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Josey Ranch Pet Hospital, PC
... where caring makes the difference.

Date: March 1st 2003

Josey Ranch Pet Hospital, PC
... where caring makes the difference.
A Free Service of Josey Ranch Pet Hospital

Responsible pet ownership encompasses more than just providing shelter and food to a pet. Dogs and cats are probably the most common animal companions people own. Proper health care for our pets involves not only food and shelter, but also proper nutrition, vaccinations, grooming, dentistry, training, spaying/neutering, and tender loving care. Hopefully, your family veterinarian will discuss and make suggestions as to how you can incorporate total health care into the raising of your new puppy or kitten.

Spaying or neutering your pet is not only important from a population control standpoint, but also provides many valuable health benefits to your pet. Many of you have heard old wives tales about everything from stopping your hiccups to ways to treat arthritis. There are also old tales about ways to raise pets or treat their health problems. Years ago, many felt it was best to allow our pets to have one litter of puppies (or kittens) before having them spayed. Some said the dogs were more stable mentally or were sweeter companions if allowed to have a litter. Others felt it was better to not breed the females, but at least let them have one heat cycle before getting them altered.

Now, there is medical proof that helps us veterinarians to educate clients that there are benefits to spaying females prior to their first cycle. By spaying prior to a females first cycle, the chances of the her developing mammary tumors are greatly decreased. With each subsequent heat cycle, a females chances of mammary tumors are greatly increased. Females are also more prone to serious uterine infections as they age. Needless to say, the chances of unwanted pregnancy are also increased. Besides the health risk, its also a hassle to deal with a crying cat in heat or dog with a messy discharge.

There are also health benefits to neutering our male pets. Intact males tend to have more problems with dominant or aggressive behavior than their neutered counterparts. Male dogs that are not neutered may have health problems as they grow older. Common problems are testicular tumors, prostate infections, perianal tumors, prostate cysts, abscesses, or cancer. By decreasing testosterone levels with castration, many of the problems can be decreased or avoided all together. Intact male cats tend to wander more, fight more, and also have extremely strong urine that makes them undesirable house pets, especially if they start spraying urine to mark their territory on the furniture and walls, etc.

If you have ever been to an animal shelter or pound, you can see there are literally millions of dogs and cats being unnecessarily destroyed each year. By spaying or neutering your pet, you will be helping decrease the numbers of unwanted or unowned animals being put to sleep each year. Please talk to your veterinarian to find out how you can help your pets stay healthy by getting them spayed or neutered at a young age. Most spaying and neutering is done between five and nine months of age, depending on the size or breed. Although this is an ideal time to have the spay/neuter done, there are still benefits to altering your pets at a later age.

If you have any questions, we would be glad to hear from you. Please call our office any time during our business hours at 972-446-0667.

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