By Dr. Alyssa Adams, DVM – Town Center Animal Hospital
What is spay and neuter?
Spay refers to the surgical sterilization of a female animal and neuter refers to the surgical sterilization of a male animal. Commonly people will use terms such as “fixed” or “castrated” which also mean that their animal has been surgically sterilized.
Why should I have my pet spayed/neutered?
Having your pets spayed or neutered will allow them to live longer, healthier lives and overall you and your pet will be much happier.
Benefits of Spaying
~ Reduces the risk of life threatening uterine infections and mammary gland tumors. Studies show that spaying before the first heat cycle can reduce mammary gland tumors by 99%.
~ Eliminates dealing with undesirable heat cycles and attracting unwanted males.
~ Even though roaming is less common in females, some females exhibit this behavior to find a mate and spaying will help decrease this urge.
~ Eliminates unwanted pregnancies and potential C-sections, which can be rather expensive.
Benefits of Neutering
~ Decreases the risk of prostate problems and testicular tumors.
~ Decreases urges to roam in order to find a mate. Roaming increases the risk of injury from traffic or fights with other animals.
~ Helps decrease spraying or marking behavior commonly exhibited by both intact male dogs and cats.
~ Decreases unwanted aggressive behavior or even unwanted sexual behavior towards people or objects.
The community will also benefit from having your pets spayed and neutered. This procedure will help reduce the number of strays and euthanasia’s that have to be performed on unwanted animals each year. Also stray or roaming animals can cause damage to properties, scare people, and even cause injury to themselves, people in the community, or wildlife.
When can this procedure be performed?
By law, Las Vegas residents are required to spay/neuter their dogs and cats 4 months of age or older. However there are a few exceptions to this rule:
~ If the animal is used for law enforcement, search and rescue or as a service animal
~ If the animal is unable to breed or if a veterinarian confirms the animal is unfit for surgery at that time.
~ If the owner has a valid dog fancier’s, cat fancier’s, breeder’s or professional animal handler’s permit.
Spaying and neutering is an important health decision you will have to make for your pet. Speak with your veterinarian and he/she will decide when is the best time to have this procedure performed.