Modern Medicine, Old-Fashioned Care

Feb 9, 2015 | General Health

The Importance of Spaying or Neutering Your Pet

For some dogs and cats, the importance of spaying or neutering your pet can be the difference between life and death. Spaying or neutering is a simple, low-cost procedure that can reduce animal abandonment rates, improve the health and longevity of your pet, decrease the overall cost of care, and prevent the deaths of millions of dogs and cats.

Reducing animal abandonment rates

Crowded shelters across the nation care for millions of dogs and cats waiting for adoption. Only 10% of animals coming to shelters are spayed or neutered. And those numbers don’t account for the estimated population of up to 70 million stray/feral cats roaming communities across the country that can quickly overwhelm a neighborhood or community.

Improving the health and longevity of your dog or cat

The greatest medical benefits to a female dog’s health are gained if she never goes through a heat cycle —when the estrogen levels rise and the female is the most fertile and ready for mating. However, the benefits still outweigh the risks even if the pet has experienced multiple heat cycles or delivered a litter. The chances of developing malignant mammary gland tumors are significantly reduced if your dog or cat is spayed before her first heat cycle.

Spaying also eliminates uterine cancer, growths, or life-threatening infections that can develop in an intact female dog. Eliminating heat cycles also avoids the mess and unwanted behaviors which come with the twice-yearly cycles.

For male dogs and cats, neutering:

Eliminates testicular cancer and prostate problems

Improves behavior

Reduces the desire to roam searching for a mate and unwanted sexual behaviors

Prevents overpopulation and stray/unwanted animals in a community

Decreasing the financial burden of care

Clearly, spaying and neutering your pet provides health benefits to the animal and the community but there’s also a financial benefit. The cost of the procedure is less expensive than caring for a dog or cat suffering from an infection or cancer.

There’s a greater chance of abandonment or dropping the pet at a shelter when owners are overwhelmed by the time and cost associated with caring for a pregnant pet and newborn puppies and kittens. The financial burden is then placed on the rescues and shelters which may not be funded to care for so many animals, therefore resulting in mass euthanasia.

Spaying and neutering reduce the overpopulation of pets in shelters and rescues, eliminate certain infections, diseases and unwanted behaviors, and are a low-cost part of your pet’s overall healthcare. Call Doylestown Veterinary Hospital at 215-345-6000 today if you have questions about when to spay or neuter your pet.