Frequently Asked Questions About Spaying and Neutering
Understanding Pet Sterilization
We receive many questions about spaying and neutering here at Oakland Park Animal Hospital. Here are some of the basic questions and answers concerning these important pet wellness procedures.
What happens when a pet is spayed or neutered?
Spaying is an internal surgery in which the uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries are removed; the procedure is also known as an ovariohysterectomy. Neutering, or castration, is an external surgery in which the testicles and portions of the vas deferens (the tube that conveys sperm cells to the urethra) and then removed through incisions in the scrotum. General anesthesia is administered, with vital signs closely monitored at all times by our veterinary staff.
What pre-operative and post-operative considerations should I keep in mind?
We may need to make sure your pet's vaccinations are current one week before spaying or neutering. We generally advise owners to withhold food the night before and the morning of the surgery; this helps to protect against complications while under anesthesia. (Water can be administered freely.) As for medications, contact us for advice on which drugs should be withheld before surgery. The morning of the procedure you may walk your pet as usual. Neutered patients may be able to go home the day of the procedure, while spayed patients typically remain in our facility overnight. Our veterinarian will instruct you on how to give your pet any prescribed painkillers or antibiotics. Redness, swelling or oozing at the incision site may indicate an infection; if you see these signs, contact our office.
How does spaying and neutering lower animal cancer risks?
Spay and neuter surgery both remove the reproductive organs, and by doing so they also remove the threat of cancers that afflict those organs. This has the effect of lowering your pet's overall lifetime cancer risk.
How does spaying and neutering alter pet behavior?
Spaying and neutering effectively eliminate the sex drive and heat cycles that commonly cause violent swings in animal behavior. The hormonal changes that spur the mating urge also cause animals to lash out against other creatures. Pets in heat will mark their perceived territory with urine, an instinct that can ruin carpeting and upholstery in homes. Sterilization removes this marking behavior as well, making pets much more house friendly. Spay or neuter surgery can also prevent the irresistible urge to roam felt by sexually frustrated animals, an activity that may result in severe injury or a lost/stolen pet.
Why is pet population control such an urgent issue?
Surgical sterilization not only benefits the animals who receive it but also the millions of others inhabiting overworked, underfunded animal shelters. Approximately 3.7 million of these shelter inhabitants must be destroyed every year because there simply are not enough homes to take them in. Spaying or neutering your pet is an important step toward helping us control this population.
Spay and neuter benefits your pet. Ask our Oakland Park veterinarian if you have any questions about the procedures.