Health Benefits of Spaying and Neutering Your Pets

This article is designed to help you better understand your pet’s condition. This is not a substitute for a veterinary diagnosis; it intended for reference purposes and to supplement an existing diagnosis after a veterinary examination. If you have questions or concerns, please contact us at 740-432-5980. It is absolutely vital to have a veterinary diagnosis prior to following any of the instructions provided here.

Spaying and neutering will (without question) prolong your pet’s life, almost by twice the life span in cats, and a significant number of years for dogs.

Spaying will reduce the risk of breast cancer.  Almost 50% of unspayed dogs develop breast tumors.  Spaying your pet before their first heat cycle virtually eliminates this risk.

Intact females are at risk for ovarian and uterine cancers as well as uterine infections known as Pyometra.  Each cycle they experience increases the chances of these illnesses as much as ten times for each heat! Spaying early almost eliminates this risk.

Uterine disease is no longer a problem after an animal has been spayed. The risk of  pyometra (a uterine infection that is often fatal), painful ovarian cysts, and uterine cancer are completely eliminated after a dog has been spayed.

Neutering significantly lowers the risk of prostate gland and testicular cancer in male dogs. Almost 60% of intact males suffer from prostate cancer. Neutering eliminates the risk of testicular tumors as well.

Common Spay/Neuter Myths

Spaying/Neutering my pet will cause them to become lazy or fat

FALSE:  While physically removing the reproductive organs does have some degree of affect on the metabolism, weight gain is the result of decreased physical activity and increased caloric intake; not spaying or neutering.

Spaying/Neutering my pet will change their personality

(ie: they will not be as good of a hunter or stop being a good guard dog)

FALSE: The only changes you should see are positive ones.  Dogs that have been surgically altered have improved focus and attention because they are not constantly thinking about their “next date”.  Neutering often significantly helps or even eliminates territorial marking through urine.  Neutering also decreases the foul odor associated with intact male urine.  Spaying and neutering can also help with inappropriate aggression issues, at the same time it will not change their response if someone were to break into your home.

My Pet is Too Old/Young For Surgery

FALSE: There is no age limit for these procedures and we prefer to spay animals at 4-6 months of age before their first heat cycle as this is the absolute best time for the procedure to be done.  Waiting until after the first heat cycle or letting them have one litter first are absolute myths that provide no benefits to your pet and only increase their risks.  Animals are never too old to benefit from the procedure; as previously mentioned their risks increase approximately 10 times with each cycle, therefore, the sooner the better, yet it is never too late to do the right thing.


Some Animals Die as a Result of This Surgery

TRUE: HOWEVER!  Some level of risk accompanies any anesthetic procedure in both animals and humans.  The risk is about one tenth of 1% or 0.1%.  Nearly 100% of anesthetic deaths are due to the anesthesia and not the procedure itself.  It is important to note that our staff is very educated and experienced (please see the “Meet Our Staff” section of this website to view our credentials) and we would never recommend a procedure for your pet if the benefits did not outweigh the risks.  If you are nervous about your pet undergoing anesthesia we do offer (and strongly recommend) pre-anesthetic bloodwork to evaluate your pets’ liver and kidney functions.  Often, anesthetic deaths are related to the body’s inability to excrete the anesthetic properly as the liver and kidneys are not functioning as they should.  We also have anesthetic monitoring equipment that will alert us right away if something is wrong.  There is also always at least one veterinarian and one registered veterinary technician present for every anesthetic procedure to respond immediately with any necessary emergency care.

Other Important Facts to Consider

Every year over 20 million animals end up in shelters. Over 15 million of them are euthanised.  This means that three out of every four animals taken to shelters never leave.

The Capital Area Humane Society estimates there are over one million STRAY cats in Columbus alone.  That’s just one city; not even the entire state!  Ohio does not regulate it’s cat population as it does the dog population so there is ZERO funding in this state for shelters to take in cats.

One cat and her offspring will produce over 420,000 cats in about seven years!

Each day 10,000 humans are born in the U.S. – and each day 70,000 puppies and kittens are born. This means there are 7 puppies and kittens born for every human baby every day.  As long as these birth rates exist, there will never be enough homes for all of these animals.

Purebreds account for between 30%-50% of all the animals in shelters.

Guernsey Veterinary Clinic, Cassie Gombeda RVT

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