There are only a few legitimate reasons for not having your pet spayed or neutered. Obviously breeding animals cannot be altered. Also, many show and field trial participants must be intact. Some owners cannot afford to have their pets spayed or neutered, and some pets may have medical conditions making them poor candidates for surgery or anesthesia. Obviously this is not an all-inclusive list for reasons not to be spayed, but most of the time, the health benefits of prepubescent spay or neuter far out-weigh the reasons not to have your pet fixed.
There are several benefits to having your pet spayed. Once the ovaries and uterus are removed there is obviously no chance of un-wanted pregnancy. The risk of acquiring uterine or ovarian cancer after a spay is 0%. Spaying also eliminates the possibility of developing a potentially fatal uterine infection (pyometra). There has also been a significant amount of research that links the risk of developing mammary tumors with the age at which a bitch is spayed:
In our experience, the incidence of breast cancer in bitches spayed prior to the first heat cycle is much lower than 0.5%. This is presumably due to common use of hormone therapy to treat incontinence in spayed female dogs in the 1980's and 1990's. With the shift toward the use of non-hormonal medications to treat incontinence in dogs, the incidence of breast tumor development in bitches spayed prior to the first heat has decreased to virtually 0%.
There are many benefits to having your male cat or dog neutered. Immediately recognized benefits include decreased marking habits, decreased wandering and roaming, decreased humping, and decreased aggression.Testicular tumors are very common in older intact male dogs. Studies estimate that the prevalence of testicular tumors in intact male dogs over 4 years of age is greater than 10%. In male dogs with a retained testicle, most acquire tumors in the retained testicle if they live to be older.
At Kinzua Vet Clinic, we recommend having your cat or dog spayed prior to their first heat cycle. For most pets, 6 months of age is usually a safe time frame. Your doctor will discuss appropriate age-related spay or neuter recommendations based on your pet's size, age, breed, and health status. Be sure to schedule your pet's surgery several weeks in advance. There may be an increased risk for complications in animals that are older, in heat, or obese. Keeping your pet at an ideal body weight will minimize these risks. Pre-anesthetic bloodwork is offered and recommended for every pet prior to surgery. Pets must be up to date on standard vaccines. An estimate is provided for every pet prior to surgery. A complete physical exam will be performed by the doctor at check-in on the morning of surgery. The doctor will discuss the procedure with you and answer any questions you may have at that time.