Spaying and Neutering health benefits
Drs. Foster & Smith Educational Staff

Spaying or neutering is one of the best ways to ensure your pet's long, healthy life, and reduces the large number of pets euthanized in shelters each year. Spaying and neutering also provide several very important health and behavioral benefits.
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, but 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 many undesired side effects – which are eliminated with spaying/neutering.

Spayed females no longer have heat cycles and associated vaginal bleeding, and are much less prone to the risky behavior of escaping the yard in search of a mate (and risking exposure to traffic and other hazards). Likewise, a neutered male no longer senses or responds to females in heat, so he no longer displays the typical stressed-out, hardto- control, and roaming behaviors. Neutering notably curbs aggression between male dogs, too.

Spaying prevents ovarian cancer in females, and if you spay before your pet's first heat cycle you can significantly reduce the chance of development of mammary cancer. Neutering prevents male testicular cancer and decreases the risk of prostate cancer. Spaying/ neutering also reduces the risk of development of noncancerous tumors triggered by reproductive hormones.

An unspayed female pet also has a much greater risk of a type of uterine infection known as pyometra, which occurs as a result of hormonal changes during a heat cycle. In the United States, most pets are spayed/neutered between 5 and 8 months of age. Today’s laser procedures make the surgery less invasive, with less blood loss and swelling and faster healing for your pet. Spaying or neutering is a healthy choice we make for our pets, resulting in fewer pet euthanizations and better quality of life.