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World Spay Day – Health risks for unneutered pets

February 21, 2022

February 22nd is World Spay Day and the last Tuesday of the month is recognised each year to promote the many benefits of pet neutering. Here at Apex Veterinary Centre in Denny, we are supporting this campaign by sharing advice with current and future pet owners.

Neutering, desexing, castrating, spaying, ‘being done’ – our Vet, Rachael, explains that all of these terms mean the removal of a pet’s reproductive organs.

Most mammals can (and will, given the chance) mate from a very young age, even with siblings. This can have a negative impact on their health, your home situation, and is a big cause of unwanted animals ending up without a home.

According to the Cats Protection charity, research shows that around 70% of cat pregnancies are unplanned – that is a lot of unexpected kittens to care for.

Preventing unwanted pregnancies is the most obvious benefit people associate with pet neutering and whilst this is extremely important, there are many other benefits too. Rachael and our Denny team are sharing more benefits of pet neutering below, to help current pet owners and anyone thinking of getting a new pet make this important decision.

Benefits of neutering your pet

Neutering can be one of the kindest things you can do for your pet as it provides a number of benefits that will protect their health and happiness including:

Females (spaying)

  1. Prevents unexpected and unwanted pregnancies
  2. Prevents seasons and phantom pregnancies, which can be stressful
  3. Eliminates health risks that come with pregnancies
  4. Reduces risk of mammary tumours (breast cancer)
  5. Prevents life-threatening pyometra (uterine infection)

Males (castration)

  1. Reduces risk of prostate disease
  2. Eliminates risk of testicular cancer
  3. In dogs and cats, neutering reduces wandering to find a mate, lowering the chances of being involved in a road accident – also stops male pets turning up on your doorstep
  4. May help with behavioural issues such as sexual aggression and territorial marking/spraying

Neutering small pets

As well as the benefits listed above, neutering rabbits and ferrets can make it easier to bond opposite sex pairs. With rabbits, this eliminates risk of uterine adenocarcinoma which affects up to 60% of rabbits over 3 years old.

With guinea pigs, usually only the male is neutered if he is going to be paired with a female – neutering will not stop fighting between males. Neutering female guinea pigs, there is a risk of ovarian cysts.

Potential disadvantages of neutering

  • Weight gain can be an issue for some pets. This can be offset with a lower-calorie diet, more exercise, and regular weight checks with one of our practice nurses
  • Urinary incontinence affects approximately 9% of spayed female dogs but this can be well controlled with medication
  • Due to hormonal changes, the pet’s coat condition may change over time
  • Learned behaviours that go beyond hormones may not alter after neutering
  • Certain dog breeds may benefit from being neutered later than the typical six months of age marker – this is why you should always get advice from your Vet.

The many benefits of neutering can help your pet live their best life. We are always here to help, so do get in touch if you would like more advice.

Contact us for neutering advice

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