Spay/Neuter

We recommend spaying and neutering pets AS EARLY AS 6-8 MONTHS OLD once they have fully undergone their puppy or kitten vaccinations.

The primary reason you should have your pet spayed or neutered early on is that female dogs and cats can begin their heat cycles as early as seven months and males can develop aggressive behaviors during puppyhood or kittenhood. Large breed dogs, in most cases, are recommended to wait until 12 months of age.

Neutering is a term that simply mean “to removed reproductive organs”. In males the term is castration and the testicles are removed from inside the scrotum. In females the term used is spay and traditionally the ovaries and uterus are removed, called an ovariohysterectomy.

In 2018 we added laparoscopic equipment and are now performing laparoscopic spays on all dogs over 15-20 pounds. Our spays are now a surgery called an ovariectomy which only removes the ovaries, the uterus remains behind. The benefit to this procedure is that it is much less invasive, it only requires three small (approximately 1”) incisions instead of being a full open abdomen surgery like most traditional ovariohysterectomy spays. Female dogs recover much quicker and have much less discomfort after this procedure. There is no risk of pregnancy after this type of spay as the ovaries are the organs which contain the eggs and hormones required for pregnancy.

Cats and small dogs (under 15-20 pounds) still undergo an ovariectomy but their surgery is not done with the laparoscope.

Elimination of Heat Cycles

When a female dog or cat goes into heat, they can become highly uncomfortable, will seek attention and will likely attract attention from male dogs and cats in the area. Spaying eliminates heat cycles, making your pet more comfortable.

Behavior

For many pet owners, a major benefit of neutering their male cat or dog is that it reduces aggressive, destructive and territorial behaviors such as spraying, mounting and roaming.

Overpopulation and Homelessness

There are approximately 6.5 million dogs and cats in shelters, and about 1.5 million of these animals are euthanized each year. Making the decision to spay and neuter your pets prevents overpopulation in shelters, saving the lives of animals in shelters.

Healthier Pets

Pets that are “fixed” live longer than those who aren't. This finding could be related to pets’ strong urge to roam when they are not “fixed,” putting them at high risk of being hit by a car and getting in fights with other animals. What’s more, altering pets greatly reduces their risks of certain cancers and disease. For females, pyometra, a fatal uterine infection, and mammary cancer can be prevented with spaying. For males, neutering prevents enlargement and infection of the prostate gland, and is the curative treatment for testicular cancer.

Myths about Spaying and Neutering

“It is too expensive to neuter my pet.” It’s actually too expensive not to. An average puppy spay is priced less than the cost of caring for a litter of unwanted puppies or kittens. The care of an average litter of 6 puppies for basic care: deworming, vaccinations, examinations, other health screenings and pet food until they are 8 weeks old (the minimum age at which they can be released to new owners) is estimated at about $350 per puppy. This cost is assuming there is no difficulty during birth requiring a c-section and that the puppies are both healthy and do not need any specialized care.

These costs do not include lost work and gas for veterinarian visits, bowls, leashes, collars, damage from chewing and house soiling, care of the mother during pregnancy and advertising to place the litter. It also doesn’t include the costs if there are complications with labor or delivery that require a caesarian-section.

Multiply this by just 1 litter per year over several years and the one time ‘expense’ doesn’t even come close to the reality of caring for multiple litters over the life of the mother. And of course there are the expenses associated with diagnosing and treating any disease they may develop that could have been prevented had they been neutered such as uterine infections or testicular cancer.

There are many programs through the state, local humane societies and shelters that can assist with the cost of neutering.

Females should be spayed before their first heat. This prevents uterine infections, decreases the incidences of mammary cancer and keeps another litter of unwanted animals out of the local Humane Society or shelter. We recommend spaying between 4 and 6 months of age.

Animals often hide during the birthing process. They don’t want an audience any more than you would. There are many ways for children to see the miracle of birth without putting the family pet through this painful and possibly dangerous experience. Foster a shelter animal that is already pregnant, watch a DVD or visit a farm. Remember birth is about life, not the lesson that it is okay to dispose of living things after you get the experience.

If you have an older animal, it has already learned its behavior; it will still be as loving or as aloof as it always was. If you neuter early enough you may avoid behaviors such as spraying, roaming, fighting and mounting.

First there are the behavioral issues. Neutered males don’t roam, fight, mark their territories, or “hump” as much. Second is the health issues—neutered males that don’t fight are less likely to get bite wounds and abscesses. They don’t develop testicular cancer. They are less likely to develop prostate issues. And third, let’s just be good neighbors and not get the next door neighbor’s female pregnant or they may be asking “What’s in your wallet?”

If this were true there would be no animals in shelters. There aren’t enough good homes out there. Don’t contribute by making more unwanted litters.

Purebred dogs end up in shelters, too. The Humane Society of the United States estimates that approximately 25% of dogs in shelters are purebred. To properly breed a purebred dog requires researching the proper mate based on personality, conformity, and genetic history, testing for eye issues and screening for hip issues to prevent inheritable diseases such as dysplasia. The “profit” from breeding dogs is eaten up by basic good breeding standards.

More Things to Consider:

Females: An unspayed female will bleed when she is in heat. That means blood stains everywhere she is in your house that will need to be cleaned and treated. Keeping your female away from all the unneutered males in the neighborhood for weeks on end. Even if she’s inside they will gather and try to find a way to her and her to them. While in heat the obnoxious behavior of whining and crying will be unending. Female cats are known to be especially obnoxious. Many cat owners have called thinking their cat is in pain (or even dying!) because of the howling, crying and generally crazy behavior the owner is  witnessing.

Males: A neutered male will still develop their masculine appearance. Castration does not affect their ability to be watchdogs. A good watchdog is the result of good training. It also does not affect their ability to hunt and will allow them to be around other dogs because there is less chance of inter-male aggression. For cats this means less likelihood of marking. It will also prevent the distinctive (and offensive) male cat body odor. Intact males also roam, go missing for days and get into fights over females.

Please Neuter

We cannot emphasize enough the importance of neutering your pets. We want all pets to have good, long, healthy lives. This simple and relatively inexpensive, one-time, preventative step will make for a much happier life for you and your pet and keep more animals out of the already overflowing shelters and prevent unwanted euthanasia.

Get the best care for your best friend.

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