Absolutely not! Altered pets require up to 30% less calories than unaltered pets. The reason they gain weight is owners do not adjust their diets and/or exercise to meet their caloric needs after being spayed or neutered.

Here are the top nine reasons that you should spay or neuter your pet:

  1. Overpopulation. Have you ever heard the expression “The top ten reasons to spay or neuter your pet were killed in the pound today”? It’s an ugly, ugly truth. There are an estimated 6-8 million dogs and cats entering shelters each year. Many of those animals never find forever homes and will be euthanized. Simply adopting and/or euthanizing are not solutions to the pet overpopulation problem. It must be addressed at the source by spaying or neutering pets.
  2. Reduced risk for some cancers. If you spay your female pet before her first heat cycle, the incidence of malignant breast cancer is virtually reduced to zero. Male pets also have a significantly reduced chance of developing prostate or testicular cancers (pets without testicles can’t develop testicular cancer!).
  3. Reduced risk for uterine infections. Spayed pets never develop a uterine infection called pyometra. The infection is caused by progesterone, which is not produced once the uterus and ovaries are removed. Think of it as appendicitis for the uterus. It develops quickly, is nasty, painful and deadly if not immediately treated by expensive emergency surgery.
  4. More peaceful nights and cleaner days. Female cats are notorious for calling out to potential mates when they are in heat. This catcalling will last for hours, usually in the middle of the night, for 7-10 days. Since female cats go into heat cycles every two weeks for three cycles a year – that’s a lot of catcalling to endure. Female dogs go into heat for an average of three weeks every 6-8 months. That’s a long time to ward off male callers who will go to surprising lengths to get to your female – even through chain link fences! In addition, female dogs tend to bleed during heat and will constantly dribble on and mess the carpet.
  5. No wild oats to sow. Males are much less likely to roam when neutered because there is a less instinctual drive to find a mate. Roaming males are subjected to car accidents, fights with other animals and even homelessness if they end up in a shelter.
  6. Fewer “showers.” While all pets may have the drive to mark their territory and should be taught to eliminate appropriately outside or in a litter box, unneutered pets are practically guaranteed to urinate on vertical surfaces all over their territory. These surfaces include your tables, couches, chairs, beds, and walls.
  7. Less aggressive behavior. Neutered male pets are less likely to exhibit dominant, testosterone-based aggressive behavior that leads to human bites, fights with other male pets, wounds and veterinary expenses. Intact female pets are also capable of showing aggressive behavior during heat cycles.
  8. Just like little people – little pets cost money. Pregnancy and birth lead to veterinary expenses. Even if all goes well you will have to provide the proper diet for both the mother and babies, standard tests and all vaccinations. If all doesn’t go well you may be looking at an emergency surgery to save the lives of mother and babies. Then you have to look at the time involved in finding proper homes for the puppies or kittens. It is far less expensive to spay or neuter your pet before they have the chance to mate.
  9. Not enough homes. Every puppy or kitten born in a littler (6-10) means that every pet already in a shelter is less likely to find a forever home. This is very similar to overpopulation, but instead, you’re looking at it from the point of view of the pets already in shelters. There are only so many people out there willing to take in a homeless pet, adding more to the adoption pool dilutes the chances of any one animal finding a family and home.

We know you love your pet and you want to reduce the risk of complications with anesthesia, so become an educated consumer of veterinary medicine before you make any decisions – either at our hospital or another of your choice. Regardless of the practitioner, your pet should always receive the best possible care and quality of medicine.

There is less risk of complications for surgery if the following precautions are taken. We follow all of these precautions and recommendations with every surgical procedure –  no matter how big or small.

Prior to the procedure:

  • Have your pet fully examined and evaluated as to level of anesthetic risk. A repeat of this evaluation must be done within 12 hours of anesthesia, as required by law.
  • Have any necessary pre-anesthetic work-up (blood-work, radiographs, EKG, etc) done as close to the procedure as possible. If too much time has lapsed, it may need to be repeated. This work-up is vital to determining any additional precautions to be taken both before and during the procedure.
  • A pre-anesthetic blood panel is required on all pets. The older the pet, the more parameters that need to be checked.
  • Peri-operative IV fluids are required for all pets.
  • Pre-emptive pain control has been shown to greatly help speed up the recovery process. It is easier to manage pain before it begins than to try and catch up with treating it after. Make sure some type of pain control is used (butorphenol, morphine, fentenyl, buprenex, metacam, etc).
  • One of the biggest risks to anesthesia is a drop in blood pressure to the kidneys. This can be avoided by using peri-operative IV fluids via an intravenous catheter and monitoring blood pressure every few minutes.
  • The hospital calls you the day before to remind you about your scheduled drop-off time and to fast your pet beginning that night.

During the procedure:

  • Make sure newer inhaled gas anesthetic agents (isoflurane or sevoflurane) are used.
  • Make sure separate, sterile surgical packs, fresh scalpel blades and swedged-on needles and suture are used for each individual patient.
  • Make sure that everyone in the surgical suite is capped and masked, and that anyone moving in the surgical field is gowned in a sterile cap and gown.
  • Make sure the patient is monitored at all times by someone other than the surgeon and that that person is skilled in monitoring anesthetic depth via respiration, heart rate, pulse strength, oxygen saturation, jaw tone, eye position, etc.
  • The surgical suite should have a higher pressure in its ventilation system, compared with the rest of the hospital, to keep “bad air” out.
  • We inject Marcaine, a long-lasting, local anesthetic, at the incision site, again, to help with pain control.

After the procedure:

  • Your pet is monitored through its post-anesthetic recovery. As soon as it is able, if necessary, your pet is allowed to walk for voiding.
  • As soon as your pet is stable enough to go home, we allow it to, as pets do better with recovery at home, whenever possible.
  • Your pet receives an appropriate, balanced meal as soon as it has recovered enough – remember, you had to fast it the night before!
  • Pain and antibiotic medications began when your pet sufficiently recovered but is still under the doctor’s care.
  • Upon discharge, you receive instructions for at home care as well as how to administer medications. Plus, a re-check appointment is made for staple/suture removal and to evaluate the recovery status of your pet.
  • The hospital advises you to call at any time following surgery with questions or concerns (or to leave a message out of hours).
  • The hospital has a staff member call the following day to make sure your pet’s first night post-surgery was acceptable.