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May 08 2014

The importance of Spaying and Neutering your pet

When it comes to the health of our beloved pets there are many simple things we can do to keep them with us as long as possible. Having your pet spayed or neutered when they are young is very important. It prevents much more than just unwanted puppies and kittens.

Did you know that unaltered pets are at a much higher risk for certain cancers?   For the female pet the more heat cycles they go through in their life the greater their chances of developing breast cancer. If you have them spayed before they ever go through a heat cycle their chance of breast cancer is almost non-existent. In your male pets prostate and testicular cancer can develop the longer they go without being neutered.

Female dogs and cats can become very ill from a condition called pyometra if they are left unaltered. Pyometra is when the uterus becomes infected. This is a very serious condition and is almost always fatal if not treated. Treatment for a  pet with pyometra an emergency spay.  But keep in mind that it is a much riskier surgery in a sick and compromised older patient then in a young puppy or kitten who has a healthy uterus.  It is also much more expensive due to the increased costs associated with a sick pet and the increased surgery time required to safely remove a uterus that is distended with pus.  The recovery is also much harder for the pet.

Male dogs can have enlarged prostates if left unneutered.  This can cause general discomfort and lead to problems having bowel movements as well as urinating normally.  They are also at risk of developing prostatitis which is an extremely painful infection of the prostate.  Neutering is the only solution and even then it takes time for the prostate to shrink back to normal size.

Consider how much simpler it will be for you and your female pet to not have to deal with a heat cycle.  When your female dog goes into heat she will bleed.  This can get on the furniture or wherever she goes in the house for the duration of the heat cycle. Generally a heat cycle can last for 5-14 days and can happen twice a year. You also have to worry about keep an extra close eye on her so she does not become accidentally impregnated by any male dogs in the area.

“Female dogs, like males, have an increased risk of aggression if left intact. Estrus can cause moodiness, and hormone changes in pregnancy can make some females downright aggressive. Her attitude can change overnight. If your dog is going to have contact with children, that’s another reason to seriously consider spay/neuter. With estrus, intact female dogs may show erratic behavior, signs of pain that may be similar to cramping in humans, and a greatly increased propensity to get out of the house or fenced yard. Some dogs stay clean, while others may leave stains around the house. You won’t be able to leave her outdoors unsupervised for even a second because the scent of her urine (she will urinate quite frequently) attracts male from a mile or so away. When a female dog is in heat, both she and the intact males in her vicinity will show changes of behavior, and many of the spay/neutered dogs in the vicinity will, too. It is not fun managing a female dog in estrous.” (taken from VIN.com, client education section – Kathy Diamond Davis article)

Intact male dogs end up lost and in shelters, or worse, hit by cars more than neutered male dogs.  This is because their drive to find females in heat and to mark their territory is very great.  This marking of their territory is not limited to the outside and intact male dogs are the most challenging to keep from urinating in the house.

“A male dog who remains intact experiences a huge increase in testosterone in adolescence. At several months of age, the male’s testosterone level can be several times that of an adult male! This gives a real jump start to hormone-related behaviors, including urine marking in your house, aggression toward other male dogs, territorial aggression, and escape-oriented behavior in order to roam. Some male dogs, especially tiny terriers and hounds, may be impossible to housetrain if you wait too long to neuter them.” (taken from VIN.com, client education section – Kathy Diamond Davis article)

If you have any further questions on the benefits or spaying/neutering your pet please do not hesitate to contact the Carroll County Veterinary Clinic at 410-848-3100.

Full article from VIN.com can be found at:

http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&A=1570

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