Spaying and neutering pets is a healthy and common practice in the veterinary field. It is necessary to control populations of stray animals, and also has important medical benefits in our pets. Male dogs that are neutered at an appropriate age are found to have less aggressive tendencies, less of an urge to mark, and also exhibit less humping of other pets and people. Male cats have a decreased desire to roam, spray, and be territorial towards other cats. Neutering also decreases a male pet’s risk of prostate cancer. In female pets, spaying is important to cease their heat cycles, decrease stress, and keep from attracting male intact pets. Intact (unspayed) female dogs are also at a higher risk of pyometra, which is an infection of the uterus that can occur rapidly, and can be very deadly if not treated right away with surgery.
So what happens during a spay or neuter surgery? Your pet is placed under general anesthesia, and hooked up to an anesthesia machine. A small patch of fur will be shaved from the surgery site. In neuter surgeries, the veterinarian will make a small incision and remove your pet’s testicles, then suture the site closed again. Spay surgeries are generally a little more complicated, as the veterinarian will go in to remove the ovaries and entire uterus. Then, the patient is allowed to wake up from anesthesia, administered pain medications, and kept in the clinic overnight to make sure they stay calm and recover properly. Your pet will then be sent home the next day with a cone to keep them from biting at their stitches, and some pain medications if necessary. Depending on what sutures your veterinarian used, your pet may need to come back in about 10-14 days to have the sutures removed.
Spaying or neutering your pet can seem like a scary procedure, but it is a very quick and common one, and there is only a small risk to your pet. Always talk over any concerns you have with your veterinarian, make sure you know all the risks involved should you decide to leave your pet intact.