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Spay and Neuter Frequently Asked Questions

The decision to spay and neuter your pets is one of the most important choices you will make as a pet owner. If you are considering spaying or neutering your pet, it’s natural to have questions about what to expect before and after surgery, and how this operation will impact your pet’s well-being. Below, our Charles Town veterinarian answers four of the most frequently asked spay and neuter questions.

#1: Why should I spay or neuter my pet?

Spaying and neutering are two surgical procedures that prevent female and male pets from reproducing. Spaying is the surgical removal of the female animal’s ovaries and uterus; neutering is the surgical removal of the male animal’s testes. These two procedures are important not only to control the unwanted animal population, but also to reduce the risk for certain illnesses and cancers in your pet. For example, neutering males virtually eliminates the risk for testicular cancer. Spaying female pets reduces the risk for breast cancer, which is one of the most fatal types of cancer affecting both dogs and cats. Spaying also reduces the risk for reproductive disorders in females.

#2: Will neutering my male pet change his personality or cause him to gain weight?

No; neutering your male pet will not alter his personality or cause him to gain weight. Neutering your male pet will encourage him to focus his attention on the family rather than trying to find a mate. This helps reduce or eliminate undesired behaviors, such as spraying urine indoors to mark territory. Neutered males are also less likely to escape from a backyard in search of a mate, and consequently are at a lower risk for fights with other animals or being hit by a car. Neutered males are still as active as unneutered males; however, they are also less aggressive and make better family pets.

#3: My dog or cat just had a litter; when can I have her spayed?

If your dog or cat has recently had a litter, you can spay your pet shortly after the litter is weaned. This usually happens at eight weeks of age. While it is never too late to spay a dog or cat, in general, our Charles Town vet recommends spaying females before they reach sexual maturity. Spaying prior to sexual maturity delivers the greatest health benefits for female pets, including a reduced risk for breast cancer. However, spaying at any age is still a smart, positive choice for your pet’s overall health.

#4: What should I expect after surgery?

Spay and neuter is a routine operation; your pet will be admitted in the morning and released later that afternoon, once the anesthesia has worn off. Pets must be kept quiet and calm for the first five to seven days following surgery; dogs should not be allowed off-leash or play with other pets. In general, young pets heal very quickly following spay and neuter surgery. All pets receive pain management medication.

If you have questions about scheduling a spay or neuter procedure for your pet, please call the office.