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Health and behavioral benefits

to getting your pet spayed or neutered


by Kelly Palm, DVM


Most of us know the obvious reasons for spaying and neutering our pets … unwanted litters which ultimately end up increasing the amount of dogs and cats in our local area shelters which in turn increases the euthanasia rate. Decreasing unwanted litters is an obvious reason for sterilizing your pet, but what are other hidden benefits?


Neutering male cats decreases urine marking, especially if the procedure is performed before the male cats develop this bad habit. It also decreases territorial aggression so veterinary visits from fighting which can often lead to abscess formation are decreased.


Spaying your female cat is a good idea because cats are spontaneous ovulators which mean when they are bred, they ovulate so they become pregnant very easily and have multiple litters per year. These facts coupled with the short gestation period of 63 days explain why the problem can get so out of control.


Male dogs that have been neutered are far less likely to mark their territory, roam, and be aggressive. In general, dog to dog aggression is also alleviated by neutering. Additionally, neutered male dogs also get fewer perianal hernias (a weakening in the tissues around the anus), perianal tumors, testicular tumors, and benign prostatic disease.


Female dogs that are spayed before their first heat are far less likely to develop malignant mammary (or breast) cancer. In dogs, estrogen plays a crucial role in the development of this type of cancer. Pyometra or a uterine infection, which can be life threatening is also prevented by having a dog spayed. An accidental pregnancy can also cost owners large sums of money if an emergency C section needs to be performed and put your pet at risk for life threatening complications.


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