Veterinary Health: Importance of Spaying & Neutering

Pet ownership comes with a lot of responsibility, and decisions that have to be made regarding pet health. One important decision that pet owners deal with is whether or not to spay/neuter their animals. Having your pet spayed or neutered is beneficial for many reasons. In addition to possibly helping to reduce the number of homeless pets, spaying and neutering can also be important for your pet's health and behavior. Most pet owners consider their animals to be family members and will do anything to keep them safe, happy, and healthy. Learn about some of the benefits of spaying and neutering below.

What is Spaying/Neutering?

Spaying and neutering are surgeries that are performed by veterinarians to remove the productive organs of animals so that they cannot breed. With females, spaying involves removing the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. With males, neutering involves completely removing the testicles. Qualified veterinarians can provide pet owners with specific information regarding surgical procedures, recovery time, and other important information.

Pet Health

Studies and research have shown that having your pet spayed or neutered is beneficial for their health. Pets that live in areas with the highest rate of spaying/neutering live longer than those that do not have the surgery. Pets that are not spayed or neutered can have a reduced lifespan for a number of reasons. Unaltered pets can have an increased urge to roam, leading them to possibly face dangers such as fights with other animals, car accidents, and other mishaps. Spaying and neutering pets can also reduce the risks of them developing certain types of cancer, namely those that affect the reproductive system. Evidence has shown that not only are pets that are spayed/neutered less likely to develop cancers, overall they are healthier. Many veterinarians will perform spay or neuter surgery on animals as young as eight weeks old.

Reduce The Number of Homeless Animals

Sadly, there are many homeless animals throughout the United States. Of the millions of animals in shelters, less than half are adopted each year. Many times, pets who are not adopted are euthanized and the only way to prevent this issue completely is by spaying and neutering pets. Pet owners that choose to spay or neuter pets are doing their part to help cut down on the staggering amount of homeless animals found in shelters throughout America.

Help With Bad Behavior

Male dogs especially, are far more assertive and likely to mark their territory with urine when they are unneutered. While less common with females, these issues can occur with them as well. Spaying and neutering pets normally reduces or even stops urine marking and assertive behavior completely. With cats, getting them spayed or neutered by four months of age can keep them from "spraying." It can also reduce their urge to roam, cut down on howling, and reduce fighting with other male cats. In addition to spaying and neutering helping to curve behaviors such as urine marking, and assertiveness, other behavioral problems can also decrease. Aggression, excessive barking, and dominance related behaviors can all potentially be reduced once spay or neuter surgery has been performed.

Reduce Pet Care Costs

While there are costs upfront, in the long run, pet owners that spay or neuter their animals will save money. Because the surgery can reduce the risk of developing cancer, owners are less likely to have to deal with such a serious illness that can cost thousands of dollars to treat. When owners spay or neuter pets, they will likely pay less money to renew their pet's licenses in the counties in which they live. Pets that are altered are also less likely to have problems with aggression and fighting with other pets, and with less of a chance of fighting, there is less of a chance of having to see a veterinarian for injuries. There are many veterinary organizations that offer low cost spay and neuter options so that owner's can still be responsible while cutting down on surgery costs.

It is important for pet owners to be responsible when it comes to the care of their animals. All pet owners should seriously considered spaying and neutering their pets so they can be a part of the solution in ending the homeless pet problem.

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