Why is it important to spay and neuter your pets?

I think I graduated from vet school thinking the only real reason to spay and neuter your pets was to prevent uterine infections in females and prevent prostate disease in males.  My thinking has really changed. 

The most obvious reason for spaying (removing the uterus and ovaries in females) and neutering (removing the testicles in males) is to prevent unwanted puppies and kittens.  It is a sad fact that healthy animals are euthanized daily because animals weren’t fixed. 

So apart from birth control, here are my new reasons to spay and neuter your pets.  For females, my top reason for spaying is to prevent mammary tumors.  Mammary tumors are among the most common cancer in dogs and can be almost completely prevented when females are spayed at a young age.  My top reason for neutering male dogs and cats is because it keeps them out of trouble.  An un-neutered male dog or cat will have the instinct to roam (or travel a lot) and this is when they get in fights and hit by cars.  In our calculation here at Pineywoods Veterinary Clinic in Lufkin, as many as 80% of animals that are hit by cars are un-neutered.

Please get your pets spayed and neutered when they are young.  It will save us all a lot of heart ache!

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