Why Spay & Neuter?
Every year, millions of unwanted dogs and cats, including puppies and kittens, are euthanized. The good news is that responsible pet owners can make a difference.
By having your dog or cat sterilized, you will do your part to prevent the birth of unwanted puppies and kittens. Spaying and neutering prevent unwanted litters, help protect against some serious health problems, and may reduce many of the behavioral problems associated with the mating instinct.
Removing a female dog or cat’s ovaries eliminates heat cycles and generally reduces the unwanted behaviors that may lead to owner frustration. Removing the testes from male dogs and cats reduces the breeding instinct, making them less inclined to roam and more content to stay at home.
Early spaying of female dogs and cats can help protect them from some serious health problems later in life such as uterine infections and breast cancer. Neutering your male pet can also lessen his risk of developing benign prostatic hyperplasia (enlarged prostate gland) and testicular cancer.
The procedure has no effect on a pet’s intelligence or ability to learn, play, work or hunt. Some pets tend to be better behaved following surgical removal of their ovaries or testes, making them more desirable companions.
Statistics on Pet Overpopulation
Number of cats and dogs entering shelters each year: 6-8 million (down from 13 million in 1973)
Of the 3 million cats and dogs euthanized in shelters each year, approximately 2.4 million (80%) are healthy and treatable and could have been adopted into new home
Percentage of cats euthanized in shelters: 70%
Average number of litters a fertile, 5-month-old cat can product in one year: 3 litters
Average number of kittens in a feline litter: 4-6 kittens
In 7 years, one female cat and her offspring can theoretically produce 420,000 cats
Average number of litters a fertile dog can produce in one year: 2 litters
Average number of puppies in a canine litter: 6-10 litters
In 6 years, one female dog and her offspring can theoretically product 67,000 dogs
**Source: Humane Society of the United States, 2019
What are the risks of Spaying & Neutering?
Although reproductive hormones cause mating behaviors that may be undesirable for many pet owners, these hormones also affect your pet’s overall health. Removing your pet’s ovaries or testes removes these hormones and can result in increased risk of health problems such as urinary incontinence and some types of cancer. Talk to your veterinarian about the benefits and risks of the sterilization procedure so you can make an informed decision.
While both spaying and neutering are major surgical procedures, they are also the most common surgeries performed by veterinarians on cats and dogs. Like any surgical procedure, sterilization is associated with some anesthetic and surgical risk, but the overall incidence of complications is very low.
Before the procedure, your pet is given a thorough physical examination to ensure that he/she is in good health. General anesthesia is administered to perform the surgery and medications are given to minimize pain. You will be asked to keep your pet calm and quiet for a few days after surgery as the incision begins to heal.
**Source: American Veterinary Medical Association, 2019