Spay and Neuter FAQs

What is spay and neuter?
These are common surgical procedures which reduce excess reproductive hormones and prevent animals from being able to reproduce. Spay/neuter are the most common surgical procedures performed on cats and dogs. The spay surgery performed on females removes the ovaries and uterus so they no longer have heat cycles. The word “neuter” is commonly used for sterilizing a male animal, but can be used to refer to an animal of unknown sex (or to a group of animals of mixed or unknown sex). The testicles are removed when neutering a male animal.
Anesthesia and pain medication are used, so the surgery is painless. Pain medication is also provided for three days after surgery, so discomfort after surgery is minimal.
Why should my pet be spayed or neutered?
1) A spayed or neutered pet is better-behaved, more affectionate, satisfied, calm, and trainable. Overall, neutered pets are much better companions, as they are able to focus attention on you and your family.
2) A spayed or neutered pet typically lives a healthier and longer life. Many health problems can be difficult and expensive to treat for an unneutered pet.
3) A spayed or neutered pet is less likely to have the behaviors which can lead to bites and the desire to roam is reduced.
4) Spaying and neutering is good for your community which spends hundreds of thousands of dollars and countless volunteer hours to manage the heavy burden of too many cats and dogs. These unwanted animals are often straying in the country, running at-large on the streets, hungry, or diseased. Many others are sadly living in shelters or rescues. They are expensive to care for – and if not adopted, they are euthanized by the thousands.
When should my pet be spayed or neutered?
As puppies and kittens. A puppy or kittien that is spayed or neutered at four to five months of age benefits greatly in several ways. The first heat cycle is avoided for females, and males haven’t developed common undesirable marking habits due to excess hormones. A younger patient is likely to experience an easier surgery with a faster recovery and healing.
Why should my female dog be spayed?
1) If you spay your female dog before her first heat, she will have a near zero chance of developing common mammary cancer, a potentially fatal form of cancer. If spaying occurs after her first heat, this incidence climbs to 7 percent, after the second heat the risk is 25 percent and continues to increase.
2) She won’t have messy heat cycles (twice/year for 6-12 days). Otherwise, she will experience a bloody discharge and attract area male dogs.
3) Without a uterus, she won’t experience Pyometra, a common life-threatening uterine infection, in middle-age to senior female dogs. Without emergency treatment, she will likely die.
4) No chance of expensive, common pregnancy complications. Veterinary emergency and full-service veterinary clinics can talk to you about this preventable, often sad situation.
Why should my female cat be spayed?
1) Mammary cancer and common uterine infections will be prevented.
2) She won’t have heat cycles. Cats in heat are annoyingly vocal, agitated, aggressive, often spraying urine in the house. These occur every 2-3 weeks for 6-7 days at a time until she is spayed or bred.
Why should my male dog be neutered?
1) Roaming, escaping, wandering typically decreases by 90 percent due to the reduction of excessive hormones driving him to search for in-heat females. This results in fewer dogs injured or killed by cars.
2) Fighting, territorial marking, “humping” will decrease. A neutered dog will typically retain the instinct to protect his home and family as well as an unneutered dog, but excessive aggressiveness is usually reduced.
3) He is less likely to have infections and cancers of the reproductive organs, such as testicular cancer and prostate disease.

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My female should go into heat or have a litter before she is spayed.

False. She should be spayed between her 4-5 month birthday. This avoids a time consuming “oops” litter. Also, the earlier she is spayed, the healthier she will be for the rest of her life.

I'll find good homes for all of the litter.

You may, but each home you require means one less for each dog or cat living in a shelter or rescue facility which is desperate for one. Also, in less than one year, each of her kittens or puppies may have then created his or her own litter, adding to the suffering and burden in our community. Just don’t.

My pet is so special; I want one just like her.

A great cat or dog doesn’t mean the offspring will be a carbon copy. Personalities are also determined by the other mate and external, post-birth factors.

I can make money raising puppies or kittens.

False. Nurturing a female properly prior to birth is costly (heartworm prevention, current vaccinations, exercise, good quality food). The process after birth is messy, smelly, and time-consuming. A litter of puppies or kittens require veterinary visits beginning near 6-7 weeks of age for dewormings, initial vaccinations against diseases and microchipping. Responsible breeding takes years of research about quality bloodlines to make intelligent choices to breed with the purpose of improving the breed standards. Carelessly breeding often results in temperament or health problems (heart murmurs, hip dysplasia, cancers).

My pet should experience mating and birth.

False. Mating for a cat or dog is simply the result of a hormonal drive to reproduce. This statement is often made by a person over-identifying with their cat or dog’s physiology. Cats and dogs don’t have emotional concepts of sexual identity or ego. Therefore, he won’t feel like “less of a male” after being neutered.

My children should experience the miracle of birth.

False. Simple online videos are tools to teach your children about the birth process. Mother cats and dogs often prefer to give birth in seclusion or at night, so it is likely to be missed. Allowing your pet to produce offspring that you have no intention of being completely responsible for, is a negative life lesson. The reality of a euthanasia death due to lack of loving homes is a helpful discussion. Responsible pet ownership prevents births of unwanted animals and saves the lives of others in shelters who need homes.

Spaying or neutering will negatively alter my pet's personality.

False. Regardless of the age your pet is spayed or neutered, your pet is likely to experience behavior benefits one notch better. A cat or dog which is not spayed or neutered will usually have behaviors that get one-to-two notches worse!

My pet will get fat and lazy after spaying or neutering.

False. Lack of exercise and overfeeding makes creatures (cats, dogs, humans) fat and lazy. Most cats and dogs become calmer as they get older either way. If your pet previously roamed excessively in search of a mate (burning many calories), once fixed, he or she will be more content to remain safe, close to your home and family. A slightly reduced kibble food ration and some exercise will prevent your pet from getting overweight.

Sterilization surgery is painful for my pet.

False. Spaying and neutering is a common surgery performed on cats and dogs. With anesthesia, pain medications given at the time of surgery, and simple post-op care, your pet will resume normal behavior in a few days without discomfort.

Spaying and neutering my pet will be expensive.

False. Low-cost spay/neuter clinics reduce the cost . Many have programs to assist qualifying families. The common veterinary expenses for problems as a result of not neutering are far more expensive. The price of a spay/neuter is small compared to the health and happiness of your cat or dog.

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My friend and I are both from Ft. Hood, we drove out to this clinic and had our cats neutered. The Animal Birth Control Clinic is amazing! The staff was all very friendly and they provided us with plenty of information for aftercare. Jeffery and I just wanted to say thank you for the great care he recieved!

Tiffany Caler and Jeffery