Spay and neuter are descriptions of sexual sterilization
surgeries for pets. The clinical terminology is ovariohysterectomy
in females and castration in males. The surgeries
require general anesthesia and are recommended for every pet for
The behavior of pets changes as they reach puberty (about six to
nine months for dogs and cats). Males become more aggressive, start
marking territories with urine (both indoors and out) and begin
displaying a tendency to escape and roam. When they smell a female
in heat (even a mile away), almost nothing will stand in their way.
They will jump fences or balconies, cross water and highways, and
may wander far away.
Females also have roaming urges and may become more aggressive.
Female dogs have heat cycles twice a year whereas cats may cycle
every two weeks. Dogs may bleed for four to eight weeks, creating
quite a messy situation in the house. You might also find a group of
male dogs, not necessarily nice, parked in front of the house
waiting for the opportunity to get to your female in heat. Cats will
vocalize loudly all hours of the day and will roll and rub
continuously, enough to wake up even the soundest sleepers. They
also attract intact males, who will perform free all night serenades
under your window.
It is very difficult to keep animals in heat protected and it
does not take much to end up with a litter of puppies or kittens. A
leash or fenced-in yard is no match for the call of nature. It is
not hard to understand that any unwanted pregnancy contributes to
pet over- population: ten pregnancies easily produce fifty to eighty
Spayed and neutered pets have a lower risk of some serious health
problems. Early spay of females reduces occurrence of breast cancer
significantly. They also do not get deadly pyometras (uterine
infections) and have less incidence of diabetes.
Neutered males have a lower incidence of prostatitis
(inflammation of the prostate), they are less aggressive and do not
run away as often and risk getting lost or becoming an accident
If your pet is not neutered or spayed, please take the
opportunity to have the surgery done by your veterinarian.