The Truth About Spaying and Neutering

For most pet owners, spaying and neutering is something they do automatically; a new pet reaches six months of age and they make an appointment to have them "fixed". But what is the story behind the story? Why do we really recommend this procedure and what is it we really do? A day in the life of a veterinarian and a new pet owner is very busy, and there never seems to be enough time to educate you completely on what it is we are doing. So, as Paul Harvey would say, here is "the rest of the story". First, some definitions. We never really use the terms spaying and neutering correctly. There are three words we should clarify:

- Neutering means to sterilize a pet, whether it is a female or a male. Although we use this in reference to our male pets most frequently, it is really a generic term covering both sexes.

- Spaying refers specifically to the procedure used to sterilize (or neuter) a female. Castration refers specifically to the procedure used to sterilize (or neuter) a male.

Why do we recommend neutering pets?
What really happens during these procedures?
How will neutering my pet change their personality?

These are important procedures that lead to healthy, happier and longer living pets. They are not simple surgeries. Actually the spay is one of the most difficult surgical procedures we do each day. But we do it so frequently we have become very proficient at it. When your veterinarian recommends having your pet neutered, spayed, castrated, etc., whatever term they may use, please follow their advice. It truly is the best thing for your individual pet and the pet community as a whole.

As always, I'm happy to help your pets...and their people, too.

Dr. Larry

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