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Spaying and neutering pets not only ensures the absence of contribution to animal overpopulation, but it also has numerous health benefits. Sterilizing, or altering, pets can protect them against various reproductive diseases as well as prolong their lives. Diseases that can affect intact females are mammary cancer, uterine infection and possible rupture, and uterine or ovarian cancer. Sterilizing a female before her first heat cycle reduces many of these risks by 95%. Intact males can be affected by testicular cancer, an enlarged prostate or prostate cancer and an age related problem that can make urination painful or difficult. Conveniently, these surgeries are done routinely at veterinary offices every day and can usually take place once a pet reaches six months old.


A spay, or ovariohysterectomy, refers to the sterilization of a female pet. This is a major abdominal surgery which requires the pet to be placed under general anesthesia. A spay entails the removal of the uterus and both ovaries. Upon completion of the procedure, the incision is closed with sutures while the skin may be closed with glue, sutures or staples. The sutures placed in the incision will not be removed. However, if staples or sutures are used to close the skin, the veterinarian will remove those 10-14 days from the surgery date.


A neuter, or castration, refers to the sterilization of a male pet and entails the removal of both testicles. A neuter is considered a minor surgical procedure and is usually performed under general anesthesia. Once the procedure is complete, the incision will be closed with glue, sutures or staples. If sutures or staples are use, your veterinarian will remove those 10-14 days from the surgery date.

Preoperative and Postoperative Care

Preoperatively, a veterinarian may recommend blood work to identify any conditions that may cause complications during surgery. The veterinarian will advise withholding all food and water from a pet the night before the surgery is scheduled. This will help to reduce the risk of nausea and/or vomiting during and after surgery. Upon discharge, the veterinarian will give some postoperative instructions that should be followed by the pet owner to ensure a safe and full recovery of the patient. Once a pet has recovered, the pet owner can feel confident that they are helping their companion to live a longer, happier life while not contributing to the overpopulation of animals.