The Facts about Neutering and Spaying - Page 2

Helping You Get the Most From Your Hunting Dogs

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A spayed female cat usually becomes calm and content as she no longer experiences recurring heat cycles.

When male cats who are not neutered reach maturity, they typically begin spraying urine that has a strong and offensive odor. They may tend to roam, if allowed, and have violent fights with other males. Wounds from these fights often are serious and require veterinary treatment.

A neutered male cat becomes content to stay at home. Some neutered males may spray occasionally but the urine is not as odorous as that of an intact male. In many instances this infrequent spraying eventually stops or can be managed with veterinary attention.

It was once believed that early neutering of the male was associated with urethral blockage. Studies of stone formation in the lower urinary tract of males indicate that early neutering is not related to urethral blockage.

The Procedures
Your veterinarian can advise you of the best time to neuter your puppy or kitten. Traditionally, puppies are neutered at six months. Female kittens can also be spayed at six months of age. Male kittens should be neutered before spraying and other undesirable habits associated with the intact male have been established. This normally would occur between seven and nine months of age.

The possibility of neutering or spaying at an earlier age is under investigation at several universities. Many veterinarians believe that this procedure presents little or no increased risk.

The medical procedure for spaying a female dog or cat is called ovariohysterectomy. The veterinarian may keep the pet under observation overnight. The pet is anesthetized and the veterinarian removes its ovaries and uterus. The incision can be closed in one of two ways: nonabsorbable stitches which must be removed 7 to 10 days later, or subcuticular stitches that are sutures below the skin. These are gradually dissolved in the body.

Neutering a male dog or cat involves removing the testicles which are the source of sex hormones and sperm cells. Closure of the incision in dogs is performed in the same manner as for an ovariohysterectomy. Subcuticular stitches are often used to reduce the dog's urge to lick the stitches. The dog may be discharged the same day as the surgery, or may be kept overnight. Generally the cat is sent home the same day. The incisions in the male cat are usually very small so suturing is not necessary. Recovery from this procedure is usually rapid.

As in any surgery, neutering has possible complications which you can discuss with your veterinarian. However, the benefits of neutering and spaying outweigh most complications.
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