enforcing them rigidly.

As a concerned citizen, you should do everything you can to see that leash laws and other animal control regulations in your community are up to date and adequately enforced. And, as a responsible pet owner, you should make sure your pet does not contribute to the problem.

 
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Paul J. Hunter, DVM
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