Spaying and neutering our pets can have both health and behavioral benefits for these animals, as well as positively impacting the pet overpopulation problem. Many owners worry about their pet undergoing a major surgery, but usually the benefits far outweigh the risks.

The doctors and staff at Ocean View Veterinary Hospital take many precautions to reduce your pet’s surgical and anesthetic risk. All of our patients have a pre-surgical physical exam and blood work. Our patients are monitored throughout the anesthetic and recovery period by a dedicated technician and multiparameter monitoring equipment (temperature, EKG, pulse ox, EtCO2, blood pressure). All of our patients receive intravenous fluids throughout their procedure.

Spaying a female before her first heat cycle greatly reduces her chance of developing mammary (breast) cancer later in life. After 2 heat cycles, a female dog’s risk of mammary cancer is 25%. By spaying before she ever goes into heat, that risk is less than 1%! Spaying also eliminates the risk of a life threatening uterine infection called a pyometra. The only treatment for a pyometra is emergency surgery to remove the infected uterus and ovaries. It is a very risky surgery because the patient is usually critically ill. Instead of going home the same day or next day like a routine, healthy spay, a pyometra patient needs to be hospitalized for days on intravenous fluids and antibiotics.

Neutering a male dog eliminates the risk of testicular tumors and greatly reduces the risk of certain prostate problems and perineal hernias. There can also be behavioral benefits to neutering a male. Neutered males are much less likely to mount other dogs and people. Intact (not neutered) males are much more likely to escape from the house or yard and wander in search of a female. It is no surprise that most dogs that get in to dogfights, or are hit by cars, are intact males. Neutering a male cat has the additional benefit of reducing the strong smell of tomcat urine.

Perhaps one of the greatest benefits of spaying and neutering is the effect it has on pet overpopulation. According to the ASPCA, approximately 7.6 million pets enter shelters each year and 2.7 million are euthanized! Approximately 31% of dogs and 41% of cats that enter shelters each year are euthanized. Clearly there are many more cats and dogs in the United States than suitable homes available. Spaying and neutering ensures that you are doing your part to reduce the number of unwanted pets in the country.

If you have questions or concerns about spaying or neutering your pet, please make an appointment to speak with one of our veterinarians. Call 609-486-5025.