24 February 2017 is WORLD SPAY DAY
To find out how you can get involved in contributing towards welfare spays for animals in townships, please don’t hesitate to contact one of our clinics!
What is spaying and neutering of dogs and cats?
It is the surgical removal of the reproductive organs of dogs or cats.
Why is it necessary?
Every year thousands of unwanted dogs and cats, including puppies and kittens are needlessly destroyed. The good news is that every pet owner can make a difference. By having your dog or cat surgically sterilised, you will do your part to prevent the birth of unwanted puppies and kittens and you will enhance your pet’s health and quality of life.
What are the benefits of spaying and neutering?
Both operations lead to the improved long-term health, prevent unwanted litters and eliminate many behaviour problems associated with the mating instinct.
Benefits to your female pet
Female dogs experience a “heat” cycle approximately every six months, depending upon the breed. A female dog’s heat cycle can last as long as 21 days during which your dog will leave bloodstains in the house and may become anxious, short tempered and actively seek a mate.
Female cats can come into heat every 2 weeks during breeding season until they become pregnant. During this time, they may engage in behaviours such as frequently yowling and urination in unacceptable places.
Both female dogs and cats benefit from spaying which eliminates their heat cycles and generally reduces the negative behaviours that may lead to owner frustration. Early spaying of female dogs and cats, preferably before their first heat, significantly helps protect them from serious health problems later in life such as urinary and uterine infections and cancer of the mammary (milk) glands. Spaying your female dogs and cats at the recommended age of 6 months, before their first heat, can dramatically decrease the incidence of mammary tumours later on in life.
Many owners ask us: “Pets were born with their reproductive organs so it seems un-natural to remove them.” The problem is that pets’ bodies were also designed to have a litter at every heat. Each heat that they have without falling pregnant puts them at greater and greater risk of developing what we call a pyometra, or a severe life-threatening uterine infection. In this day and age with so many unwanted shelter dogs, animals can’t be having litters at every heat cycle and the responsible thing to do is to sterilise them! Animals are also living much longer lives and we are therefore finding that their chance of developing breast cancer if they have not been sterilised is huge, especially in small breed dogs.
Benefits to your male pet
At maturity (6-9 months of age) male dogs and cats are capable of breeding. Both male dogs and cats are likely to begin “marking” their territories by spraying strong-smelling urine on your furniture, curtains, and in virtually any part of the house. Also, given the slightest chance, males may attempt to escape from home in search of a mate. Dogs seeking females in heat can become aggressive and may injure themselves and people by engaging in fights.
Neutering male dogs and cats reduces the need to breed and can have a calming effect that makes them less inclined to roam and more content to stay at home. Neutering your male pet also improves his health by reducing the risk of prostate disease, testicular cancer and infections.
An intact male cat will roam and fight in an attempt to find a female mate. Neutering will also reduce the risk of transmission of certain diseases such as Feline Immunodeficiency Virus(FIV) otherwise known as Feline AIDS which is transmitted by biting. This is a nasty disease similar to HIV in humans which affects their immune system. making them prone to infections and for which there is no cure.
What is the best age to spay or neuter my pet?
A dog or cat can be surgically sterilised at almost any age. We recommend that both dogs and cats be done at 5-6 months of age or before their first heat. Six months of age is also a safe age for anaesthetic procedures. This age may however vary and the best age may be determined on an individual animal basis by your vet. New studies are also constantly being undertaken which may influence the right age for your pet.
What does the surgery entail?
Sterilisation is a surgical procedure where your animal will need to undergo a full general anaesthesia. You will need to schedule them in on a week day with our receptionists. On the day of the procedure your pet will need to be dropped off in the morning starved, meaning they may not receive any food after 10pm the night before but can have water available through the night.
We pride ourselves at the Village Vet Group in following the highest veterinary standards meaning we use the safest anaesthetics at our disposal for your pet as well as safe equipment and suture material. We work under extremely sterile conditions and ensure that each animal receives adequate pain control.
Your pet will be able to go home on the same afternoon and although they may be a bit groggy that night by the next morning they should be back to their normal selves.
Will the surgery affect my pet’s ability to learn or will my pet become fat?
The procedure has no effect on a pet’s ability to learn, play, work or hunt and generally doesn’t change your pets personality.
The surgery will also not make your pet fat. Your pet’s metabolic rate will drop by 30% post sterilisation due to decreased hormonal influence, thus we advise that you drop the food intake by 30% and provide plenty of opportunity to exercise. In doing so you will be able to efficiently control your beloved pet’s weight.
Spay and neuter your animals – It is the responsible thing to do!