Why Spaying and Neutering  Are Important.

By: John Crumley DVM

I neutered Steven, my cat, when he was six months old.  When I adopted my dog, Seneca, I made sure she was spayed before I brought her home.  There are both ethical and medical reasons to spay and neuter our pets. With all of the pet overpopulation issues, it’s nice to guarantee there will be no unwanted pregnancies.
In my mind, the medical benefits to spaying and neutering are so great, pet owners should, in most cases, have their pets neutered.  Spaying prevents estrus, commonly referred to as being in heat.  The several weeks of bleeding is enough to convince most people to spay their dogs, but roaming behavior also increases during this time, which leads to a higher risk of being hit-by-a-car or fighting (especially in cats).  By going through even their first heat cycle, the risk of mammary cancer increases significantly.  Mammary cancer is virtually unheard of if the dog or cat was spayed before its first heat cycle.  By spaying, we can also prevent a serious uterine infection called a pyometra in dogs and cats.  We frequently have to perform an emergency spay and hospitalize these very sick animals.  It’s much easier on our pets and less expensive to spay them when they are young and healthy vs. older and in critical condition.

In male dogs, neutering  eliminates testicular cancer, and reduces the risk of prostate diseases (such as benign enlargement and infection) and tumors and hernias around the anal region.   In addition roaming and some aggressive behaviors are reduced by neutering, as well as marking (spraying) in cats.

By spaying Seneca and neutering Steven, I helped make them healthier and safer and I’m not contributing to the pet overpopulation problem.