SAVE A LIFE: SPAY/NEUTER
Dr. Christina Frick, DVM
There are many preventative measures owners can do to help prevent or reduce the risk of many diseases including cancer or save their pet’s life.
Every year about 4 million dogs and cats are euthanized (put to sleep) in the U.S. The problem exists because cats and dogs are allowed to breed with little regard for the availability of homes for their offspring. Many animals that are put to sleep are puppies and kittens less than 6 months old. Help stop this needless loss of life by SPAYING and NEUTERING your pets.
Spaying your female pet (Ovarian hysterectomy) is the removal of the ovaries and uterus at 6 months old. Dogs will 1st cycle around 8-10 months old and then every 6 months thereafter. That is why vets recommend surgery at 6 months old to address the problem of pet overpopulation and prevention of cancer. If spayed before the 1st heat cycle, your pet has a 0.5% chance of developing breast/ mammary cancer later in life. If spayed after the 1st heat cycle, the risk increases to 8%, if after the 2nd heat cycle, the risk increases to 23%. After the 3rd heat cycle, there is a 100% risk of mammary cancer. Mammary tumors are the most common tumors affecting female dogs. Over 50% of all tumors in female dogs are mammary tumors, and dogs are three times more likely to get mammary tumors than humans are.
**Other Benefits of spaying include: eliminates the risk of ovarian and uterine cancer, eliminate unwanted pregnancies, eliminate the risk of pyometra (infection in uterus) and other health problems.
Dr. Frick believes pets are living longer due to more prevention of diseases, surgeries, vaccinations, early treatments, and recognition of problems. Just like in humans, cancer can occur at any age in pets. But with the growing age of the pet population, we also see more cancer in our pets. Spaying can prevent cancer or early treatment of some types of cancer. There are also options for pets with cancer to prevent animal suffering or slow the progression.
Neutering your male pet (Castration) is the removal of the testicles and spermatic cord at 6 months old. This eliminates the risk of testicular cancer, the second most common tumor in male dogs. Neutering greatly reduces the risk of prostate cancer and prostatitis, decrease risk of perianal tumors, and eliminates the risk and spread of sexually transmitted diseases.
**Other Benefits of Neutering: Reduces spraying or marking in males neutered before 6 months of age or before the onset of these behaviors. Reduces roaming, fighting, & is easier to train due to increase concentration to you & less likely to fight with other dogs. Makes a calmer, gentler pet. Eliminates unwanted litters in the neighborhood.
COMMON MYTHS: Spaying or neutering your pet DOES NOT cause laziness or hyperactivity, DOES NOT reduce its instinct to protect your family and home, DOES NOT cause immature behaviors, DOES NOT postpone or delay normal behavioral maturity, or DOES NOT alter its personality in any manner. It is also a myth that your dog or cat is too old to have a pregnancy, it can happen at any age. We can still spay and neuter older animals to help reduce the risk of cancer and the other diseases.
Call to set up a surgery appointment for your pet, so they can have a longer life with your family. Remember to adopt a pet from a shelter, humane society or vet clinic and save a life.