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Facts and Myths About Spaying and Neutering Pets

Behavior, By Species, By Topic, Care & Wellness, Cats, Dogs

We have all heard or read about the importance of having your pet spayed (if female) or neutered (if male). However, there still seems to be a lot of misinformation about the procedure and its effects. Here are a few facts to ponder as you consider the importance, other than pet population control, of getting your pet spayed or neutered.

MYTH #1. My pet will gain weight if spayed or neutered.

The hormones that decrease significantly after removal of the reproductive organs can slow down the metabolism, which burns calories. However, pets that are spayed or neutered are not doomed to obesity. Because of their lower metabolism, your pet must be fed appropriately.

MYTH #2. My pet’s behavior will change after being spayed or neutered.

Usually no change in behavior is noted post surgically. If there is a behavioral change, usually it is a positive one. Since unneutered pets tend to “roam” and also have a greater tendency to urinate and “mark” their territory, getting your pet neutered before these negative behaviors have time to become “normal behavior’ is a major advantage. Female unspayed pets may also have negative behaviors associated with their heat cycles. The spayed or neutered pet, without these hormonal ‘distractions’, can focus more on positive interactions with their human families.

MYTH #3. Spaying or Neutering can cause Health problems.

There is no absolute age at which a dog or cat should be spayed or neutered. It is known, however, that spayed females have a much lower chance of developing mammary cancer and almost no chance of developing ovarian cancer while male dogs lower their risk of prostate disease. It is recommended that most pets be spayed or neutered before their first heat cycle or 6 months of age. This will alleviate most of the unwanted behaviors associated with the hormones and will also significantly decrease the risks of certain hormonal diseases. Some spayed females, in later years, may develop hormone responsive incontinence. This is due to the lower levels of estrogen after spaying. It is fairly uncommon and can be managed with appropriate medication if it does develop.

The bottom line: The overall benefits for the health, behavior and general well-being of your pet by getting them spayed or neutered is an overwhelming advantage compared to the surgical risks involved with the procedure!

Call CEDARCREST Animal Clinic at 540-943-7577 to set up an appointment to spay or neuter your pet.

CEDARCREST Animal Clinic provides medical and surgical care for every stage of your pet's life including preventive wellness care exams and vaccines, spays/neuters, and a variety of specialized care for your dog, cat, avian, or exotic. We are home to the only veterinarian practitioner in Virginia to be double Boarded in Avian and Canine/Feline care and provide care for birds, small mammals, and reptiles of all sorts! Plus, we are home to Virginia's most exclusive dog boarding resort that includes heated floors, an expansive play area, and even webcams so you can watch your pet while you're away. We're located in Fishersville, Virginia, and serve Augusta County and surrounding areas including Waynesboro, Staunton, Harrisonburg, and Charlottesville. 

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