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Why You Should Spay or Neuter Your Dog & Cat

Spaying your female cat or dog and neutering your male cat or dog has benefits that take on several different dimensions. There are many advantages to your pet, the pet owner (you!) and society at large. Spaying involves removal of the female animal’s reproductive organs, including ovaries, Fallopian tubes and uterus. Neutering involves removal of a male animal’s testes.

The good news is that these are safe, well tolerated procedures. Pain medications are always used, so there is minimal pain involved.  Contrary to popular myth, it does not cause weight gain in your pet and has real advantages. It’s a cost effective way to prevent medical issues and unwanted litters.

The Big Picture
There is a huge problem with homeless companion animals in North America. You don’t have to go far in any city to find stray cats and dogs and shelters often overflow with unwanted animals that often end up being euthanized.     The responsible thing to do is to help control populations by spaying or neutering your pet. You may keep your cat indoors and only let out your dog on controlled leash walks but accidents can happen – and when you’re dealing with a beloved pet there is always a wild card at play. Cats can escape and dogs run loose at the park… it’s definitely better to be safe than sorry.

Health Benefits
Spaying and neutering in general help to protect your pet against some disorders of the reproductive system.

• Spaying can help your female pet live longer by helping to prevent breast and ovarian tumours and some uterine infections. Breast cancer is fatal in about 50 percent of cases in dogs.
• Neutering can help your male pet avoid testicular and other cancers and prostate disease.

Behaviour
Spaying and neutering can affect your pet’s behaviour in various ways.

• Intact female dogs and cats can go into heat for weeks at a time in behaviours that are designed to get male cats and dogs attention. After spaying, your female pet won’t go into heat – meaning no more yowling, howling and peeing all over the house – a benefit for you!
• Male dogs that have been neutered are less likely to run away from home as they are no longer driven by the urge to mate. This roaming behavior often leads to injury, accidents, etc…
• Neutering may make your male pet’s behaviour less aggressive and territorial. He is less likely to mark his territory and fight with other dogs.

Timing

• You should spay your female dog or cat ideally before their first heat to maximize the health benefits, ideally around 6 months of age.
• Dogs may be neutered as young as eight weeks of age, although six to nine months is the usual age.
• Cats may also be spayed or neutered around 6 months of age and older animals may be spayed or neutered but the health benefits are lesser and the risks of surgery slightly greater.

Post-Op
When you decide to spay or neuter your pet, you’ll receive full instructions on how to prepare them before the procedure. Afterwards, there are some things you can do to help your pet recover.

• Give them a quiet, sheltered space to lie down.
• Don’t let them run or jump around boisterously for a period of at least two weeks.
• Don’t let them lick the incision site – an Elizabethan collar is often used for this purpose.
• Don’t bathe them for at least ten days to two weeks.
• Make sure the incision site is healing properly and promptly report any redness, swelling or behavioural changes such as decreased appetite or excessive fatigue to our office.

To your pets best health!

Dr. Gary Arzem, Newmarket’s Veterinarian

About Dr. Arzem and The North Yonge Veterinary Hospital:
Dr. Gary Arzem received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from The Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Ontario in 1989. He is the founder and head veterinarian at The North Yonge Veterinary Hospital in Newmarket, Ontario. Having practiced veterinary medicine for more than 25 years, his skills and special interests include surgery, dentistry, diagnostic imaging (ultrasound and radiography), dermatology, internal medicine, cardiology, ophthalmology and public health as it relates to pets and their owners. He is a founding member of The Veterinary Emergency Clinic of York Region in Newmarket. Dr. Arzem is recognized as an educational leader in the community and is involved with The Ontario Veterinary College, York Region District School Board, Simcoe County Board of Education, and Seneca College’s Co-Operative Education Programs. Dr. Arzem also participates in several continuing education conferences, including The North American and Western Veterinary Conferences and he is actively involved in fundraising for a number of charitable organizations, such as The Pet Trust Fund, The Farley Foundation, The Hospital for Sick Children and the Canadian Cancer Society. He has also appeared on City T.V.’s Animal House Calls and Rogers Your Pet Your Vet television shows and has written several articles for Newmarket’s Snapd Newspapers.

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