The Benefits of Spaying And Neutering in East San Jose, CA
A spay is the surgical procedure where a veterinary surgeon removes the reproductive organs of a female dog or cat so that she is unable to become pregnant, and a neuter is the surgical removal of a male animal’s testicles so that he cannot impregnate a female. The decision to spay or neuter your dog or cat is an important decision, and unless you intend to breed your pet, there are many reasons why spay and neutering are recommended.
What are the benefits to spaying and neutering?
- Reduced marking or spraying
One of the benefits of spay and neuter surgeries is they help reduce the urge to mark or spray, especially in males. Intact male dogs tend to be more prone to urine-marking inside and outside the home, but this behavior can be improved by neutering. As with dogs, intact male cats are prone to spraying and marking their territory as a signal to other cats, and the smell of cat urine is particularly strong and difficult to eliminate from furniture, walls and flooring. Also, neutering your cat can solve 90% of all marking issues, even if your cat is an older adult.
- Reduced urge to roam
Spaying and neutering decreases the chance that your pet will roam away from home in search of a mate, and it will decrease the chances that your pet will become lost, get hit by a car, be eaten by a large predator, or get into fight with other dogs and cats. Spayed and neutered pets tend to focus on their human caretakers, and are less likely to seek companionship elsewhere.
- Improved behavior
As mentioned above, unaltered dogs and cats tend to mark their territory by spraying strong-smelling urine all over the house. This instinctual behavior that can be changed with neutering, since neutered pets focus their attention on their human families, rather than on competing with other animals. Spaying and neutering at an earlier age may also help avoid aggression problems and embarrassing behaviors including inappropriate urination on beds and clothing, mounting furniture and the legs of visiting guests.
- Lower risk of cancers
One of the other benefits of spaying dogs and cats is that it can help prevent the development of mammary and uterine cancers later on in life. Studies have shown that in unspayed female dogs, the risk of developing mammary and uterine cancer climbs with age, and the statistics are the same in cats (1). In unneutered dogs, the chances of prostate cancer increase with age as well, since the prostate gland naturally enlarges over time. This is known as benign prostate hyperplasia, where testosterone production predisposes the prostate gland to infection and inflammation. An enlarged and infected prostate can be very painful and sometimes can be life-threatening for your dog. Testicular cancer, prostate cancer, inguinal hernias and perianal tumors are also more common in intact male dogs. Unneutered cats can also develop prostate hyperplasia and prostate cancer as well, and surgery and chemotherapy for such cancers can be expensive and take a heavy toll on your pet’s quality of life.
- Reduced overpopulation
Every year, hundreds of thousands of pets end up homeless in US shelters, and unfortunately there are not enough homes to place them all. Some pets that end up in shelters are foundlings from the streets, rescues or surrenders, and many perfectly adoptable pets never make it to shelters, and never find good homes. Spaying and neutering pets prevents animals from being born accidentally, and is the most effective and humane way to reduce overpopulation in our communities, and to prevent the euthanasia of animals who are not adopted.
- Increased lifespan
Pets who are spayed and neutered actually live longer. According to one report (1), neutered male dogs live 18% longer than intact male dogs and spayed female dogs live 23% longer than intact female dogs. The study suggested that part of the reduced lifespan of unaltered dogs and cats is because of their tendency to roam, exposing them to predators, and getting stuck by cars.
- No messy heat cycles
Spaying female dogs and cats also eliminates the inconvenience and mess of heat cycles. Intact female dogs come into heat about every 8 months, resulting in bloody vaginal discharge and an unpleasant odor. Female felines usually go into heat for four to five days every three weeks during breeding season, and during their heat cycles they tend to yowl, looking for mates, and urinate more frequently, sometimes inappropriately. This can cause more messy clean-up for the pet owner.
Spaying and neutering your pet actually costs you less in the long-run. Many cities and communities have low-cost spay/neuter services that include vaccinations and microchips. As mentioned above, many unaltered pets are at risk of certain cancers, and unspayed female dogs and cats can be susceptible to a medical emergency called a “pyometra,” an infection of the uterus which can make your pet very ill, and can cause septicemia and death if not treated. The costs of treating a pyometra can be ten times more than a spay procedure. The treatment for prostate cancer in unaltered males can also be costly, especially when looking at surgery, and chemotherapy. Also, unaltered males can be more destructive and more high-strung around other dogs, especially males, and an emergency room visit after a dog fight can be expensive. Finally, many communities and counties require licenses for all pets, and they may charge you extra to keep an unaltered pet.
- Keeps other pets and the community safe
Spaying and neutering also reduces the spread of rabies and other infectious diseases by decreasing the number of stray animals that roam about. It also helps prevents putting your pet at risk of contacting infectious diseases from other animals and wildlife. Stray animals typically don’t receive regular care or vaccinations, leaving them vulnerable to contagious diseases.
- Reduces pet homelessness
Animal shelters across the United States house thousands of animals who have been abandoned or homeless. Nationwide, 2.7 million adoptable cats and dogs are euthanized in shelters each year because they are homeless or abandoned (2). Spaying and neutering is the only permanent solution to this.
The 10 reasons listed above are just some of the reasons why spaying and neutering your pet is a good idea, and you can always contact your veterinarian in East San Jose for more information and recommendations.