SPAY AND NEUTER
Spaying or neutering refers to a surgical procedure to render a dog or cat unable to produce litters of puppies or kittens.
If your pet is “intact,” meaning not already spayed or neutered, the best time to have the pet altered is before the onset of sexual maturity. In cats this is at around four months and in dogs this is usually before five months. Sexual maturity refers to the first time a female dog or cat goes into heat, or before the male dog or cat starts behavior that is associated with male hormones, including marking their ‘territory,’ a habit which can include urinating on furniture, shrubs and vehicles as well as roaming in search of females and fighting with other male animals.
For female dogs and cats, being altered before the first heat cycle prevents mammary cancer in over 99% of dogs and over 90% of cats. Mammary cancer is nine times more likely to affect a dog than a person, and dogs are the most common mammals to be victims of this deadly disease. Other issues for female animals include prevention of pyometra (an often fatal uterine infection).
For male animals eliminating roaming and fighting can literally mean the difference between life and death. ‘Getting lost,’ is not the worst that male dogs and cats can run into.
Roaming and fighting are associated with male cats which have not been altered. Fighting that often results in bites that break the skin and cause the exchange of bodily fluids is one way that male cats get and give feline AIDS and feline leukemia virus. Female cats which breed with roaming male cats are at risk of these diseases as well, and if they have a litter of kittens feline AIDS and feline leukemia virus can be spread from mother to nursing kitten