This article was posted by the American Veterinary Medical Association, and is a great reminder of the importance of spaying and neutering our pets.
Every year, millions of unwanted dogs and cats, including puppies and kittens, are needlessly euthanized. The good news is that every pet owner can help make a difference. By having your dog or cat surgically sterilized so it cannot reproduce, you will do your part to prevent the birth of unwanted puppies and kittens and can enhance your pet’s health and quality of life.
Spaying and neutering not only prevent unwanted litters and may reduce many behavioral problems associated with the mating instinct (e.g. marking territory, and roaming), but also reduce or eliminated the risk of conditions such as testicular cancer, prostatic hyperplasia, ovarian cancer, uterine cancer and uterine infection. Reducing roaming may lower the risks of your do being hit by a car, fighting, or biting people or other dogs.
Spaying and neutering are major surgical procedures and are the most common surgeries performed by veterinarians on cats and dogs. Your pet is given a thorough physical examination to ensure that it is in good health prior to the procedure. General anesthesia is administered during the surgery and efforts, including provision of pain-relieving medications, are usually made to minimize pain. You will need to keep your pet calm and quiet for a few days after surgery as the incision heals.
Like any surgical procedure, sterilization is associated with some anesthetic and surgical risk, but the overall incidence of complication is very low. Because changes in concentration of reproductive hormones may affect your pet’s risk of developing certain diseases and conditions in the future, your veterinarian will advise you on both the benefits and risks of the sterilization procedure.
Consult with your veterinarian about the most appropriate time to spay or neuter your pet based upon its breed, age and physical condition.