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Why & When To Spay Or Neuter Your Pet

Why & When To Spay Or Neuter Your Pet

If you have just gotten a new pet and you're wondering why you should have your pet spayed or neutered and when is the best time to do it, our Natick vets can help. They will provide you with information on why and when is the best time to spay or neuter your pet.

About Spaying or Neutering Your Pet

It is estimated that 6.5 million unwanted animals enter US shelters every year. One essential way to help reduce the number of unwanted pets is to get your pet spayed or neutered.

There are several terms used when discussing surgeries used to sterilize pets, so let's begin by clarifying what we are discussing in this article. Getting your pet 'fixed' means that your pet (male or female) is going to be operated on to prevent them from being able to produce babies. Getting a pet fixed can involve either spaying or neutering.

  • Spaying- involves removing a female pet's reproductive organs via either an ovariectomy (removing only the ovaries) or an ovariohysterectomy (removing both uterus and ovaries). After the vet has spayed your female pet, her heat cycle will be eliminated and she will not be able to have babies.
  • Neutering- is also known as castration and involves a vet removing both testicles, along with their associated structures. Your neutered pet will not be able to reproduce. Though alternative options, such as vasectomies for male pets (where the tubes which conduct sperm from the testes are severed) are available, they are not usually performed.

Wondering what the benefits of having your pet spayed or neutered are? Learn more about it HERE.

What Is The Best Age to Spay or Neuter Your Pet?

Up until recently, it has been common practice to advise pet parents to have their pets spayed or neutered when they are between 6 - 9 months of age, however, more and more often that advice is being questioned. It can be different for each pet so check with your Natick vets to learn when the best time to have your pet spayed or neutered is.

Risks Associated with Spaying & Neutering

Some recent studies appear to show that spaying or neutering pets at that age may, in some pets, lead to an increased risk of conditions such as joint disorders, cranial cruciate injuries, and some cancers. These increased levels of health risks appear to be related to how sex hormones affect each animal's musculoskeletal, cardiovascular and immune systems develop, and the age at which different breeds reach sexual maturity. 

Benefits Of Having Your Pet Spayed Or Neutered

Population Control

Your pet may be mature enough to have babies of her own before she is even six months old. By spaying your female pet before she is mature enough to have babies, you help to reduce the population of unwanted pets in your neighborhood. 

Not only that, but many pets can have multiple litters every year so that can lead to a lot of unwanted pets running around.

Animal Health

Spaying your kitten before she has her first heat can help to reduce her risk of pyometra (infection of the womb) as well as mammary tumors. It's also important to note that female cats carrying infectious diseases can pass serious conditions on to their kittens who go on to spread the disease even further. Pregnancy and the birth process can be risky for young cats, and costly to their owners. 

Save Wildlife

It is estimated that cats in the US kill between 1.4 billion and 3.7 billion birds each year. Keeping the number of homeless cats to a minimum can help to save the lives of countless birds and other wildlife.

Deter Nuisance Behaviors

Pets who are not spayed/neutered will go into heat frequently throughout the year, attracting males from across the neighborhood to your home and garden. Unneutered male pets around your property, looking for a female, can be problematic since these males tend to spray, fight and make a lot of noise. Spaying your female pet can help to keep male pets away from your property.

Plan Well Ahead for Your Pet's Spay or Neuter Surgery

In recent years the number of pets across North America has greatly increased, resulting in the need to plan well ahead of time when it comes to treatments such as spay and neuter operations. As soon as your vet gives you an idea of the best age to get your pet fixed, book the surgery, even if it's months in advance. Booking your pet's appointment last minute can result in long delays leading to female pet's going into heat cycles, the development of undesirable behaviors, or unplanned babies.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Ready to book your pet's spay or neuter surgery, or just want more information on getting your pet fixed? Call Wellesley-Natick Veterinary Hospital to book an appointment with our experienced Natick vets.

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Wellesley-Natick Veterinary Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Natick companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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