Veterinarians and animal associations always promote the benefits of neutering pets. Hundreds of thousands of unwanted dogs and cats, including puppies and kittens, are euthanized yearly. 

Spaying and neutering your pet can increase their lifespan, decrease serious health issues, make them more manageable, and reduce the incidence of canine overpopulation and homelessness. Spaying and neutering are considered a requirement for responsible pet ownership. 

The surgical procedures used to stop pets from reproducing are called neutering and spaying. The surgical removal of a female animal’s reproductive organs is known as “spaying.” The surgical removal of a male animal’s testicles is known as “neutering.” Both procedures are performed with the animals sedated. Depending on the animal’s age, size, health, and response to the anaesthetic, the vet may keep your pet under observation for a few hours to a few days.

Why is Sterilization necessary?

Neutering eliminates the risk of genital disorders: Females who haven’t been spayed are more likely to experience difficult labor, ovarian cysts, uterine infections (such as pyometra and metritis), and breast tumours, more than 90% of which are cancerous. Unlike other forms of contraception, early ovariohysterectomy shields female cats permanently against such health hazards.

Neutering reduces the risk of accidents: Whole cats, both male and female, are driven by their sexual impulse to leave the house, often for days at a time. This puts them at risk for traffic accidents, food poisoning, and injury from fights (bites, scratches, falls). However, neutered cats rarely roam far from their homes, protecting them from such mishaps.

Neutering reduces the risk of contagious diseases: After direct contact with infected animals, cats, both male and female, may acquire deadly contagious diseases:

feline leukaemia (FeLV), transmitted by licking and by sexual contact during mating

feline immunodeficiency (FIV) transmitted mainly by bites, more common in males

Currently the only form of treatment available is the leukaemia vaccine. Neutering is therefore the most effective preventive measure to lower the incidence of FIV since it reduces interaction with contaminated individuals.

When Your Pet Should Be Spayed or Neutered?

The breed and general health of your pet will determine when it should be sterilised:

  • Owned cats should be altered before they are 5 months old as they can become pregnant as early as four months.
  • Owned female dogs should be spayed before they are 5 months old.
  • Male dogs of all breeds, small, medium, and large, should be neutered before they turn five months old.
  • Owned giant breed male dogs who are house pets should be neutered after growth stops, between 12 to 15 months of age due to orthopaedic issues

Male dogs and cats should be neutered to reduce the risk of testicular cancer and, perhaps prostate issues. Your pet’s chances of developing breast cancer are significantly decreased by spaying before the first estrous cycle (i.e., before she reaches sexual maturity), and the hazard of uterine, ovarian, and uterine infection, which is frequent in unaltered females, is completely eliminated. Additionally, neutering reduces the risk of hernias and perianal tumours, which are frequently seen in older, unaltered dogs. Because neutered cats are less inclined to roam, there is a significantly lower risk of disease transmission from fighting and bite swellings.

It is advisable to spay your dog before she reaches sexual maturity to stop the emergence of these behaviours. She won’t be as prone to forming bad habits related to her heat this way. These behaviours may continue even after your dog has been spayed if they have been present for months or years.

Even if your dog is older, spaying her is still beneficial. Even if spaying doesn’t completely stop her undesirable habits, you may notice less of them in the future, and it will still be good for her physical health. It’s best to seek professional guidance if your dog still exhibits undesirable habits after spaying, especially if it is very aggressive. Consult your veterinarian about your dog’s aggression to determine whether the behavioural problems are caused by a medical ailment that may be treated or whether your dog needs expert training.

Nutritional Management of sterilized Pets – top priority: maintaining healthy weight

Sterilization allows pets to live a better and longer life, on condition that a few changes are made, in particular in their diet. Although beneficial, sterilisation multiplies the risk of them becoming overweight by 3.4 times, due to a drop in energy requirements and an increase in appetite within just 48 hours after the operations. A specific diet is therefore essential to help limit weight gain, to cater for their new physiological condition, eating behaviour and, of course, their age!  It is also important to comply with recommended daily allowances, to encourage them to move and to weigh them regularly.

Nutritional advances have been such that today, it is possible to help your pet ward off some of the effects of ageing.

  • By supporting a healthy weight:

After neutering energy requirements of pets decrease. Moderate level of fat and adequate daily rations helps limit the risk of excess weight gain. L-carnitine is involved in fat metabolism.

  • By fighting free radicals:

Free radicals play a part in the ageing process. They trigger chain oxidation reactions which damage cellular components such as membranes, proteins and DNA. Antioxidants are used to fight free radicals by blocking chain reactions (Vitamins E and C, taurine and lutein).

  • By supporting renal function:

Reduced levels of dietary phosphorus help to delay the onset of clinical signs of chronic renal failure.

  • By promoting healthy coat and skin:

High quality omega-3 fatty acids (EPA/DHA), chelated trace elements (better absorbed) and vitamins A, B and D support the health and quality of these natural barriers against external attacks.

  • By supporting a healthy digestive system:

Highly digestible proteins such as wheat gluten reduce fermentation in the colon, and therefore minimize its consequences, i.e., bloating and flatulence. Psyllium improves stool consistency and promotes regular bowel movements.

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