Spay and neuter surgeries can do more than prevent pet pregnancies. At World of Animals Veterinary Hospital in Philadelphia, PA, we also perform them to help reduce and even prevent certain diseases, and make life better for dogs and cats throughout our community. We recommend spays and neuters for our patients based on several key factors: breed, age, and estimated size. Every pet is different, and certain breeds need more time to finish growing before undergoing surgery. Our team will be happy to answer all your questions about spaying and neutering and help you choose the most beneficial time for your pet’s spay/neuter procedure.
The Benefits of Spaying or Neutering Your Pet
There are various health and behavioral benefits for dogs and cats that can be achieved with spay/neuter surgery. These may include:
While it is no guarantee, having your pet spayed or neutered can contribute to them having a healthier and longer life overall. A pet that isn’t “fixed’ can be more at risk for all kinds of health problems, including:
- Breast cancer (females)
- Uterine infections (females)
- Pyometra (females)
- Prostate infection (males)
- Testicular cancer (males)
Female dogs and cats that are not spayed will routinely go into heat. The heat cycle can be uncomfortable for your pet, and unpleasant for you. In-heat females will also attract males that may be nearby. Spaying eliminates the heat cycle and prevents your female dog or cat from engaging in behaviors designed to attract mates and potentially getting pregnant.
Another benefit of spaying and neutering pets is that it can lessen or completely prevent unruly or even destructive behaviors. This is especially important in males dogs and cats, as they can become aggressive and territorial due to their hormones and the proximity of in-heat females. Neutering male dogs and cats can greatly reduce their desire to roam, spray urine, mount other animals, and act aggressively towards other animals or even humans. It can also improve the relationship between your pet and your family, and between your pet and other pets.
Spaying or neutering a single pet might not seem like it would make a difference, but it truly does. Millions of dogs and cats end up in shelters every year due to unchecked breeding, and many more live on the streets. Shelters often become crowded, and many healthy dogs and cats end up having to be euthanized. When pet owners throughout the community have their pets fixed, this can reduce the number of strays in shelters and ensure safe, loving homes for more animals.
Spaying and Neutering FAQs
Quite the opposite. It’s wrong to let these animals give birth to unwanted offspring only so they will be euthanized because there aren’t enough responsible homes willing to take them in.
No, a female pet who even goes into heat—let alone has a litter—before being spayed has significantly worse health prospects than one who was neutered as early as possible. That said, animals can still benefit from spaying after this window has passed.
What if I find homes for my pet’s litters? Does this mean I won’t contribute to animal homelessness?
No. The number of homes that want pets is limited, and thus whenever you find a home for your pet’s offspring, you take that home away from an animal already at a shelter.
By the time we neuter animals, testosterone has already created permanent changes in your pet’s brain structure. Your pet’s identity as a male is firmly established. No matter what happens to his sexual organs, your pet can be equally affectionate, engaged, laid-back, or aggressive (except for dog-on-dog aggression, which neutering does lower).
Before we can begin, Pre-Anesthetic blood work is required. This will check the status of the kidneys and liver. Because the kidneys and liver are responsible for filtering the anesthesia out of the bloodstream, a problem with either of these major organs might pose a threat to your pet’s safety during surgery. These problems may be asymptomatic, invisible until revealed by the blood work, and can affect even young pets.
After the blood work confirms that we can safely proceed, your pet will be given an injection for sedation. During this time, an IV catheter will be placed to allow for fast and easy drug administration in the case of an emergency. One of our trained veterinary technicians will perform surgical monitoring. This entails the technician keeping the surgeon informed about important factors; such as the patient’s temperature, blood pressure, respiration, oxygen level, and heart rate.
After the surgery is complete, your pet will be put in a recovery area. The patient will be given pain relief medication and diligently observed until he or she is awake. At World of Animals, we recommend your pet wear an Elizabethan collar (cone) at home to prevent licking at the incision and continuing medication for the pain. In the two weeks following the procedure, your pet will need to be well-rested, and activity that is unnecessary should be limited.