What It Means To Get A Pet Fixed
When we talk about getting an animal 'fixed' we are using a generic term for the sterilization of a pet. Female animals are sterilized by removing their reproductive organs. Sterilization of male animals is done by removing the testes.
Reasons To Spay or Neuter Your Cat
Pet parents may feel reluctant to have their cat fixed, especially if they intend for their cat to remain indoors full-time. Nonetheless, there are some very good reasons why our vets believe that your cat should be sterilized regardless of whether they are indoor homebodies or outdoor adventurers:
- Protect your cat's health - Fixing a female cat, especially before the first heat, helps prevent uterine infections, uterine cancers, and breast cancer. Fixing male cats eliminate the chances of testicular cancer and lower the risk of prostate problems. Generally, sterilized pets live healthier, longer, and happier lives.
- Enjoy a more behaved cat - Sterilized cats are better behaved. They will be less likely to roam, yowl, wail, bite, display aggressive behavior, or spray or mark their territory. Intact males will do just about anything they can to find mates, including escaping from your home, which puts them at risk of injury or fights with other males. Roaming can also expose your cat to dangerous diseases, including feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiency virus.
- Fight overpopulation - Millions of healthy cats are euthanized in the U.S. each year because there aren't enough homes available. Sterilization can help control the pet overpopulation crisis and reduce the number of strays, which end up in shelters instead of loving homes. Unfortunately, many end up homeless and are left to fend for themselves.
- More cost-effective - The long-term costs you could incur by not fixing your feline friend can be excessive. Treating cancers of the reproductive system can be quite costly, as is caring for a new litter of kittens. Additionally, unaltered pets can be more destructive and may engage in serious fights with neighborhood strays, often requiring pricey treatments.
- Your cat will be happier to stay home - One of the reasons fixed cats live so much longer is that they are less likely to wander away from home and fight with other male cats. Sterilizatoin stops the production of testosterone. This hormone leads to more aggressive behavior.
Reasons to Spay or Neuter Your Dog
Our vets feel that getting your dog fixed is an important part of caring for your pet's overall health and wellbeing. Below are just a few reasons why you should do it.
- Population control - According to the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), approximately 3.3 million dogs enter shelters every year across the USA. Fixing your dog is the best way for you to help reduce the overall number of unplanned puppies each year while improving your pet's behavior and reducing their risk of some serious health conditions.
- Prevent disease - Sterilization helps to prevent male dogs from developing testicular cancer and helps to prevent serious health problems from affecting your female dog such as pyometra, (a potentially life-threatening uterine infection), and mammary cancer.
- Curb unwanted behaviors - These procedures can also help to curb a number of undesirable behaviors such as dog aggression, roaming and straying, and humping or mounting.
- Save money - Treating cancers of the reproductive system can be quite costly, as is caring for a dog throughout pregnancy and caring for puppies. Not only that, unaltered pets can be more destructive indoors and in your yard and may engage in serious fights with neighborhood strays, often requiring trips to the emergency vet.
- Your dog will be more contented to stay home - Male dogs that have not been fixed are very likely to try to escape on a regular basis to go in search of female dog's that are in heat. Unaccompanied roaming can lead to an increased risk of being hit by a car or becoming lost or stolen. Having your dog fixed can help them to feel more contented to be at home with you.
The Best Time To Get Your Pet Fixed
There are a number of factors that can influence the timing of these procedures, however, most vets recommend the following:
- Cats should be fixed before they are 5 months old since female cats can become pregnant as young as 4 months of age!
Dogs in Shelters
- Dogs in shelters are often fixed when they are very young in order to help limit the birth of unwanted puppies in the area. It is estimated that 6.5 million unwanted animals enter US shelters every year. Spaying and neutering operations may be done as early as 6 weeks for pets in shelters.
- Up until recently, it has been common practice to advise pet parents to have their pets spayed or neutered when the dog is between 6 - 9 months of age, however, more and more often that advice is being questioned.
- Some recent studies appear to show that spaying or neutering pets at 6-9 months old may, in some breeds, lead to an increased risk of conditions such as joint disorders, cranial cruciate injuries, and some cancers. Many vets now recommend that you wait until your dog reaches sexual maturity before getting them fixed. In small breeds this happens much younger than large and giant breeds. So it's important to check with your vet to determine the best age to get your dog fixed.
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.