We recommend spay/neuter at five to six months of age, prior to sexual maturity. Sexual maturity generally occurs between five and twelve months of age, depending on genetics.
An ovariohysterectomy, or spay, involves the complete surgical removal of a female's ovaries and uterus. The ovaries produce hormones that are responsible for heat cycles and potential behavior problems. It is a myth that females should be allowed to go through one heat cycle before spaying. If sterilization occurs before the first heat cycle the incidence of mammary cancer development later in life is greatly reduced.
Spaying also prevents pyometra, a serious uterine infection. This condition causes the pet to be very sick and can be fatal. Emergency surgery is usually required.
Often our male clients cringe at the mention of castration, but as with females the benefits are lifelong. Neutering is the male sterilization procedure. It involves the surgical removal of the testicles. One of the most important benefits involves the prostate gland, which under the influence of testosterone will gradually enlarge over the course of the dog's life. This enlargement can become uncomfortable and affect bowel and urinary function. Prostatic infections can also occur and can seed to the kidneys. Other health benefits of neutering include the prevention of certain types of tumors of the testicles and anus.
In addition to the health benefits, some undesirable, hormone-driven behaviors can be controlled. Intact male dogs and cats are prone to wander in search of females, increasing their risk of fighting with unvaccinated/diseased animals and being hit by cars. Females in heat may vocalize excessively, show nervous or anxious behavior and attract unwanted males.
Spaying and neutering is also a commitment to your community. Approximately 71 percent of cats and kittens, and 55 percent of dogs and puppies entering shelters are euthanized. One female cat and her offspring can produce 420,000 cats in 7 years. One female dog and her offspring can produce 67,000 dogs in 6 years.
Veterinary science has proven that spaying/neutering your pet is in the best interest of your pet's health. Please don't avoid this routine surgery because of myths or fears. We strive to make this one-time procedure as safe and pain-free as possible. Please discuss any questions or concerns about these procedures with our staff!