Unless you are a breeder- and a very good, responsible one at that- there is no reason to not get your dog or cat desexed. Surgical desexing is referred to as castration (neutering) in male animals and ovariohysterectomy (spaying) in female animals. Neutering is the surgical removal of both testes in males and spaying is the removal of the ovaries and uterus in females. Both are routine surgeries that most vets perform frequently, and carry a very low risk of complications in young, healthy pets.
There are many reasons for desexing:
• Desexing females before the first heat cycle at about 6 months of age dramatically reduces the risk of mammary (breast) cancer, which is a horrible, aggressive disease.
• Females can get very sick with a disease called ‘pyometra,’ where the uterus fills up with pus. Desexing early prevents this.
• Prevention of testicular problems such as cancer in males.
• Reduction of aggression in male dogs.
• Roaming to seek a mate, especially in cats, can get your flirty little kitty into all sorts of trouble such as fights with other cats, dog attacks and encounters with moving cars!
There are a couple of myths that put people off from desexing their pets. One is that female dogs and cats should have at least one litter. Not true! There is no scientific basis for this opinion. Another misconception is that animals ‘lose their personality’ when we remove their reproductive organs.
Minor disadvantages of desexing include weight gain and increased likelihood of urinary incontinence (loss of bladder control) in older female dogs. The first problem can be controlled with a healthy diet and exercise. If urinary incontinence occurs, it can be treated with medications.
However, the benefits of early desexing far outweigh any disadvantages. Making the decision and spending the money on the operation when your pet is young can prevent many problems and save a lot of money, pain and heartache later on in your beloved pet’s life.
Do you agree that these advantages make it worth the time, money, and potential side effects involved with the operation? Share your opinion today.