Spaying or Neutering your Vail Valley and Eagle Pets
Spaying & Neutering Your Pet
A sad reality in our world today is that every day, thousands of unwanted animals, even kittens and puppies, are euthanized. However, as a responsible pet owner, you can make a difference in helping lower this statistic. In scheduling a spay or neuter for your playful pup or cuddly kitty, you can do your part to prevent the birth of animals that may never receive the loving care they deserve. Spaying and neutering dogs and cats helps prevent unwanted litters, protects against the development of some serious health problems, and may reduce many of the behavioral problems associated with the mating instinct. Removing a dog or cat’s reproductive organs eliminates bodily functions such as heat cycles and mating instincts and generally reduces behaviors associated with hormones in intact pets that may lead to owner frustration, including roaming and marking behaviors. Early spaying of female dogs and cats can help protect them from health issues later in life such as uterine infections and mammary cancer. Neutering your male pet can also lessen the risk of developing benign prostatic hyperplasia (enlarged prostate gland) and testicular cancer. Your pet’s intelligence and ability to learn will not be affected and they will be able to play, work or hunt normally. Additionally, many pets may even be more well-behaved following their surgery, which can make them more desirable companions.
While it is important not to belittle the fact that a spay (typically an ovariohysterectomy) or a neuter (orchiectomy) is a full surgical procedure under general anesthesia, these are also some of the most common surgeries performed by veterinarians on cats and dogs. Like any surgical procedure, sterilization is associated with anesthetic and surgical risk of complications, but the overall incidence of these complications is fairly low. Removing the reproductive organs also means that the hormones they naturally produce are significantly decreased—this can help reduce the mating behaviors that may be undesirable for many pet owners. However, this can also result in increased risk of health problems such as urinary incontinence and certain types of cancer. There are many different things to consider when choosing the age at which to spay your dog or cat. Usually, the timing of a spay or neuter depends on the species, breed, expected adult size, and any other pre-existing health issues of the pet. It will be important to talk with your veterinarian about the benefits and risks of the procedure for your pet so that you can make an informed decision.
What to expect during and after surgery
Before the procedure, your pet is given a thorough physical examination to ensure that he/she is in good health. General anesthesia is administered to perform the surgery and medications are given to minimize pain. You will be asked to keep your pet calm and quiet for a few days after surgery as the incision begins to heal. This is important as too much activity can cause complications such as excessive bleeding, sutures breaking, or fluid collection under the incision site. It will be important to prevent your pet from licking or chewing the incision (usually by having them wear a cone) as the bacteria and moisture from the mouth can cause infection or dehiscence of the surgery site. Some pets will need skin sutures removed, and others may have sutures that will dissolve on their own. Usually a brief recheck appointment is recommended 7-10 days after surgery to ensure your pet has recovered well and they are healing appropriately.
In the end, owners of intact dogs and cats will be faced with the decision of if and when to spay or neuter their pet. It is an important decision, and to ensure the best outcome and to maintain the highest quality of health for your furry family member, making an appointment with your veterinarian to discuss the individual needs of your pet is the best first step to take to ensure they live a long and happy life.