Do you love your dog or cat? Of course you do! What if there was a simple procedure that could reduce the chance of serious illness in the future, adding years to your dog’s life? You’d schedule the procedure in a heartbeat. An ovariohysterectomy, commonly known as spay, can do just that.
Estrogen Levels in Pets
An intact female has more estrogen in her body than a spayed female. The estrogen hormone drives the growth of mammary tumors. More than one half of the mammary tumors in dogs are cancerous. Approximately 85% of mammary tumors in cats are cancerous. Spaying your female dog before her first heat cycle, or your female cat before 6 months of age, drastically reduces the chance of her developing a cancerous mammary growth.
Uterine Infections in Female Dogs and Cats
An intact female also runs the risk of developing a uterine infection, also called pyometra. The same characteristics of the female reproductive tract that facilitate breeding, embryo implantation and sustain a pregnancy also can detrimentally allow for the uptake of bacteria. An infected uterus poses serious health risks. An ovariohysterectomy is the preferred treatment. Performing surgery while the uterus is infected is higher risk than a routine ovariohysterectomy. Additionally, the cost is higher to owners as this surgery requires IV fluids, bloodwork and antibiotic treatment. Pyometra can happen to a dog or cat of any age. Risk increases as the patient ages due to the changes in the uterus from repeated cycles.
Spaying & Pet Behavior
An altered female usually makes a better companion. The hormones responsible for reproduction also affect your pet’s behavior. Intact females are more likely to be aggressive than altered females. While females are in heat many owners choose to diaper their dogs to avoid blood droplets left around their home. Female cats are very vocal and may spray while in heat. Some females also will run away to find a mate. Of course, owners of altered females also do not have to worry about keeping their pet separated from males and there is no risk of pregnancy.
We Encourage Owners to Spay Their Pets
We would like to encourage pet owners to consider spaying their pets. Day to day life with an altered female is much easier. Young patients should be altered to reduce their risk of developing mammary tumors. Even the owners of older, unaltered females should consider budgeting for a routine ovariohysterectomy to avoid the costly, riskier alternative of operation due to pyometra.
One final note. We appreciate a well-bred, well-mannered purebred dog or cat and love the breeders we work with. Please evaluate the type of offspring that would be produced from your female. Would you be able to find suitable homes for each of them?
Just a reminder, approximately 900,000 pets are euthanized in shelters each year. Please join us in beating the heat!