Why Spay and Neuter

Spay and neuter are descriptions of sexual sterilization surgeries for pets. The clinical terminology is ovariohysterectomy in females and castration in males.  The surgeries require general anesthesia and are recommended for every pet for multiple reasons. 

The behavior of pets changes as they reach puberty (about six to nine months for dogs and cats). Males become more aggressive, start marking territories with urine (both indoors and out) and begin displaying a tendency to escape and roam. When they smell a female in heat (even a mile away), almost nothing will stand in their way. They will jump fences or balconies, cross water and highways, and may wander far away. 

Females also have roaming urges and may become more aggressive. Female dogs have heat cycles twice a year whereas cats may cycle every two weeks. Dogs may bleed for four to eight weeks, creating quite a messy situation in the house. You might also find a group of male dogs, not necessarily nice, parked in front of the house waiting for the opportunity to get to your female in heat. Cats will vocalize loudly all hours of the day and will roll and rub continuously, enough to wake up even the soundest sleepers. They also attract intact males, who will perform free all night serenades under your window. 

It is very difficult to keep animals in heat protected and it does not take much to end up with a litter of puppies or kittens. A leash or fenced-in yard is no match for the call of nature. It is not hard to understand that any unwanted pregnancy contributes to pet over- population: ten pregnancies easily produce fifty to eighty newborns. 

Spayed and neutered pets have a lower risk of some serious health problems. Early spay of females reduces occurrence of breast cancer significantly. They also do not get deadly pyometras (uterine infections) and have less incidence of diabetes. 

Neutered males have a lower incidence of prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate), they are less aggressive and do not run away as often and risk getting lost or becoming an accident victim. 

If your pet is not neutered or spayed, please take the opportunity to have the surgery done by your veterinarian.

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Yuval Nir
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Veterinarians, Animal hospital