From the South African Veterinary Association website, www.sava.co.za
What is spaying and neutering of dogs and cats?
It is the surgical removal of reproductive organs of dogs or cats.
Why is it necessary?
Every year thousands of unwanted dogs and cats, including puppies and kittens are needlessly destroyed. The good news is that every pet owner can make a difference. By having your dog or cat surgically sterilised, you will do your part to prevent the birth of unwanted puppies and kittens and you will enhance your pet’s health and quality of life.
What are the benefits of spaying and neutering?
Both operations lead to the improved long=term health, prevent unwanted litters and eliminate many behaviour problems associated with the mating instinct.
Benefits to your female pet
Female dogs experience a “heat” cycle approximately every six months, depending upon the breed. A female dog’s heat cycle can last as long as 21 days during which your dog will leave bloodstains in the house and may become anxious, short tempered and actively seek a mate.
Female cats can come into heat every 2 weeks during breeding season until they become pregnant. During this time, they may engage in behaviours such as frequently yowling and urination in unacceptable places.
Both female dogs and cats benefit from spaying which eliminates their heat cycles and generally reduces the negative behaviours that may lead to owner frustration and, ultimately a decision to take the pet to a shelter or have it put down. Early spaying of female dogs and cats helps protect them from serious health problems later in life such as urinary infections and cancer of the mammary (milk) glands.
Benefits to your male pet
At maturity (6-9 months of age) male dogs and cats are capable of breeding. Both male dogs and cats are likely to begin “marking” their territories by spraying strong-smelling urine on your furniture, curtains, and in virtually any part of the house. Also, given the slightest chance, males may attempt to escape from home in search of a mate. Dogs seeking females in heat can become aggressive and may injure themselves and people by engaging in fights.
Neutering male dogs and cats reduces the need to breed and can have a calming effect that makes them less inclined to roam and more content to stay at home. Neutering your male pet also improves his health by reducing the risk of prostate disease, testicular cancer and infections.
What is the best age to spay or neuter my pet?
A dog or cat can be surgically sterilised at almost any age.
Will the surgery affect my pet’s ability to learn or will my pet become fat?
The procedure has no effect on a pet’s ability to learn, play, work or hunt. The surgery will not make your pet fat.