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.
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
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