It’s a decision every pet parent needs to make: whether to spay or neuter their pet.

As with all medical procedures, new research comes out periodically and can change the previous standard of care. Some have suggested that spaying or neutering dogs or cats early in life – before the pet has reached sexual maturity – creates an increased risk for health problems later in life, including joint disease or certain cancers. However, extensive veterinary studies have shown that the impact of early spay-neuter varies hugely across breeds and sexes.

Research has also dispelled the myth that sterilization significantly impacts a pet’s behavior, making them more docile or easier to train. While spaying and neutering alters the hormone levels in dogs and cats, there is not enough of a direct correlation to say that all neutered pets will become less aggressive.

There are two primary reasons that most people choose to sterilize their pets:

  • Avoid accidental pregnancies: Pets that have been spayed or neutered cannot reproduce, period. Unwanted litters often end up in shelters, so unless you’re prepared to care for puppies or kittens, you should consider sterilizing your pet. This also means they are less likely to want to roam, break free of their yard, and get into potential danger.
  • Eliminate the risk of certain cancers: Neutered males have lower instances of testicular cancer, and females who have been spayed are at reduced risk for uterine and mammary tumors.

For the majority of dogs and cats, the benefits of spaying and neutering far outweigh the risks. However, the most important thing you can do before making your decision is to consult your veterinarian. They will advise you based on your pet’s age, breed, and medical history. They will also review the benefits and risks of the sterilization procedure with you, so you can make an informed decision.

If you’re considering spaying or neutering your pet, contact Westfield Veterinary Group to discuss your pet’s circumstances and learn about our surgical capabilities.