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Spaying and Neutering: important health benefits


Drs. Foster & Smith Educational Staff
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To Spay or Neuter To Spay or Neuter
Spaying or neutering is one of the best ways to ensure your pet's long, healthy life – and help to reduce the large number of pets euthanized in shelters each year. Spaying and neutering also provide several very important health and behavioral benefits for your pet – and your entire household.

Spaying (ovariohysterectomy) is the removal of the uterus and both ovaries in females. Neutering is the removal of both testicles in males. These procedures render the animal sterile, and they also cease production of the reproductive hormones (i.e. estrogen and progesterone in females, testosterone in males). Though essential for reproduction, these hormones can have undesired side effects – which are eliminated with spaying/neutering.

Spayed female cats no longer have a heat cycle, and no longer exhibit the loud, nearly constant vocalizing of a cat in heat. In addition, if your cat is spayed before her first heat cycle, you may reduce the chance of development of mammary cancer. And, of course, once your cat is spayed you no longer have the problem of trying to find homes for unplanned litters of kittens.

Likewise, a neutered male cat no longer responds to females in heat, so he is much less likely to roam long distances or fight with other male cats over territory. Neutered male cats are also much less likely to mark their territory by spraying urine on household surfaces like drapes or furniture. Also, the urine odor of a neutered male cat is less strong than the urine odor of an intact male cat.

In the United States, most pets are spayed/ neutered between 5 and 8 months of age. Today’s laser spay/neuter procedures make the surgery less invasive, with less blood loss, less swelling, and faster healing for your pet. Spaying or neutering is a healthy choice we make for our pets, one that results in fewer pet euthanizations and better overall quality of life for our cherished pets.

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