Happy International Women’s Day! To celebrate this momentous day, we are going to discuss a topic that involves those female pets out there: Spaying. There is a lot of information floating about regarding altering your pets and whether it is a positive or negative, so we are going to set the record straight! If you adopted your pet from a shelter, there’s a 99.9% chance that the shelter spayed them before finalizing the adoption. Most shelters have alteration policies to essentially lessen the number of homeless pets that come through their doors, and thus lower euthanasia rates. However, if you got your cat/dog from a breeder, or a pet store, the choice is up to you.
Spaying your cat or dog (or even rabbits) is healthier for them in the long run. Animals who remain unaltered have a much higher percent chance of contracting uterine infections, and developing malignant tumors. Mammary tumors are significantly more prevalent in non-spayed females. They are cancerous in about 50 percent of dogs, and 90 percent of cats. These tumors also often go unnoticed until it is too late, and even when they are identified, result in the animal requiring dangerous surgical procedures. A common myth is that you should allow your cat or dog to go through one heat cycle before spaying them. Every heat cycle your pet goes through actually increases their percentage of developing cancerous cells. So actually, quite the opposite is true – studies have shown that spaying your cat or dog prior to their first heat cycle almost eliminates their chance of developing mammary tumors, UTIs, and Ovarian Cancer.
Spaying your kitty or puppy can also significantly reduce behavioral issues. Cats who spray often do so because they are in heat and marking. Female cats usually go into heat for about 4-5 days every three weeks during breeding season – that’s a lot of time to be living with a cat who is uncomfortably yowling and urinating around the house! For those of you unfamiliar with unaltered female dogs, they actually have menstrual cycles! This means that your pup will be bleeding…all over your house…unless they have a diaper on. This is inconvenient, uncomfortable, and avoidable!
If you are not planning on breeding your cat or dog, spaying is the way to go. Pets can get knocked up, just like people can, and an unplanned litter of any type of pet is expensive. The materials required to care for a litter of kittens or puppies are extensive and involved. Breeders need the proper resources and access to emergency veterinary care, should mama or puppies begin to develop health concerns. They also need the knowledge-base to be able to provide supportive care for neonatal animals, just in case mama is unable to care for her babies for whatever reason.
Puppies and Kittens are generally ready for their alteration surgeries around the age of 8 weeks if they are healthy and developing normally. If you are bringing a new kitten/puppy into your home, and have no plans to breed them, speak to your vet about alteration timelines. You’ll have a healthier, better behaved, happier pet!
Click the link below to read more about altering your cat or dog: