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Spaying and neutering your pet, commonly known as “surgical sterilization,” has been the principal effort to curb the animal overpopulation issue that we face worldwide. Once a dog or cat is surgically sterilized, females are rendered unable to get pregnant, and males are unable to impregnate females. While it is undoubtedly the most effective approach in controlling stray dog and cat populations, surgical techniques have been stigmatized as being too costly and have been hindered by widely believed myths like, spay and neuter is emasculating, causes weight gain.

However, there has been a hopeful shift and rise in numbers of animals being sterilized thanks to global awareness, education and social media. Individuals, communities and organizations are now coming together to make spaying and neutering options more widely accessible and affordable. (See heading entitled “US & Worldwide)

The most widely used method for spaying and neutering of pets involve removal of the gonads (gonadectomy), or reproductive organs. Terminology and procedures differ between the two sexes; both impose little risk or complication in a healthy and fairly young animal.

  • In males, the common term is called “neutering” or “castration”, a relatively quick procedure in cats and dogs and is done through a single incision into the scrotum.
  • In females, the surgery is a little bit more invasive because the sexual organs are located interior of the body. The uterus is removed in a procedure commonly known as “spaying” or “ovariohysterectomy”. It is most often performed through an incision in the mid abdomen. The reason that the entire uterus is removed is to prevent the possibility of complications such as uterine disease following the operation.

As with any surgical procedure or anesthetic, there are occasional complications and things you should look out for, including but not limited to: bleeding, infection, severe lethargy, and sutures or staples coming apart from unrestricted movement or excessive licking and nibbling.

Ideally, spaying or neutering is usually recommended to do at around 6 months of age or older, but it is often not the case because of the efforts to control the pet population. Therefore, you will often adopt a kitten or puppy from a shelter that is has already been “altered.” According to new research, it is still considered safe.

Spaying and neutering your pet also offers several beneficial effects to the animal’s health and behavior.

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