Spaying and neutering your pet
The concepts of spaying and neutering have come a long way in the field of animal care. Many pet parents used to be of the opinion that it was cruel and unnatural to get their pets “fixed”. Many also thought that every pet, if female, should have one litter at the least and if male, should be mated at least once in their lifetime. As times have changed, so have opinions and ideas.
What is spaying and neutering?
Spaying and neutering essentially refers to the removal of the reproductive organs of the female and male animals respectively. These surgeries are performed under the supervision of a licenced veterinary surgeon. Before any surgeries are scheduled, it is of utmost importance that all and any preliminary reports, such as blood tests, be done to ensure that the pet is healthy and fit for surgery. Depending on the advice of your vet, they will suggest any of the following options:
Spaying or Ovariohysterectomy
Here the fallopian tubes, ovaries and uterus are removed from a female cat or dog. An ovariohysterectomy completely eliminates their heat cycle. They are unable to reproduce as a result.
Neutering or Orchiectomy
The reproductive organs of male cats and dogs – the testes, are removed in this procedure. Not only does it prevent them from reproducing, it also gets rid of behaviour that is related to instinct and breeding.
Other surgical options:
The complete removal of all reproductive organs as mentioned above is the most popular option of many pet parents around the world. Other surgical options such as hysterectomies, vasectomies and ovariectomies are also suggested by many vets. In these procedures, the organs that produce hormones are left intact. As a result, all behaviour that is instinctive and breeding-related is retained.
Is it really necessary?
With any invasive surgical procedure, comes the list of pros and cons. Should you as a pet parent be doing this? Is it actually beneficial for your pet? What are the risks? Will the surgery cause a change in your pet’s behaviour? Will your pet gain weight after the surgery? These might be some of the questions going through your mind as you make a decision. So let us list out some pros and cons of spaying and neutering your pet.
- Spaying female cats and dogs at an early age considerably reduces the risk of cancer and uterine infections. Similarly, when you neuter your male pets, it lessens the risk of their developing testicular and prostate cancer.
- These procedures decrease their urge to “roam”. Roaming is an ingrained, instinctive behaviour that urges them to wander in search of a mate. Getting your pet fixed will help eliminate this behaviour, the result of which is that there are lesser chances that your pet might get lost.
- Territorial and aggressive behaviour that comes with the dreaded “heat season” will also reduce dramatically. This includes spraying, marking territory and humping (humans and/or furniture)
- The so called “mess” associated with a female who has come into season is completely eradicated. This is one of the main reasons why many people prefer getting a male pet over a female, which really is no reason to pick one gender over the other.
- The risk of unwanted pregnancies is eliminated.
According to research, urinary incontinence can be one of the side effects of getting these procedures done. The removal of hormone producing organs also is known to have some effects on their over-all health. Some pets have known to gain weight as well. All side-effects vary from one pet to the other. And it is not written in stone that your pet will definitely go through any or all of these.
The efficacy, pros, cons and side effects of any invasive surgery on your pet should be discussed in depth with your vet. We also encourage you to do your own thorough research so that you are able to, with the help of your vet, choose the best option for the health and general well-being of your beloved pet.
Happy pet parenting!