Pet Neutering Benefits Are A Plus9 min read

 In Cats, Dogs, General



I talked about pet neutering all the time in practice and I was always amazed that very few people knew about the TRUE benefits of neutering a dog or cat.  First, some terminology we need to get under our belts.  Neutering is a general term that is used for both males and females.  A neutered pet is a male or female dog or cat that is unable to reproduce.  Spaying (ovariohysterectomy) is the term used when referring to female animals.  Castration (orchidectomy) is the term used when referring to male animals.

Many wives tales have been passed from generation to generation.  The biggest one is that is better to let the female go through one heat cycle (with or without getting pregnant) than to spay her at 5-6 months of age.  That is dead wrong!  Spaying the dog at 6 months means zero chance of developing breast cancer in her older age.  One estrous cycle increases that risk by 8%.  Yes, a female dog or cat can have puppies or kittens at 8 months (6 months till sexual maturity plus a 2 month pregnancy) of age but the pelvis is immature.  This means a smaller birth canal and a higher risk for the need of a cesarean section.

The benefits of pet neutering are major for both male and female dogs and cats.  They say a picture or a diagram is worth a 1000 words.  An interactive display panel will clue you in on the most important pet neutering benefits!


Prevents Unwanted Pregnancies

Getting a pet neutered at 6 months of age is best.

The best way to decrease the overpopulation of dogs and cats is by neutering BOTH sexes. This can be cultural. In some countries people don't have a problem neutering females but not males. The only time a female dog or cat is receptive to the male is when she is in estrous (heat). Male dogs have been known to mate through a chain link fence.

Decreases Breast Cancer Risk

Breast cancer is extremely common in older dogs.

Most people get their female dogs and cats in to be spayed mainly because they do not want to deal with a litter of kittens or puppies. Breast cancer risks are also reduced. These cancers are usually seen in the 4th or 5th mammary gland pair. In dogs the cancers are mixed; that is benign or malignant with or without lymph node involvement. Breast cancer in cats are usually small growths but always malignant.

Decreases The Risk of Uterine Disease

Most uterine diseases require an emergency spay

The most common uterine disease in dogs and cats is pyometra. Older dogs that have not been spayed or have been through numerous false pregnancies are at a high risk of developing the disease. It is seen in middle aged dogs and cats most commonly. The uterus can fill up with pus. If an ovariohysterectomy is not performed the patient could die of sepsis or renal failure. Most animals that receive prompt surgical and medical care usually do well if caught in the early stages.


Minimizes Roaming And Other Behavior

Most dogs neutered young don't hike their legs on objects.

Most animals hit by cars are male dogs and cats that have not been neutered. Once neutered, animals stay closer to home and in the process stay away from cars. Testosterone is the male sex hormone. Neutering removes the majority of that (it is made in the testicles) so males are more docile and less aggressive. Almost all cats neutered at 5-6 months will not spray. After that, cross your fingers.

Preventing Testicular Cancer

Sertoli cell tumors are often seen in intact male dogs.

Sertoli cell tumors are seen in middle aged and older male dogs. They are most commonly seen in dogs with a (or both) retained testicle. These tumors secrete estrogen and the male animal is feminized. The most common sign is development of the mammary glands. The treatment is castration. If one of the testicles is up in the inguinal canal or in the abdomen, it too must be removed. Neutering prevents this.

Eliminates Prostate Enlargement

All intact male dogs over 5 years of age have an enlarged prostate.

The prostate gland is under testosterone control. The urethra passes through the center of it. As the gland enlarges, it pinches off the diameter of the urethra and rectum making urination and defecation difficult. In advanced cases males can obstruct and are unable to urinate. This is an emergency. Castration decreases the prostate gland in size within 2 weeks.



Most of this article has been directed towards younger dogs and cats.  Pet neutering also is important for the health of breeding dogs and cats.  Once these dogs or cats reach about 4-5 years of age, they all should be neutered to prevent the development of the diseases and conditions that were brought up earlier.  I would usually neuter any dog or cat of any age as long as the dog or cat was a good anesthetic risk and the owners allowed a complete senior lab workup to be performed.  Even at an older age, most animals benefit from the procedure.

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