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Why Should I Neuter My Pet?

Why should I have my pet neutered?

Neutering should be considered if you are keeping a pet as a companion, not for breeding. Neutering reduces the risks associated with cancer and urinary tract diseases. It can, but not always, minimize behavioral issues such as aggression, urine marking, and roaming.

What are the advantages of neutering?

  • Reduces the risk of benign prostatic hyperplasia and prostatitis.
  • Reduces the risk of hormone-related diseases such as perianal adenoma.
  • Eliminates the risk of testicular cancer, the second most common cancer in intact dogs.
  • Removes sexual urges, which usually decreases roaming behaviors.
  • Reduces certain types of aggression.

What are the disadvantages?

Most of the perceived disadvantages are false. The most common of these are that the dog will become fat, lazy, and useless as a guardian. In most cases, obesity is the result of overfeeding and not exercising enough. By regulating your dog's diet and caloric intake, you can prevent obesity. Neutering doesn't cause a change in personality, guarding instincts, intelligence, playfulness, or affection. 

When should the operation be performed?

For Dogs: According to the AAHA, small-breed dogs (under 45 pounds projected adult body weight) should be neutered at six months of age or spayed prior to the first heat (five to six months). Large-breed dogs (over 45 pounds projected adult body weight) should be neutered after growth stops, which usually is between 9 and 15 months of age. The decision on when to spay a large-breed female dog is based on many factors—your veterinarian can help narrow down the recommended window of 5 to 15 months depending on your dog’s disease risk and lifestyle.

For Cats: AAHA recommends sterilization of cats by five months of age. This recommendation prevents unwanted litters.

Are there any dangers associated with the operation?

Neutering is considered a major operation and requires general anesthesia. With any anesthetic the risk of serious complications, including death, is always present. However, with modern anesthetics and monitoring equipment, the risk of a complication is very low. It has been said that your pet has a greater chance of being injured in a car wreck than having an anesthetic or surgical complication.

What happens when my pet undergoes this procedure?

Your pet will be examined by a veterinarian and pre-anesthetic blood tests will usually be performed. If everything is acceptable, your pet will be anesthetized. Most pets will have an intravenous catheter placed to administer the anesthetic and to provide fluid therapy during the surgery. After your pet is anesthetized, a breathing tube will be placed in his trachea or "windpipe" to deliver oxygen and gas anesthetic directly into the lungs. The surgery consists of making a small incision in front of the scrotum and removing the testicles. Many veterinarians use absorbable internal sutures so that you do not have to return your dog to the hospital to have them removed.

Are there any post-operative precautions I should take for my pet?

Rest and restriction of activity are the primary post-operative care you should provide. Most dogs can resume normal activity five to ten days after surgery. Until then, leash walks, lots of rest, and no swimming, bathing, running, or climbing stairs are the rule.  

-LIFELEARN, Ernest Ward, DVM © Copyright 2009 Lifelearn Inc.


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