Why should I spay or neuter my pet?

There are numerous reasons to spay or neuter your pet. Many include health reasons and your pet being a better companion animal. The earlier you spay/neuter your pet, the better. Younger animals heal quicker and have fewer complications (plus, the surgery is WAY easier on the surgeon too!). The following will break down the benefits for each species and gender. A good thing to remember if you live in Los Angeles: YOU MUST spay and neuter your dog or cat if it is over four months of age – it is the law! Violations are subject to high fines and after the third fine violation, non-compliance is a misdemeanor charge.

Spaying female dogs prior to their first heat cycle (heat cycles can start as young as 5-6 months of age) will reduce your dog’s chance of breast cancer by 22%. Spaying your dog will also prevent heat cycles from occurring. Heat cycles can occur every 6-8 months. This cycling can be very hard on your dog. Heat cycles can also lead to a life threatening condition called pyometra. Pyometra is when the uterus fills with bacteria and pus. This emergency situation leads to death and the only way to prevent it from occurring is spaying your pet. There are many misconceptions about dogs and having litters. Having a litter will not make your female dog a better pet. There are no behavioral differences that occur from not allowing your dog to have a litter and, as stated earlier, you dog will have a healthier life with a lower chance of cancer by spaying before going into heat. Your dog will also not get fat after spaying. Putting on weight occurs from feeding your dog too much and not giving them enough exercise. Obesity is prevented by you (the owner), not keeping your dog intact.

Neutering male dogs prior to six months of age can help many undesirable behaviors such as marking, roaming, and inappropriate sexual activities. Your dog will have an extremely strong desire to mate if left intact, and therefore will roam. Intact male dogs are 75% of the dogs that are hit by cars – they run away from their owners’ home in order to find female dogs. Intact male dogs are also unfortunately over 80% of the dogs that die from getting hit by a car. These facts show that it is healthier for your dog to get neutered and have a longer life, but there are also many conditions and cancers that are prevented by neutering – testicular cancer, prostate enlargement, and perianal fistulas. Dogs do not have emotional attachments to their reproductive tissues like people do! Do not sacrifice your pets’ health for something that you have a problem with! I promise your dog won’t blame you for making the decision to give him a better life.

Continual heat cycles are very hard on female cats. Many cats will cycle in and out of heat (unless they get pregnant) for every one to three weeks, six to ten months out of the year. Cats’ behavior during their heat cycle is extremely undesirable. They are very loud, agitated, and constantly rub against anything they can find – furniture, people, walls, etc. Mammary cancer is detrimental to female cats. Ninety percent of breast cancers in cats are malignant – they spread quickly. The best way to prevent breast cancer is spaying before six months of age (90% reduction in risk for developing mammary cancer).

Neutering male cats prior to six months of age can help many undesirable behaviors such as marking, roaming, and fighting. If cats are not neutered when they are young and these behaviors begin, it is very unlikely that they will be reduced by neutering. Intact male cat urine is also extremely strong and putrid. Neutering a male cat will stop the strong urine smell from being present.

When dogs and cats are spayed or neutered when they are young, it prevents many bad habits – aggression, inappropriate sexual activity, roaming, and marking. Performing this procedure allows your pet to be more loyal and stay close to home – it will not have a constant desire to procreate, try to escape, and find a mate.

There is always a risk undergoing anesthesia for any animal (including humans). However, we take every necessary precaution that we can to prevent anesthetic complications. Every animal undergoes a thorough examination of its heart and lungs to make sure it can withstand anesthesia. Many times, when we examine your pet we will find abnormalities like heart murmurs. When we do, we notify you immediately and make sure you approve continuing with the procedure using a special anesthesia. (If you are aware of any conditions that your pet has, please inform our receptionists so we can proceed using proper precautions. We do not charge extra for having to use special anesthesia).

During the procedure, your pet will be constantly monitored. We are able to get your loved pet through anesthetic induction, surgical prepping, surgery, and recovery very quickly because we are skilled at performing our jobs. This is what we do every day!

Yes, anesthesia and surgery are a risk. However, the risk is far greater to keep your pet intact. The best way to keep your pet as long and as healthy as possible, is to neuter or spay them when they are young.