Most pet owners agree that having the simple operations that keep them from reproducing, is the responsible thing to do in terms of controlling animal populations. But what’s less well understood is that spaying (for females) and neutering (for males) also dramatically decreases their chances of developing serious, life-threatening diseases.


Female Pets

For females cats and dogs, spaying involves the surgical removal of the reproductive tract. Because these organs are removed so early, the chance of the female developing uterine and ovarian cancer is virtually eliminated.Spaying is additionally a healthy option because it prevents buildup of the hormone estrogen. Estrogen,  the hormone is needed for a dog or cat to go into heat, has been proven to be a risk factor for mammary cancer.


For that reason, spaying while your pet is young and hasn’t ever gone into heat (also known as estrus) will dramatically decrease the odds of mammary cancer. But even bringing your dog or cat in for the procedure after her first litter helps lower the odds of developing the cancer.


Male Pets  

For male cats and dogs, hormones also come into play when it comes to the relationship between sterilization and lowered disease risk. In the case of male pets, the testicals are removed, which virtually eliminates the risk of testicular cancer. Along with helping to eradicate testicular cancer in male dogs, neutering lowers the amount of hormones responsible for the mating impulse. That reduced hormone exposure in a neutered male pet has been associated with a decrease in prostate diseases, especially cancer.


Universal Benefits

Spaying or neutering cats and dogs also lowers the incidence of dangerous infections. Dogs, in particular, have been studied for the link between sterilization and decreased risk of infectious diseases, but cats are believed to be similarly aided.


The reason for the link between the procedure and the lowered risk of this class of diseases? Well, that’s still being verified, but one possible theory is simply that “intact” pets are more likely to roam while in heat. That aggressive behavior increases their chances of getting into fights or accidents, as well as mating -- all of which carries the danger of some type of infection. If you’re interested in learning more about the benefits of spaying or neutering your pet, please contact Normandale Veterinary for more information.