Spaying and Neutering: We Help You Decide
You may have already considered spaying and neutering your pets and you're unsure if this is a wise decision. You're not alone in this, as many pet owners receive conflicting advice regarding the necessity of pet neutering and spaying.
If you're still undecided, this blog post will give helpful insight on the surgery process, as well as on the pros and cons of spaying and neutering, to help you make the best decision.
What are Spaying and Neutering?
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), a spay or ovariohysterectomy surgically removes a female cat or dog's uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. She is rendered infertile. And behaviours associated with the breeding instinct, such as heat cycles, are eliminated.
Further, AVMA defines neutering as removing a male cat or dog's testes. Similar to spaying, neutering also eliminates breeding behaviours.
However, other alternatives to spaying and neutering are as follows:
Vasectomy: The only organ removed is the vas deferens, which transports sperm from the testes. The dog or cat cannot reproduce after this surgery, but the testes will continue to generate hormones. The breeding instinct could still manifest.
Hysterectomy: In a female dog or cat, the uterus and a portion of the fallopian tubes are removed. Her ovaries are still present and will continue to generate hormones, but she can't reproduce. The behaviours of the dog or cat linked to the breeding instinct could still exist after this.
Ovariectomy: A female dog or cat's uterus removing the ovaries while keeping the uterus. This surgery renders her incapable of procreating. And breeding instinct-related behaviour and heat cycle are also eliminated.
- Nonsurgical Sterilisation: Several FDA-approved products can be used as short-term contraceptives, help block sperm production, or suppress libido and fertility.
Pros and Cons of Spaying and Neutering
Pros of Spaying
- Removes the risk of unwanted kittens or puppies
The mother's health may be at risk during birth as some new mothers may experience significant difficulties giving birth or feeding. You can prevent these potential issues by having your Fluffy Friend spayed.
- Limits the desire to roam
Animals no longer desire to travel in search of a mate if they are spayed. So, they stay home and are less likely to be involved in accidents.
- Reduces health problems
Spayed female pets have a lower uterine, ovarian, or reproductive tract cancer risk—also, spaying guards against uterine infections. Additionally, spaying her before she turns 2.5 years old lowers the risk of developing breast cancer.
- Improves cleanliness and mood
Additionally, spay surgery reduces messy spotting, and since there will be no heat cycles, your pets are calmer and will no longer attract other dogs or cats.
Cons of Spaying
Sterilisation means your pet won't be pregnant, and you won't have kittens or puppies. So, the lineage ends.
- Likelihood of weight gain
Spayed cats and dogs may have weight gain as they age. They would need to exercise or diet to lose weight. Reducing food consumption or upping your pet's exercise level will prevent weight gain.
- Possibility of hypothyroidism
Spaying your furball opens her to the possibility of hypothyroidism due to the surgery's impact on the endocrine system. Even with a healthy diet, a dog with low thyroid levels will gain weight and become obese.
In addition, your fur baby may lose hair and become lethargic and exhausted. Vets recommend medication for hypothyroidism.
- Risk of cancers and complications
Studies show that spaying increases the risk of developing severe canine malignancies like hemangiosarcoma and lymphoma. Hemangiosarcoma affects the heart and spleen, which ordinarily would have been shielded by the reproductive organs.
Another potential risk of spaying is if it is done incorrectly or at the wrong age. There's a risk for irregular bone growth, urinary incontinence, and bone cancer. The surgery may also alter how the reproductive parts look.
Pros of Neutering
- Reduces marking or spaying
Your male pet's desire to "mark" his territory can be avoided by neutering him. For dog owners, you may have caught your pup lifting his leg and spraying. It's common for unneutered dogs to mark your home.
- Lessen the risk of roaming
Neutered pets have a lesser chance of roaming, and they can avoid fights with other pets. They're significantly less likely to get contagious infections from outside.
- Reduces the risk of testicular cancer and prostate diseases
Another benefit of neutering is that neutered animals typically experience fewer health issues. Since the testicles are removed during neutering, testicular cancer is no longer a concern.
- Possibility of longevity
According to a study based on the medical data of more than 70,000 dogs, neutered male dogs had a 13.8% longer life expectancy. In comparison, spayed female dogs had a 26.3% longer life expectancy.
- Assists in population control
Pet statistics from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) show that some 6.3 million animals are brought into animal shelters annually in the United States. About 3.2 million are cats, while dogs make up about 3.1 million.
Approximately 920,000 animals in shelters are put to death every year, with 390,000 of that number being dogs and 530,000 being cats.
These numbers can be reduced through neutering.
Cons of Neutering
Same as spaying, neutering your pets will end their lineage. So, don't have him fixed if you intend to breed your pet.
- Plausible weight gain
Some animals put on weight following neutering. Reducing his calorie intake or upping his activity level can help stop the weight increase.
- Possible mood changes
Some Fluffy Friends show signs of depression or even aggression after neutering, as their hormones are regulating all over again.
Should I Spay or Neuter My Pets?
Reproductive hormones influence mating behaviours that many pet owners may find undesirable, but they also impact your pet's general health and can be helpful.
These hormones are removed when your pet's ovaries or testicles are removed, which might increase the risk of health issues like cancer and urinary incontinence.
Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of sterilisation with your veterinarian to make an educated choice.
Spaying and neutering are serious operations, but they're also the most frequent operations performed on cats and dogs by veterinarians.
Sterilisation has some anaesthetic and surgical risks, like any surgical operation, although the general incidence of problems is relatively low.
When to Spay or Neuter My Pet?
Your pet receives a complete physical examination before the treatment to ensure they're in good health. The operation is performed with your pet under general anaesthesia and painkillers. After the surgery, you'll need to keep your pet calm and rested while the incision heals.
Make sure to make them as comfortable as possible and use an anxiety-relieving bed.
Related: What to do if Your Dog has Anxiety?
DISCLAIMER: If your dog is suffering from anxiety and showing bad behaviour, what they probably need is attention and training. Spaying and neutering shouldn’t be used as a tool to change or fix behavioural issues!
De-sexing your pet appears worthwhile because the pros of spaying and neutering exceed the cons. Planning to spay or neuter your pets while they're young is a good idea, but you shouldn't rush into it. Also, make sure to prepare to take care of your baby post-surgery.
Always consult a veterinarian before deciding on your pet's health and welfare. Ultimately, it would be your decision if you'll have your Fluffy Friend spayed or neutered. And we hope that we have helped you with your decision.