Is It Time to Spay or Neuter Your Pet?

A white and gray kitty sitting on a fancy chair

There are a multitude of reasons to spay or neuter your pet, but it can still be a tricky choice, and surgery for your beloved pet is certainly a big deal. That’s why we recommend learning as much as you can about this procedure from your Rutland Veterinary Clinic and Surgical Center team. 

The Basics

In a spay surgery, the ovaries and uterus are removed. Also known as an ovariohysterectomy, this procedure prevents pregnancy and eliminates future heat cycles for female pets. A neuter is the surgical removal of the testicles in male pets so that they cannot mate.

Both of these procedures are performed in the surgical suite under general anesthesia. We take your pet’s safety seriously, and will evaluate her health before, during, and after the procedure. We use the most advanced anesthetics, patient monitoring, and pain medication to ensure your pet’s safety and comfort.

When To Spay Or Neuter Your Pet

Pets from shelters are often spayed or neutered as early as 8 weeks of age, but due to recent scientific veterinary studies, we recommend waiting to neuter your male dog until he has reached skeletal maturity. The new recommendation is as follows: less than 10 pounds at 1 year of age, 10-50 pounds at 1 ½ years of age, and any male dog over 50 pounds at 2 years of age. 

Waiting to neuter your dog has shown to reduce the incidence of certain joint diseases such as patellar luxations and cruciate ligament ruptures. 

Because even one heat cycle can increase the risk of mammary cancer in female dogs, the recommendation for them remains to spay at 6 to 7 months of age. 

Keep in mind that waiting to spay or neuter does mean managing hormonal behaviors and diligently preventing pregnancy. Please carefully consider your lifestyle and talk to your veterinarian to determine if waiting to spay or neuter makes sense for you. 

The Benefits of Spaying Or Neutering

Spaying or neutering your pet has significant advantages for their future health. The following expensive and life threatening conditions can all but be eliminated once you spay or neuter your pet:

  • Uterine cancer
  • Testicular cancer
  • Mammary tumors
  • Pyometra (infection of the uterus)
  • Hydrometra (fluid filled uterus)
  • Prostate enlargement, infection, or cancer

When your pet is no longer hormonally driven, they (and you) will be spared from behaviors such as urine marking, wandering, and aggression.

The Long View

Every day in the US, thousands of unwanted pets are born. The American Humane Society estimates that 6 to 8 million pets enter shelters every year. Over half of these pets, many of whom are young and healthy, are euthanized. The sad fact is that there are simply not enough loving homes to go around. 

Spaying or neutering your pets means that some of those young pets in shelters have a better chance of finding their forever homes, and it is a meaningful way to reduce pet overpopulation. 

Spaying and Neutering Myths

  • While there is a common misconception that spayed and neutered pets gain weight, it’s important to remember that good nutrition and daily exercise are the best ways to prevent unwanted weight gain.
  • Having a litter imparts no medical or behavioral benefits to your female pet – she won’t miss being a mother. 
  • If you wish your children to experience the miracle of birth, please investigate local farms or animal sanctuaries for ideas. 

If you have any other questions or concerns about the spay or neuter procedure, please don’t hesitate to contact our team

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About Rutland Veterinary Clinic and Surgical Center

Rutland Veterinary Clinic and Surgical Center provides top-quality veterinary care to the Rutland, VT pet community.