We would recommend spaying dogs and cats if owners do not want to breed. This means removing the ovaries. Uneutered animals have much higher health risks such as developing mammary cancer (breast cancer) and pyometras (uterine infections) which can be fatal and are often difficult to identify. There is a 1 in 200 chance of getting mammary tumours if spayed before the first heat. This increases to 1 in 4 if spayed after the third heat. It is also easier to cope with neutered pets as they are not going to come on heat and will not have the risk of male dogs chasing them when they are on heat. Females do not have to have a litter before they are spayed.
In male animals the testicles are removed. Castration can make pets less aggressive if done early and less likely to show territorial traits such as spraying or marking. In cats there is less risk of fighting and so less risk of getting FIV (Feline Aids virus). This is spread by bites and scratches and can’t be treated.
Neutering male dogs protects against testicular cancer and against some of the prostate diseases. It is also difficult to keep male pets home if there is a female on heat in the neighbourhood and some dogs can become dominant if not neutered. However if you have a problem of aggression with your pet, please get advice as there are lots of causes and neutering may not be the correct solution in certain cases.
Once pets are neutered they can have a tendency to put on weight. If you have your pet neutered just watch their weight and cut back on their food if they are gaining weight. Neutered animals do not have to be overweight. Female dogs may have a higher tendency to incontinence but this can usually be medically managed and can occur in older uneutered female dogs too.
As neutering has been shown to increase life expectancy by approximately a year due to less diseases we would recommend neutering within the first year.
If you would like any more information then phone 01621 818282 (Tiptree Veterinary Centre) or 01206 561407 (Willows Veterinary Centre) to book an appointment with one of our vets.