When you welcome a new puppy or kitten into your heart and home, you gain a best friend and beloved family member. But also, a new list of responsibilities. You must now supply food, water, shelter, training, and safety, make sure they have enough mental and physical stimulation each day, and provide them with the appropriate medical care they require and deserve – which includes decisions around spaying or neutering.
Each year, there are countless pets that end up homeless in New Jersey shelters, with not enough homes for them. You can help. By making the responsible choice to spay or neuter your pet, you are helping to control the overpopulation of unwanted pets in our community, state, and even nationwide.
Not to mention, you reduce numerous health risks later in your pet’s life and help them with certain behavioral issues. It’s a win-win.
What is the Difference Between a Spay and Neuter?
Spay and neuter procedures – collectively called gonadectomies – are by far the most common surgeries performed on dogs and cats in the United States. Here’s a basic overview:
- Spaying (ovariohysterectomy) – The surgical removal of a female pet’s uterus and both ovaries through an incision in the abdomen.
- Neutering (castration) – The surgical removal of a male pet’s testes through an incision near the front of the scrotum.
Both surgeries are performed by one of our veterinarians under general anesthesia for your pet’s complete comfort and safety.
Is Spaying or Neutering Really Necessary?
The simple answer to this is, yes. Responsible pet owners can make a difference in the number of unwanted pets by sterilizing their new puppy or kitten. Spaying and neutering also helps protect against serious health conditions and often reduces many of the behavioral issues associated with natural mating instincts. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) states:
- Removing a female dog or cat’s ovaries eliminates heat cycles and generally reduces the unwanted behaviors that may lead to owner frustration.
- Removing the testes from male dogs and cats reduces the breeding instinct, making them less inclined to roam and more content to stay at home.
- Early spaying of female dogs and cats can help protect them from some serious health problems later in life such as uterine infections and mammary (breast) cancer.
- Neutering your male pet can also lessen its risk of developing benign prostatic hyperplasia (enlarged prostate gland) and testicular cancer.
It’s important to know that spaying or neutering your new furry friend has zero negative impacts on their intelligence or ability to play, learn, or work. After the procedure, they will still be the same bundle of fur you fell in love with the day you met.
When Should You Spay or Neuter Your Pet?
We always recommend pet parents consult with one of our veterinarians on the most appropriate time to spay or neuter a pet. While the general belief at Westfield Veterinary Group is under one year of age, there are going to be situations that arise where the veterinarian may alter the plan. The best time to spay or neuter depends on the individual pet’s breed, physical condition, and present health concerns.
Please keep in mind that contrary to popular belief, it is NOT always the best idea to wait until your female cat or dog has gone through her first heat cycle.
Bring Your New Puppy or Kitten In for Our Comprehensive Pediatric Visits
Like infants, puppies and kittens require a series of health exams and lab work during their first 6 months of life. Our comprehensive pediatric visits include a physical examination to ensure proper development, parasitic disease screening and treatment, and vaccinations. When the proper time arrives, we will discuss spaying or neutering of your pet, as well as the pre-operative and post-operative care of each procedure.