Making the responsible choice
Spaying or neutering can help reduce pet overpopulation and may help prevent other health and behavioral problems.
An estimated 3 million to 4 million abandoned or surrendered companion animals are euthanized in the United States each year. The sad fact is, there are simply more pets than people who can care for them.
Spaying is removal of the female ovaries and the uterus. Neutering is removal of the male testicles. By preventing unplanned pregnancies, spaying or neutering your pet helps address the pet overpopulation problem. Spaying and neutering can also help prevent development of hormone-related health problems, such as mammary, uterine and ovarian tumors and uterine infections in females and testicular tumors in males. Neutering male dogs or cats may also help reduce such behaviors as roaming, humping, territorial marking or spraying, and dog-to-dog aggression. Plus, spaying or neutering costs much less than raising a litter of puppies or kittens.
Female heat cycles
When we spay a female dog or cat, we remove both ovaries and the uterus so that she will no longer experience a heat cycle.
In a dog, the heat cycle usually begins between 6 and 12 months of age. The cycle lasts around three weeks. During that time, the dog will bleed. Unlike a human menstrual cycle, the dog’s heat cycle only involves drops of blood. Many dogs clean themselves so well that we don’t notice their cycle. Others are not so fastidious. For these dogs, you can purchase “doggie pads” to eliminate soiling. The cycle repeats every six months unless the dog is spayed.
A cat’s heat cycle starts between 5 and 7 months. A cat does not bleed, but she will howl loudly. The may roll around on the floor or “present” herself to other pets in the household. She may also be overwhelmingly affectionate. A female cat will cycle in and out of heat weekly until she is mated or spayed.
What timing is perfect?
Recently, you may have heard a lot of different information and opinions about the most appropriate time to spay or neuter. These surgeries are usually done before your pet reaches sexual maturity, as early as six to eight months, after he or she has been vaccinated. Spaying a female before the first heat cycle provides the greatest protection against mammary tumors. However, waiting until your pet is sexually mature to have it altered may reduce the risk of certain other cancers. We can help you understand all the issues involved in spaying or neutering, including timing of the surgery, and come to a decision that is right for you and your pet.
If you are planning to breed your dog, you may not want to have it spayed or neutered at all. Although we do not advise this for the average owner, if you do choose to breed, we will help you through your pet’s pregnancy, delivery and care of the litter.
What to expect
A few days before the surgery, we examine your pet and take blood samples to evaluate any anesthesia risks based on your pet’s age and health status. You will receive instructions on how to prepare for the surgery and when to bring your pet to Rockledge Veterinary Center. [LINK TO Services > Surgery (Advanced)]
Before the surgery, your pet will receive pre-anesthetic drugs to relax him or her and prevent pain. We will place an intravenous (IV) catheter to administer fluids. During the surgery, our experienced surgical technicians will monitor your pet’s temperature, heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen levels to make sure that he or she is stable. After the procedure, your pet will remain with us for several hours for monitoring. When your pet is able to walk and we have determined that he or she is stable, your pet will be discharged to your care.
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