According to a recent report released by the American Humane Society, animal shelters across the country euthanize 2.4 million healthy dogs and cats each year due to pet overpopulation. If no one steps forward to adopt these animals within the organization’s time limit, then a decision will be made to euthanize him or her to make room for other homeless pets. This equates to one healthy animal losing his or her life every 13 seconds in America alone. While this is a sad and frustrating statistic, it’s also preventable with spay or neuter surgery. Approximately 6.3 million companion animals enter U.S. animal shelters nationwide every year. Of those, approximately 3.1 million are dogs and 3.2 million are cats. Neutering or spaying a pet increases his or her lifespan by an average of three to five years, which is significant in terms of your time spent with your loved one!
1. My dog or cat will be less of a "Man" after his neuter.
In all actuality neutering generally improves the owner/pet bond by allowing the pet to focus less on how to get out and visit the neighboring dog or cat in heat, and instead enjoying the companionship of his owner. Dogs and cats have prostates too, and neutering can help to keep this organ functioning well into the pet's golden years and reduces the chances of prostate cancer dramatically. Believe it or not, neutering is the manly thing to do!
2. My dog or cat will get fat after spaying/neutering.
The spay/neuter procedure is typically done as the pet reaches adulthood. Natural changes in metabolism can occur around that same time in your pet's development. Generally as they reach maturity they will require less calorie intake than they did while they were growing, and food rations must be adjusted accordingly. Spayed and neutered pets only become fat if there are other factors at play such as overfeeding, or metabolic disease such as Hypothyroidism etc.
3. It's too expensive!
Pets in general, are expensive to care for but this is a cost that must be factored in if you are deciding on getting a new puppy or kitten. We offer kitten and puppy packages that when pre-paid will give you a discount on the spay or neuter surgery. There are other organizations that offer low cost spay and neuter clinics in almost every area of the country, and here in Butte County we are lucky to have a few options. Most hospitals take payment options like Care Credit and pet insurance that can also help alleviate the cost of such surgeries. Surgery is expensive for a few reasons, but the main one we are concerned with is safety. The cost of the spay/neuter typically include things like IV fluid support, full monitoring (same as people get under anesthesia!), pre-anesthetic exam and blood panel to ensure that your pet's organs are functioning normally and are in good health so they can tolerate anesthesia, as well as pain management post surgery and an Elizabethan collar to prevent them from damaging themselves during the recovery time period. Please remember that having a pet is a privilege not a right, if you can't afford the cost of the spay or neuter then maybe reconsider the adoption or purchase, or consider adopting an older pet that is already spayed or neutered. The shelters are FULL to the brim with pets in need of a new home and typically the adoption fee covers the cost of the procedure if it hasn't already been done by the adoption agency.
Benefits of Spaying
Cancer and pyometra are our main concerns in terms of avoiding serious medical conditions as females age. Spaying greatly reduces the chances of things like mammary/uterine cancers, and in the case of Pyometra spaying is curative. These medical procedures such as mammary mass removal or pyometra are scary and expensive, as treatment should be pursued as soon as possible. Pyometra is an infection of the uterus, that if left undiagnosed will cause death. A pyometra is an abscessed, pus-filled infected uterus. Toxins and bacteria leak across the uterine walls and into the bloodstream, causing life-threatening toxic effects. The uterus dies, releasing large amounts of pus and dead tissue into the abdomen. Without treatment, death is inevitable. Preventing this disease is one of the main reasons for routinely spaying female dogs and cats. Prevention of such conditions is the best medicine!
An unaltered female cat may go through several heat cycles each year. A cat becomes fertile well before she reaches one year old, which means she could produce dozens of litters of kittens during her lifetime. Cats in heat have loud vocalizations, can act aggressively to try to gain the attention of male cats, and may start urine marking to define her territory. These behaviors make living with your feline companion not only unpleasant but in many cases people will resort to dumping a cat in heat because they can no longer live with such disruptive behavior, or the unwanted litters of kittens. Not only is this illegal, but it also adds greatly to the already critical feral cat situation in our community.
Intact female dogs usually go into heat two times each year, and will become irresistible to any male dogs in the general vicinity. Statistics vary on this topic, but it's generally accepted that males can smell a female in heat anywhere from 3-5 miles away. They will go to great lengths to get to the female, including climbing over or breeding through fences, and even coming in through dog doors. It's nearly impossible to avoid accidental breeding if your unaltered female is not kept strictly confined indoors for the duration of her heat cycle. One of the benefits to spaying is that if an unneutered male dog gets near a spayed female dog, he will not attempt to mate with her. Dogs in heat will also have bloody vaginal discharge, and will need to be kept clean in order to avoid infections such as pyometra, or vulvar dermatitis. Most people choose to use female diapers during the heat cycle, either disposable or washable which can add additional cost and time spent caring for your un-spayed female companion.
Benefits of Neutering
As it is with spaying, neutering can also have similar health benefits in terms of stopping or reducing potentials for prostate and testicular cancers. Both dogs and cats can engage in aggressive behavior in attempts to reach a female, and increased fighting between males is also common and leads to injury. Another common side effect of having an unneutered male is the increased chance for injury in attempts to either get out of their yard, or into another person's yard. We commonly see dogs and cats hit by cars, or have to treat lacerations and abscesses because they were out running around unattended in an attempt at finding the female that they can smell, or fighting over her once she's been located. An increase in aggressiveness may also occur as your pet reaches maturity, and can be surprising to their human family when the dog attempts to bite, and they may even act in a sexual manner towards people with behaviors such as "humping". Unneutered pets also display urine marking behavior to claim a territory as their own. This urine's odor is not only extremely unpleasant, it can be difficult to eliminate. In addition to the unpleasant odor, urine marking becomes a difficult behavior to stop once started. One last thing to consider is that people with altered pets make better neighbors. Neutering greatly reduces chance encounters with aggressive roaming dogs or cats because those dogs and cats are much more likely to remain in the home or yard.
Call us at (530) 877-1942 with any questions you have about scheduling a spay or neuter procedure for your pet.