No one wants to have to have a sweet pet go through surgery, but it is advisable for most of our four-legged family members to have surgery at least once in their lifetimes.

It is typically recommended for pets to be spayed or neutered, and for several good reasons. Oakland Veterinary Referral Services wants to remind you of those important reasons to spay and neuter your pets.

Your Pet’s Health

There are certainly some dramatic health benefits associated with having your dog or cat “fixed”. This is perhaps the most compelling reason to go ahead with the procedure. Some of the ways spay/neuter can benefit your pet include:

The “C” word—Several types of cancer have been shown to more often develop in animals who have not been spayed or neutered. Dogs and cats who have not been spayed have around a 25% risk of developing breast cancer, with 50% of those cases being terminal in dogs and up to 90% in cats. In males, testicular cancers are eliminated through neuter surgery.

Preventing pyometra—Female pets who are not spayed are at high risk of developing a pyometra at some point in their lives. This is the development of a life-threatening infection in the uterus and is an emergency. Untreated, dogs with a pyometra can become septic and die.

Prostate health—Unneutered male dogs can develop benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), a hormonally-mediated enlargement of the prostate gland that can affect urination.

Other health reasons to spay and neuter include a reduction in the incidence of pets roaming, which decreases their odds of becoming lost or hit by a car. Spaying and neutering also reduces fighting among animals, which can result in serious injuries.

Other Good Reasons to Spay and Neuter

Besides enhancing your pet’s overall health, there are some other good reasons to spay and neuter our animal companions. These include:

  • Minimizing the potential for aggressive behavior
  • Decreasing urine marking behaviors
  • Avoiding the mess of a heat cycle (dogs)
  • Eliminating the annoying behaviors associated with a heat cycle (cats)
  • Not having to bear the responsibility of having and homing a litter of unplanned puppies or kittens
  • Avoiding contributing to the pet overpopulation problem

Spaying and neutering our pets has many benefits. When we perform these procedures, we are doing our best to keep our furry friends healthy and make them better members of our homes and communities. Be sure to talk with your pet’s regular veterinarian about spaying or neutering. For many, it is an essential part of good pet care.