Neutering is one of the most important aspects of being a responsible pet owner and is a big factor to consider when purchasing or adopting a pet.
At Blarney Veterinary Clinic, we perform spays and castrations surgeries on a daily basis and they are considered routine operations. In both male dogs and cats neutering involves the surgical removal of the testicals. In females the ovaries and uterus are removed.
Why do we neuter our pets? Many people think the only benefit of neutering a pet is to prevent unwanted pregnancies/ litters. However, there are many more benefits to be gained from neutering your pet.
Pet overpopulation is a worsening problem with shelters and rescues becoming overwhelmed with stray and unwanted pets. Neutering prevents more unwanted puppies and kittens being produced.
Consider this: In one year and unspayed female cat can produce 18 kittens. In 5 years this cat and her descendants can have 20,000 descendants.
Reduced risk of cancer:
Both male and female cats and dogs are at risk from developing cancer if not spayed / neutered. Females can develop mammary tumours while males can develop testicular or prostate cancer.
Prevention of Pyometra:
Pyometra is a uterine infection which can affect a female dog of any age,however they are more commonly seen in older female dogs. The condition may be treated medically but often surgical removal of the uterus is necessary. If untreated a pyometra infection can be fatal.
Females alter their behaviour during their heat cycles in an attempt to find a mate. Female cats will urinate more and ‘call’ out when they are in season. Both female cats and dogs release pheromones which attract males. In most cases this is unwanted attention for owners and leads to an altered routine i.e. female dogs not exercised while in heat.
An intact male dogs will travel for miles in search of a mate. This roaming often leads to pets being lost, injured in traffic accidents or getting into fights with other males. Neutered male dogs will not seek a mate and thus reduces roaming behavior.
Reduced aggression - Both male cats and dogs display more aggressive tendencies than neutered males. This is especially true in the case of male cats. Unneutered male cats will often fight to secure territory. Neutering reduces the incidence of aggression towards both people and other animals.
Neutered males are also a lot less likely to ‘mark their territory’ that their neutered counterparts. Thus leaving their environment, usually your home, smelling of very potent urine. It is important that pets are neutered early to prevent these problems developing.
Over the lifespan of a pet the cost of neutering is much less than fees associated with the negative side effects of not neutering your pet. For instance the cost of neutering your female dog is a lot less that the cost involved in rearing a litter of puppies, or the price of a cesarean section, or the treatment of a pyometra infection.
Similarly in males the cost of neutering may be significantly less than the repair of wounds after a fight, or the cost of a broken less after a road traffic accident.
Busting the myths!
My dog will become overweight if they are neutered:
No, pets become overweight from over feeding and lack of exercise. After your pet is neutered their daily energy requirements are reduced. As such, their daily food intake should be reduced. Please take to one of our staff about your pets daily food requirements or visit our nutrition section.
Neutering will fix my pets behavioural problems:
While neutering reduces the level of hormones, which are usually associated with bad behaviour - e.g testosterone, it will not dramatically change your pets behaviour. Some behaviour is learned and only hard work and retraining can alter their current behavioural problems.
When can I neuter my pets:
As a general rule of thumb both cats and dogs can be neutered from 6 months of age. However, there may be certain circumstances in which we may recommend an alternative age for neutering. Please talk to us prior to scheduling your pet in for neutering.