February 25, 2020 is celebrated as World Spay Day. This is a day to encourage pet owners to spay and neuter their pets, and there are many important reasons to do this.
Here are our top four reasons:
1. Pet overpopulation
There are roughly 2.7 million dogs and cats killed in shelters every year
because they never find a loving home. According to Mosby Foundation, only
one out of every 10 dogs find their forever home — don’t contribute to the
statistic! Spaying your dog or cat helps control the stray population, which means
less shelter pet deaths.
2. Reduced Cancer Risk
Spaying reduces cancer risk of mammary tumors in female dogs. Let’s start with a little background on mammary tumors, also known as breast cancer. As a hospice veterinarian, this is one of the most disheartening things for me to diagnose because it is often preventable. The simple prevention is spaying your dog and cat.
According to the American College of Veterinary Surgeons, dogs who are spayed before their first heat have a 0.5% chance of developing these tumors, while dogs spayed after their second heat have a 26% chance. In cats, spaying reduces the risk of mammary tumors by 40-60%! These tumors are malignant or cancerous in 50% of dogs and about 90% of cats, so spaying your pet is crucial for their health and cancer prevention.
3. Avoid Cesarean Section
Spaying your pet will prevent them from ever needing a C-section. C-sections are not uncommon in pets and are often needed if there is an accidental mating, resulting in puppies that are too large to pass through the pelvis. Other reasons include uterine inertia (the uterus is no longer able to contract) due to malposition of fetuses or hypocalcemia (low calcium). C-sections are very expensive and spaying your pet is less risky and puts much less stress on your wallet. Preventative care by spaying avoids having to put your dog or cat through emergency surgery and recovery.
4. Prevent Pyometra
Spaying your pet prevents Pyometra, also known as a pus-filled uterus. When a dog or cat is not spayed, the fluctuating hormone levels can change the uterus, making it more prone to developing an infection. These infections are life-threatening if not treated immediately with surgery, which again is much more costly than spaying your pet.
An easy way to avoid all of these complications is to spay or neuter your cat or dog within their first year. Dogs should be spayed between six and nine months of age, or before their first heat. Cats can be spayed around five to six months.