Spaying and Neutering Your Dog
Spaying and neutering are the respective surgical processes of female and male animal sterilization, to keep them from producing offspring. Neutering is sometimes used to refer to the surgery in either males or females. The process in males is also referred to as castration, or gelding.
Unlike in humans, sterilization in animals usually involves the outright removal of sexual organs. While many agree on the advantages of sterilization as a method of birth control, the necessity and humanity of spaying and neutering, as opposed to alternative methods of birth control, and the political agendas within the debate, are a subject of some controversy.
Most humane societies, animal shelters, and rescue groups (not to mention numerous commercial entities) urge pet owners to have their pets "spayed or neutered" to prevent the births of unwanted litters, contributing to the overpopulation of animals.
Additionally, spaying and neutering have health benefits. Uterine, ovarian, and testicular cancer are prevented (although these cancers are not common in household animals), and hormone-driven diseases such as benign prostatic hypertrophy become a non-issue as well.
Female cats and dogs are seven times more likely to develop mammary tumors if they are not spayed before their first heat cycle. Unspayed dogs have a 25% chance of developing mammary tumors, about 50% of which are malignant.A dangerous common uterine infection known as pyometra is also prevented.
Immediate complications of spaying and neutering include anesthetic and surgical complications. In the long run, dogs of both genders have an increased risk of obesity due to the fact that pet owners continue to feed as if the animal was still intact; this can be easily prevented by modifying the diet.
Spayed female dogs sometimes develop urinary incontinence, and neutered males display a somewhat increased incidence of prostate cancer over intact males. Spayed and neutered dogs have also been known to develop hormone-responsive alopecia (hair loss). Neutered male cats are more prone to urethral obstruction due to narrowing of the urethra.
The procedures may also help to address behavioral issues that might otherwise result in animals being given up to shelters, abandoned, or euthanised. Obviously, the animals lose their libido, and females no longer experience heat cycles, which may be a major nuisance factor, especially in female cats. This is due to the hormonal changes involved with both genders. Minor personality changes may occur in the animal.
Neutering is often recommended in cases of undesirable behavior in dogs, although studies suggest that while roaming, urine marking, and mounting are reduced in neutered males, it has little effect on aggression and other important behavioral issues.
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Even the smallest dog can lift its leg on the tallest building.
~ Jim Hightower