In the female it is referred to as spaying and a complete ovariohysterectomy is performed. This means that the ovaries and the uterus are removed during the surgery
- Prevents the development of false pregnancy which is a common condition in unspayed females
- Prevents pyometra – In this condition the uterus becomes infected and fills with pus. This can be a life-threatening condition and immediate surgical intervention is required.
- Prevents the development of mammary tumours.
- Eliminates the possibility of the development of cancer in the uterus and ovaries
- The instinct to mate when the female comes into ‘heat’ often results in the female trying to run way or escape from a safe environment.
- Prevents the contraction of venereal diseases
- No unwanted litters.
- Sterilization can help reduce aggressive behaviour
- Reduces territorial marking (particularly in male cats)
- Reduces the need to fight for territory
- Reduces dominant behaviour
- Can help to reduce anxiety and males remain much calmer
- Prevents testicular tumours, perianal hernias, prostate cysts and tumours among others
- Prevents the contraction of transmissible venereal tumours (TVT’s).
This practice has been used in the USA and other countries throughout the world since the mid 1980’s. Many studies have been undertaken regarding the effects of early sterilization on the development of puppies and kittens and all have had very positive results.
However, in private veterinary practice the advice given is usually to spay or neuter your pet between the ages of 5-6 months depending on the breed and development of the animal.
What about side effects?
Occasionally problems do arise after sterilization. The most common are problems with the skin wound usually from excessive licking, but these are easily rectified. It is possible for a female dog to suffer from urinary incontinence later in her life, but this is easily and inexpensively treated.