Preventing pregnancy isn’t the only reason to spay and neuter your pets, though it is certainly important. At Boca Raton Animal Hospital, we also recommend it for the sake of their long-term health and for the betterment of all dogs and cats in the Boca Raton FL area. When animals have unplanned litters, many of the puppies or kittens will end up in shelters or become strays.
When the strays reproduce, this leads to a significant increase in not only the stray population, but the shelter animal population as well. This puts a lot of strain on shelters, which often have to euthanize otherwise healthy animals. To combat this cycle and help more dogs and cats find loving homes, we recommend that every pet be spayed or neutered.
Improving your pet’s life-long health
The Most Important Spay and Neuter Benefits for Dogs and Cats
While your pet’s chances of becoming pregnant or making another animal pregnant may be low, there are several crucial health benefits to consider on their behalf, including:
- Minimal risk of developing mammary gland tumors (females)
- No risk for ovarian or uterine cancer (females)
- No risk for pyometra, life-threatening uterine infection (females)
- Minimal risk of developing prostate problems (males)
- No risk for testicular cancer (males)
- No recurring heat cycle (females)
- Less likely to engage in hormone-driven behaviors, such as aggression, roaming to find a mate, mounting furniture or other animals, vocalizing, or urine marking in the house (males)
How Long Should I Wait to Spay or Neuter My Pet?
Most dogs and cats can be safely spayed or neutered between 5-7 months old. This can vary, however, depending on their size and overall health. Large and extra-large dog breeds rely on their sex hormones to help them grow. Because they take longer to grow than smaller breeds, these dogs usually have to wait until they are at least a year old to be spayed or neutered. Spaying/neutering too soon can interfere with their growth and result in joint problems.
Once your pet has completed their puppy or kitten vaccinations, we can discuss their spay or neuter surgery. We prefer to spay females before they enter their heat cycle, which can increase health risks during surgery. If your pet has gone into heat before their scheduled spay, we will need to postpone it until their heat cycle is complete.
Occasionally, males may have a retained testicle, a condition known as cryptorchidism, which can be corrected via cryptorchid castration. This condition is more common in dogs than cats, but nonetheless can occur in both. If your veterinarian diagnoses cryptorchidism in your pet, it is imperative that both the retained and descended testicle be removed as soon as possible to prevent the development of tumors.
Spaying and neutering dogs and cats has far more benefits than risks, and it can improve both your pet’s lifelong health and behavior. If you have questions about spaying and neutering and want to discuss your pet’s options, call us today at 561-395-4030!
Keeping Dogs and Cats Safe during Their Spay or Neuter
Spay and neuter surgeries are highly routine and generally pose little risk to pets. However, this does not make our veterinarians and technicians any less careful. Your pet’s health and safety are paramount, and we understand that every surgery comes with risks. Before they go into surgery, we’ll run blood work and perform an exam to make sure your dog or cat is sufficiently healthy. During surgery, we use state-of-the-art monitoring equipment to observe your pet’s vital signs and adjust their anesthesia as needed.
Pain management is another cornerstone of our spay and neuter protocols. We carefully measure and dispense pain relief medications according to the patient’s weight, age, and overall condition. They may also go home with an oral medication to ensure their continued comfort. Our goal is to make your pet’s recovery as easy as possible, so they can return to their normal lifestyle sooner.
Drop-Off and Pick-Up Instructions
Make sure your dog or cat has not had anything to eat within the last 8-10 hours. For their safety, food must be withheld to prevent aspiration (food entering the airways) during surgery.
At drop-off, allow us a few minutes to go over paperwork and answer any questions you have.
You are welcome to call us during the day to check on your pet but we will surely call you when the procedure is complete.
Your pet may need an e-collar to prevent them from chewing or licking their stitches.
After your pet is discharged, we need to go over a list of home care instructions to make sure your pet recovers smoothly.
Pets can bounce back from surgery quickly, particularly when they’re young, but may also need more time to return to normal. If you need help managing your pet’s recovery, call 561-395-4030.
Revealing the Truth Behind Spay and Neuter Myths
Despite the fact that spay and neuter surgeries have been around for a long time and their benefits are clear, there are still quite a few myths out there that can steer well-intentioned pet parents away from having their dog or cat spayed/neutered. We’re here to put them to rest once and for all.
Myth 1 – My pet will gain weight after surgery.
While your pet’s metabolism will slow down with age, it is not caused by spay/neuter surgery. Instead, weight gain is caused by eating too much and not exercising! As long as you keep your pet on a healthy diet and ensure they get plenty of exercise, they shouldn’t gain any weight.
Myth 2 – Spay and neuter surgery is too expensive.
The costs of spay and neuter surgery cover a lot of the precautions we take to ensure your pet is safe and comfortable throughout surgery and their recovery. Plus, surgery is a one-time cost! Compare that with taking care of an unexpected litter. You need to keep the mom healthy, make sure the little ones are vaccinated and dewormed, ensure everyone has food, and more!
Myth 3 – My female is missing out if she doesn’t have a litter.
Trust us, she’s not missing much. In fact, females are significantly less likely to develop mammary gland tumors later in life if they are spayed before their first heat cycle. Mammary gland tumors are often malignant and are very difficult, if not impossible, to treat. Spaying your female is healthier for her!
Myth 4 – My pet’s personality will change.
While spay and neuter surgery does cause some behavioral changes, it does not affect your pet’s personality. Your pet may stop urine-marking and might be calmer around other dogs or cats, but their delightful personality will remain intact!
Don’t wait for your pet to “get to know your vet” just prior to a procedure like spaying or neutering. Establish a relationship with Boca Palms Animal Hospital today. Let’s start at the beginning with wellness and vaccines. By the time your pet reaches the age for surgery, he or she will be comfortable with the hospital and our staff. Call today at 561-395-4030.