Pet Care Series: 8 Steps to Keep Your Pet Healthy – Spay and Neuter
At University Pet Hospital, it is our mission to be the most reliable, responsible and respected providers of veterinary services to pets and their owners. It is through continuous education of our staff that we are able to better provide the care your pet needs to live a long healthy life.
In our pet healthcare series, we will take a look at the eight steps you should take to ensure your pet remains in prime health.
This week, we will take a look at the fifth step: Spaying and Neutering. In every community, in every state, there are thousands of homeless animals. In the U.S., there are an estimated 6-8 million homeless animals entering animal shelters every year. Barely half of these animals are adopted; the rest are euthanized. What’s worse is these are not the offspring of homeless “street” animals – these are healthy, sweet pets who would have made great companions.
Many people are surprised to learn that nationwide, more than 2.7 million healthy, adoptable cats and dogs are euthanized in shelters annually. Spay/neuter is the ONLY permanent, 100 percent effective method of birth control for dogs and cats.
Your pet’s health
Through neutering, you can help your dog or cat live a happier, healthier, longer life. Spaying eliminates the constant crying and nervous pacing of a female cat in heat. Spaying a female dog also eliminates the messiness associated with the heat cycle.
Neutering of male dogs and cats can prevent certain undesirable sexual behaviors, such as urine marking, humping, male aggression and the urge to roam. If you have more than one pet in your household, all the pets will generally get along better if they are neutered.
A long-term benefit of spaying and neutering is improved health for both cats and dogs. Spaying females prior to their first heat cycle nearly eliminates the risk of breast cancer and totally prevents uterine infections and uterine cancer. Neutering males prevents testicular cancer and enlargement of the prostate gland, and greatly reduces their risk for perianal tumors.
Many pet owners worry spaying or neutering will affect the playfulness of their companion. While getting your pets spayed/neutered will help curb undesirable behaviors, rest assured it will not change their fundamental personality, like their protective instinct.
Spaying and neutering are good for rabbits, too
Part of being conscientious about the pet overpopulation problem is to spay or neuter your pet rabbits, too. Rabbits reproduce much faster than dogs or cats and often end up in shelters, where they must be euthanized. Neutering male rabbits can reduce hormone-driven behavior such as lunging, mounting, spraying, and boxing.
And just as with dogs and cats, spayed female rabbits are less likely to get ovarian, mammary, and uterine cancers, which can be prevalent in mature females.
The cost of caring for a pet, including providing veterinary care, should be considered before acquiring an animal. Many animal shelters offer low-cost spay/neuter services, and there are also many low-cost spay/neuter clinics across the country. To find low-cost options in your area, call your local animal shelter.
The reality is that the cost associated with providing adequate care for just one litter of puppies or kittens is often more than the cost of spaying or neutering. The cost of feeding, worming and first vaccinations for a litter can be upwards of $200 to $300. You must also consider that there could be complications with the birth that require hospitalization or surgery. You will also be faced with finding good homes for the offspring yourself or placing more animals into your local shelter. The cost of the well-being of not just your companion animal, but of future generations, should be considered.
Millions of pet deaths each year are a needless tragedy. By spaying and neutering your pet, you can be an important part of the solution.