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Spay and Neuter

Spay and neuter surgeries are performed on companion animals including dogs, cats, rabbits, and guinea pigs. In addition to providing certain health benefits and decreasing pet homelessness, spay and neuter surgeries are a primary way to prevent pet overpopulation–where an estimated 4 million animals are killed each year in our nation’s shelters.  Read answers to the following FAQs to learn more about how spay and neuter benefits our companion animals.

How does spay and neuter surgery work?

Both spay and neuter surgeries are performed under anesthesia and prevent animals from producing offspring. A “spay” surgery is performed on a female animal and involves removal of the ovaries. A “neuter” surgery is performed on a male animal and involves removal of the testicles.

What are the benefits of having my companion animal spayed or neutered?

Spaying and neutering are among the best ways to combat pet homelessness. Between five and six million dogs and cats will end up in our nation’s animal shelters each year; about one-half of these animals will be killed. Spay and neuter surgeries also prevent some major health problems, such as cancers of the reproductive organs. Lastly, spay and neuter surgeries diminish an animal’s tendencies to roam, yowl, fight, “mark” and other undesirable behaviors associated with mating. Lastly, spay and neuter surgery is 100% effective. Once your animal is spayed or neutered, you will never have to worry about the animal producing unwanted puppies or kittens.

What are the risks having my companion animal spayed or neutered?

As with any surgery, there are risks of complications. However, the risks are extremely low. The surgery itself generally takes under 25 minutes to perform and the typical recovery period lasts only a few days.

How much does spay and neuter surgery cost?

The cost of spaying and neutering depends on where you live and the sex and species of the animal, as well as the size and overall health of the animal. Generally, the cost of spaying a female is slightly higher than the cost of neutering a male animal. Altogether, spay and neuter surgeries seldom cost over $200.00 per surgery. Additionally, there are ways to make spay/neuter surgeries more affordable. Contact your local animal shelter to learn about free or low-cost spay and neuter programs in your area. Also, bear in mind that when you adopt from an animal shelter, many of the animals available for adoption may have already been spayed and neutered.

Is it okay if I just spay my female animals and leave my male animals unneutered?

No. Part of responsible pet care is ensuring that all animals in your care are spayed and neutered as soon as possible. If you do not neuter your male cats and dogs, the resulting puppies and kittens are likely to suffer and perish, as evidenced by the millions of animals euthanized in animal shelters each year.

Will my animal miss having his or her own family? Will my male pet be upset after neuter surgery?

While dogs and cats experience emotions, they do not perceive of family and concepts of masculinity and femininity in the same way that people do. Both male and female animals resume their lives as before following spay and neuter surgery, and in fact, are likely to exhibit fewer health and behavioral problems following the surgery.

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