Here at Northwest Animal Hospital, we recommend spaying and neutering puppies and kittens between 4 and 6 months of age, but the procedures can be performed in pets of all ages.
The term "spay" refers to an ovariohysterectomy - the removal of the ovaries and uterus. Strictly speaking, the term neuter can actually refer to an ovariohysterectomy, but commonly refers to castration - the removal of the testes in dogs and cats.
Our locally owned and operated clinic has 40 years of combined experience in a wide range of services like spaying and neutering to promote your pet's health.
Spaying Cuts the Risk of Breast Cancer
Spaying or neutering provides significant health advantages for your pet. Unspayed female dogs have a 25% chance of developing breast cancer later in life. Of that 25%, half will be malignant tumors.
Dogs spayed before their first heat cycle have less than a 0.5% chance of developing breast cancer. After 2-3 heat cycles, there is little additional benefit from spaying for preventing breast cancer. Cats are also prone to breast cancer but have a much higher rate of malignancy - about 85-95%.
Spaying Helps Prevent Uterine Infections
Pyometra is a uterine infection common in middle-aged unspayed female dogs and sometimes cats. It typically occurs about 30 days following a heat cycle, when hormone changes make the uterus susceptible to bacterial infection.
In cases of pyometra, the uterus fills with pus and can become quite large. The uterus could potentially rupture and cause a serious, possibly fatal abdominal infection. The cases are emergencies and require urgent and expensive medical and surgical treatment.
Pyometra can be prevented by having your pet spayed. It is much better to have surgery performed on a healthy young pet than one that is older and sick.
Pregnancy Carries Expensive Risks
Some pregnancies result in dystocia (difficult birth) and require a Cesarean section to save the lives of the mother and babies. These are emergencies and need to be done as soon as possible.
The procedure can be expensive, especially when it must be done after hours as many do. Spaying prevents litters and removes the risk of dystocia.
Neutering Modifies Male Behavior
Neutering male dogs prevents testicular cancers, benign prostatic hyperplasia, and some prostatic cysts that occur in older unneutered dogs. It also prevents or reduces the urge to roam in search of a mate and the attendant dangers.
Dogfight wounds (which can be extensive)
Being hit by a car or truck
Various other injuries
Neutering male cats prevents the development of the very strong tomcat urine smell, reduces urine spraying, and helps prevent fighting (which commonly causes abscess formation).
Expect Few Serious Complications
Spays and neuters are common procedures and are performed nearly every day at Northwest Animal Hospital. There is always some risk, but serious complications are rare. Most pets are up and around the next day and can experience some soreness for a few days afterward. Pain medication is available to ease the recovery period.
Call us at 402-572-1280 or contact us
to set up an appointment.