Within the United States, it is estimated that nearly 80% of family pets are spayed or neutered. If you recently added a pet to your family, you may have been asked if you plan to spay or neuter. There can be many questions regarding the process and why you should consider it for your pet’s wellbeing. This month, we would like to share some of the reasons you should consider spaying or neutering your pet.
Spaying and Neutering
Spaying is a surgical procedure that involves removing a female animal’s reproductive organs to prevent reproduction. This procedure involves removing her ovaries and occasionally the uterus as well. In many cases, the female may no longer experience a heat cycle.
Neutering refers to the surgical procedure performed to prevent a male dog from being able to reproduce. This procedure, also known as castration, involves removing the testicles and other associated reproductive organs.
When Can I Spay or Neuter My Pet?
You can have your pet spayed or neutered at almost any point in their life. However, the American Animal Hospital Association, or AAHA, recommends that most dogs and cats be spayed or neutered around 5 to 6 months of age. For larger or giant breeds, pet owners should wait until their pet is finished growing around 9 to 15 months of age.
For rabbits, females can be spayed around the age of sexual maturity around 6 months of age while males can be neutered once the testicles descend.
It is important to note that each pet is unique, your vet will conduct a thorough physical examination and discuss when treatment is ideal for your pet.
Benefits of Treatment
You can increase your pet’s chance of living a long and healthy life. Spaying or neutering your pet can reduce their risk of developing serious health conditions such as mammary cancer, pyometra, testicular cancer, and prostate problems.
In some cases, treatment may also reduce the frequency of unwanted behaviors such as urine-marking, roaming for females in heat, mounting, and lower levels of aggression. However, treatment is not a cure for behavioral problems and is not proven to eliminate these behaviors or change their behavior.
If you wish to prevent unwanted litters or help decrease the number of homeless animals in need, then spaying or neutering can be an ideal treatment option.
We are dedicated to helping you ensure your pet lives a happy and healthy life as such as we cannot make a blanket recommendation. Instead, we are here to help you navigate your pet’s health plan and make an educated decision about how best to care for them. Just like you, your pet has his or her quirks, personality, and needs so their care must be customized to suit their health and your family’s lifestyle. For more information on spaying and neutering or to schedule an appointment, contact Hunt Valley Animal Hospital today.