We recommend neutering all pets at six months of age. In some instances, waiting until a year of age for large breed male dogs to prevent future health problems may be recommended. Neutering of females involves making an incision into the abdomen and removing the entire reproductive tract- ovaries and uterus. The procedure in males is simpler, with a skin incision and removal of both testes. These procedures are performed on an outpatient basis, with most pets returning to normal behavior within 24 hours of the procedure. It is very important that your pet's activity be restricted to a small room or crate (cats), or leash walking only (dogs) for two weeks after the surgery to allow for optimal healing. Pets can be neutered at any age, but younger pets recover more quickly and enjoy greater health benefits. Additionally, spaying females as juveniles is a much simpler procedure which involves less chance of complications.
There are many health reasons for neutering your pet. Spaying a female before she goes into heat virtually eliminates mammary (breast) cancer. After undergoing three heat cycles, a female has a one in three chance of developing breast cancer!!!!! Unspayed females are also very likely to develop a life-threatening uterine infection called pyometra. If your pet develops pyometra, immediate surgical removal of the uterus is necessary, but now your pet is critically ill and the procedure is very dangerous. The cost of this procedure is now 4-5 times higher with greater risk to your pet. We recently saw a five year old dog die from untreated pyometra!
Health risks for males include testicular cancer, perineal hernias and tumors and prostate enlargement. Pets with an undescended testis (cryptorchid) are at a 9-13 times increased risk of testicular cancer. We have had to neuter elderly male dogs due to prostate enlargement that was preventing them from passing urine.
Behavior benefits are also important benefits of neutering. Not neutered animals tend to show more aggression and are more likely to roam and get hit by cars. Marking, mounting, and inappropriate urination are also more likely to occur.
Preventing unwanted and not needed litters is another important reason for neutering. There are 3-4 million healthy pets euthanized yearly (25% purebred) at shelters every year. Just because your pet has registration papers is no reason to breed. Good breeders only breed the very best examples of the breed- ie animals that have shown themselves to be exceptional in the show ring, field trials, agility or obedience arenas. Large breed dogs also need to have their hips, elbows, and eyes certified free from genetic defects.
Neutering your pet will not make him/her fat- but you need to control the amount of food your pet is receiving so that obesity does not occur. We recommend switching your pet to adult food at six months of age and limiting the amount of food and treats. You also need to maintain an appropriate exercise program. Neutering will not change your pet's personality except to make him/her less aggressive.
We want to keep your pet healthy. Neutering, along with regular examinations and vaccinations will help us to provide a long happy life for your pet.