national spay and neuter awareness month.

We all want what is best for our pets so that we can enjoy them for as long as possible. Doing everything that we can to support overall pet health is important to us at Veterinary Medical Associates. We also have to think about overall animal wellness within our communities. Pet spay and neuter can play a big role in individual health as well as within the greater whole, and fall among one of the more important pet owner responsibilities. 

To Fix or Not to Fix?

In recent years, there has been some movement away from the old school Bob Barker mentality. Various groups have produced evidence that potentially spay and neuter could have some negative effects on individual pets. 

To date, however, the evidence remains a little murky. Studies advocating for delayed or avoidance of spay and neuter are generally collected from retrospective data, and have little or no control over complicating factors. Small sample sizes are also often concerning. 

The pet owner responsibilities of having an intact, sexually mature pet also come into play. Unaltered animals have different behavioral needs, and it can be very time consuming to prevent unwanted litters. 

Intact pets are more likely to roam or get into fights, and hormonally-driven behaviors like urine marking can be a concern. We are more than happy to discuss the potential risks and benefits of spay and neuter for your individual situation. 

Spay and Neuter for Pet Health

Traditionally, the veterinary community has advocated the altering of our pets just prior to sexual maturity. 

There are some very compelling reasons to spay or neuter around six months for most household pets as part of their wellness care:

  • Larger body weight/size increases the cost of anesthesia and surgery
  • Spaying or neutering a mature animal can have increased risk
  • Spaying before first estrus decreases mammary cancer risk dramatically
  • Spaying prevents life-threatening pyometra (uterus infection)
  • Neutering lowers risk of health complications such as benign prostatic hyperplasia, perineal hernia development, and testicular tumors
  • Spaying and neutering may decrease behavioral problems such as urine marking and interdog aggression
  • Spaying and neutering prior to sexual maturity decreases unwanted litters

There is no perfect answer for if and when to spay and neuter. The right answer for your family may be very different from the right one for someone else.

For most pets, though, spaying or neutering around six months of age seems to be a smart choice. We are always happy to help talk you through your individual situation, though, to make the best choice for your family.