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Greetings from your friendly neighborhood clinic cat! Spring is here and love and romance are in the air. 😉 It’s the perfect time to talk about spaying and neutering. There are a lot of myths and rumors that abound about these procedures, so I hope to be able to clear up some of the common misconceptions. This way you can make an informed decision when it comes to the health and care of your pet.

Ladies first! We recommend spaying for all female pets. Besides helping control animal overpopulation, some of the advantages include:

  • Prevention of heat or estrus
  • When in “heat”, the female experiences an urge to escape and find a mate. This is eliminated
  • Prevention  of uterine infection (pyometra)
  • The prevention of breast cancer. Dogs spayed before the first “heat” have less than 0.5% chance of developing breast cancer
  • Elimination of uterine and ovarian cancer
Now on to those smelly boys. We also recommend neutering for all male pets. Like spaying, this offers many health benefits:
  • Reduces the risk of prostate cancer and prostatitis
  • Reduces the risk of hormone-related diseases such as perianal adenoma
  • Eliminates the risk of testicular cancer
  • Removal of sexual urge which results in roaming behaviors
  • Reduction of certain types of aggression

Most of the perceived disadvantages of these surgeries are false. Owners fear that spaying and neutering will cause their pet to become fat and lazy. Obesity is a result of overfeeding and can be avoided by regulating your pet’s diet and caloric intake, along with regular play and exercise. Spaying and neutering does not cause a change in personality, guarding instinct, intelligence, playfulness and affection.
We recommend spaying and neutering between 5-6 months of age. These are considered major operations and do require general anesthesia. When you drop off your pet for surgery, an exam will be performed. We offer pre-anesthetic blood tests, but they are optional. If you choose to have testing performed, it will be done at this time. Once results are available we move forward with general anesthesia. When the pet is anesthetized, a breathing tube will be placed in the trachea (windpipe). This allows us to deliver oxygen and the gas anesthetic. Spaying consists of making a small incision just below the umbilicus and removing the ovaries and uterus. With neutering, the incision is made at the front of the scrotum and the testicles are removed. For both of the procedures, absorbable sutures are often used so that you do not have to return to have them removed.
Tri-County Small Animal Hospital also offers options such as blood work, extra pain medication, and we can perform the procedure with a laser. Give us as call at (865) 435-1374 and the staff will be happy to talk about any concerns and answer questions you may have regarding this big step for you and your pet.
Until next time!