On average, female cats produce one to two litters of four to six kittens per year, according to the ASPCA. Female dogs produce, on average, one litter of four to six puppies per year. While almost everyone enjoys kittens and puppies in general, there are fewer loving homes than homeless dogs and cats in America. In fact, five to seven million enter animal shelters each year. Of these former pets and strays, shelters euthanize three to four million. As anyone who has ever watched Bob Barker on The Price is Right knows, spaying and neutering your dogs and cats will help control America’s pet population. However, what some may not know is that it can also prevent serious health issues.
Prostate Issues, Cancer and Tumors
Prostate enlargement is possible in unneutered male dogs causes difficulty with urination and bowel movements. Painful infections of the prostate are also fairly common, as are life threatening testicular cancer and anal tumors requiring surgery for removal. Neutering your dog will reduce his chance of developing any of these unfortunate conditions.
Uterine Infection, Cancer and Tumors
Pyometra is a uterine infection requiring emergency surgery. If it enters the bloodstream, it is fatal. Spaying your dog removes all chance that she will develop this life threating condition. In addition, spaying will reduce the likelihood of mammary tumors, fifty percent of which are malignant in dogs and may spread to the lungs. According to some veterinarians, spaying before the first heat episode will virtually eliminate her chance of developing mammary tumors.
Unspayed female cats can also suffer from life threatening pyometra and mammary tumors. In cats, as much as 90 percent of mammary tumors are malignant. They are difficult to remove and spread quickly. Spaying a cat early will reduce her chances of developing this devastating cancer.
While not a directly life threatening health issue, male cats that are unneutered generally begin to spray urine around the house when they reach puberty. As anyone who has scooped a litter box or visited the tiger pen at the zoo knows, feline urine does not have a particularly pleasant odor – and certainly not one you want spread throughout your house. Neutering cats early ensures they will be less likely to develop this unsavory habit.
Talk to your vet about the right time to spay or neuter your pet. According to the American Humane Association, both procedures are safe for dogs and cats at as early as eight weeks of age.
At what age did you spay or neuter your pet? Tell us about it in the comments!