Each year, approximately 1.5 million dogs and cats are euthanized in animal shelters in the U.S., but that number represents a decrease since 2011 when 2.6 million euthanizations occurred. Part of the reason for the decrease may be the strong push to have pets spayed or neutered.
Spaying is the sterilization surgery for female pets. It is comparable to a human hysterectomy. During the surgery, the ovaries and uterus are both removed. As a result, your pet will not go into heat. It is usually recommended that female pets be spayed before they go into their first heat -- usually around six months. Many pets can be spayed earlier than this however, depending on their health and their ability to handle being put under anesthesia.
In addition to not getting pregnant or going into heat, many pets become slightly calmer and a bit better behaved. Training will still be necessary, however. They also experience fewer health problems throughout their lives. Unspayed pets are prone to breast, uterine and ovarian cancers, as well as other infections that are sometimes fatal.
Neutering is the surgical removal of the testicles, which results in a male pet becoming sterile. It helps to reduce behaviors such as roaming -- which can cause your pet to get himself into a dangerous predicament with another animal or be hit by a car. Make pets are also less likely to be aggressive and may be better behaved in general -- without losing their personality. Like female pets, male pets also are healthier for having been neutered. They have fewer infections and escape afflictions such as testicular cancer and prostate problems.
The biggest, and most valid concern pet owners have about spaying or neutering their pet is that it is surgery, which means that your pet will need to go under the knife and be anesthetized. At Boyd Lake Veterinary Center in Loveland, our veterinarian understands that spay or neuter surgery is a big step for pet parents, as well as pets. We fully examine your pet before performing surgery to make sure that your pet is strong enough to handle it.
After the surgery, we fully explain what needs to be done for wound care. Neither male or female pets should be allowed to bother their incision site, but females may take a little longer to recover. If your pet is experiencing discomfort, your vet will prescribe appropriate pain medication to get them through the first few days. Some keep their pet away from the incision by using an Elizabethan collar, or they may have them wear clothing that covers the incision area. It is also important to keep activity levels low while the incisions heal.
To learn more about spay or neuter surgery, or to discuss the right timing for your pet contact Boyd Lake Veterinary Center in Loveland, CO at 970-593-1717 to schedule an appointment.