Why You Should Spay or Neuter Your Pet for Their Health

Why should I spay my pet?
We’ve all heard of breast cancer in women. With approximately one in eight women falling victim to this form of cancer, what many pet owners do not know is that the incidence of breast cancer development in dogs and cats is higher with one in four intact female dogs/cats affected. By spaying your pet before they have their first menstrual cycle there is ZERO chance they can ever develop this disease. The average age a dog has their first heat is 6 months of age, but can be as early as 5 months in small breeds. The average age of a cat’s first heat cycle has their first heat is 6 months of age, but can be as early as 4 months.

If you cannot spay your pet before this time, there are still numerous advantages to having the procedure done as soon as possible. Some of the benefits include prevention of potential life threatening complications with birthing of puppies/kittens, uterine infections, diabetes, bone marrow toxicity, hair loss, pyometra (the uterus becomes very infected, fills with pus and becomes life threatening), behavior problems and of course, pet population

Why should I neuter my pet?
Neutering, or removing your pet’s testicles, is paramount in their behavioral development as well as their health. Much of a male canine or feline’s behavior is driven by a hormone called testosterone, which is primarily made in the testicles. This hormone increases their sense of being leader of the pack and behavior that follows including, urinating in the house, mounting/humping, and inter-animal aggression. Research has shown that the #1 behavior decreased by neutering your cat is running away from home or “wandering”.

As in human males, there are numerous testosterone related problems with the prostate. Luckily in pets you can stop this hormone from being produced by shutting down the factory. This will eliminate your favorite boy from developing prostatic abscesses, enlarged prostate (BPH), and cancers that can all be extremely painful and make it very difficult to even urinate. In addition to these infections, keeping your pet’s testicles intact dramatically increases the chance of developing painful ulcerative lesions around their anus as well as hernias.

In conclusion, there are many beneficial reasons to spay or neuter your pet which may be further discussed with your veterinarian at Encina Veterinary Hospital in Walnut Creek, California.

Jared Jaffey, DVM