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Spaying and Neutering: What It Is and Why It’s Important

One of the most important decisions pet owners need to make is if they will spay or neuter their animal companions. Most people consider spaying and neutering to be ways of controlling the population of pets. While that is true, it is just one of the primary benefits.


Did you know that neutering or spaying your pet can positively impact the long-term health of your pet? It can also be a solution for some behavioral issues.


Difference Between Spaying and Neutering


Both of these terms refer to the sterilization of an animal through a surgical procedure. The difference between these two procedures comes down to the animal’s gender. Spaying is a surgical procedure involving the surgical amputation of the ovaries and uterus of a female animal. Neutering, on the other hand, involves removing the testicles of a male animal. The purpose of these procedures is to ensure treated animals will not reproduce.


When to Spay/Neuter Your Pet


Spaying/neutering can benefit your pet behaviorally as well as medically. The American Animal Hospital Association recommends that you spay or neuter small dogs that weigh less than 45 pounds as adults by 6 months of age.


For larger breeds that weigh more than 45 pounds as adults, spaying should happen between 5 and 15 months of age and neutering between 9 and 15 months. For cats, this should happen by the time they are 5 months old. If you are not sure when to spay or neuter your pet, your veterinarian at Cherry Hills Animal Hospital can help you choose the best time based on various factors.


Importance of Neutering/Spaying Your Pet


Sterilizing your pet can benefit both your animal companion and your community. Sterilized animals, according to the ASPCA, tend to be less aggressive due to the elimination of their instinct to mate. Other benefits include:


Pet Health and Longevity


The average lifespan of sterilized dogs and cats tends to be significantly longer than those not spayed/neutered. According to a study conducted by the University of Georgia, the life expectancy of male dogs and female dogs that were spayed or neutered was longer by 13.8 percent and 26.3 percent, respectively.


Also, based on medical records, the average age of death of unsterilized dogs was 7.9 years, compared to 9.4 years for sterilized dogs. Furthermore, according to medical research, spayed/neutered pets have a decreased likelihood of developing certain conditions. These include uterine infections, breast tumors, testicular cancer, and more.


Reduce Unwanted Behavior


Unaltered dogs are more prone to behavioral problems, such as urinating everywhere or aggression, than altered dogs are. In cats, the urge to spray is very strong in those not neutered/spayed. Neutering your cat can solve up to 90 percent of all marking problems. It can also minimize the urge to fight with other male cats, roam, and howl.


To learn more about the importance of spaying and neutering pets, call Greenwood Village Veterinary Clinic at our office in Greenwood Village, Colorado at (303) 771-6304 today.

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