One of the first things people think about after getting a new puppy or kitten is whether or not they will have their new addition neutered. For females, this is called spaying, and it means that the womb and the ovaries are removed. For males, this is called castration and this means the testicles are removed. The key question in making your decision is what are the benefits of neutering?
Especially in the case of cats, neutering helps to reduce the number of unwanted litters. The lack of population control of cats and dogs is currently a huge problem in Britain, many animal charities are completely overwhelmed with both dogs and cats needing homes. Other benefits include:
- Preventing the risk of testicular cancer in males
- Preventing womb infections and several types of cancers in females.
- Preventing phantom pregnancies in females
- In male dogs and cats, it can reduce typical male behaviour such as roaming, urine marking, and aggression.
- In female dogs, it prevents them from coming into season which can both be messy and also causes them to attract unwanted attention from males. Un-neutered females can bleed for up to three weeks when they are in season.
- Avoiding vets fee’s for problems during pregnancy or birth, and veterinary care for the offspring.
Getting your dog or cat neutered will require a general anaesthetic. Even though modern medicine has made huge advances in the field of anaesthesia, there is still a small risk with every procedure. There are also small risks associated with any surgery such as excessive bleeding and infection.
There are a few potential negatives to having your dog or cat neutered. These can include a slight tendency towards weight gain, so your animal’s diet and exercise regime may need adjusting. In female dogs it can increase the risk of urinary incontinence in older animals. Castrating dogs, particularly older dogs, may not always reliably reduce aggression or dominant behaviour.
Who supports Neutering?
Neutering is strongly supported by a number of institutions including the British Veterinary Association, the RSPCA, the Dog’s Trust, and Cats Protection. For more information on neutering you should contact your vet.