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The Importance of Spaying/Neutering Your Pet

Canada is currently facing a cat overpopulation crisis. The Canadian Federation of Humane Societies estimates that 600,000 cats in shelters failed to find new homes in 2011. They also found that only 44 per cent of cats that enter the shelter system are adopted out. 

By having your pet spayed or neutered, you will help prevent the birth of unwanted puppies and kittens, while providing other benefits to your pet.

Spaying and neutering are safe surgical operations that prevent animals from reproducing. Spaying is the removal of a female animal's ovaries and uterus and neutering is the removal of a male's testicles. Generally, these procedures don't require an overnight stay and can eliminate or significantly reduce the risk of numerous health problems, including reproductive cancers and infections. Sterilizing you pet can also improve some behavioural problems, such as territorial marking, destructiveness and roaming in search of a mate. 

The safety of both male and female animals is dramatically increased if they are spayed or neutered.

Common Questions

Will neutering my cat make him fat and lazy?
Neutering could reduce an animal's activity level, but this doesn't have to lead to weight gain. A healthy diet and sufficient exercise can help your pet maintain a healthy weight.

Don't spaying and neutering interfere with nature?
Domesticated dogs and cats are completely dependent on humans. It's our responsibility as their guardians to make sure the number of pets born doesn't exceed the number of available homes.

What about small animals?
For health and behavioural reasons, spaying and neutering are also recommended for rabbits. Female ferrets should also be spayed. If they go into heat and don't mate, they can become anemic and die. Veterinarians recommend spaying and neutering guinea pigs but consider surgery unsafe for small rodents such as hamsters. Separating males from females is the best way to prevent small rodents from reproducing.

Should my female dog be allowed to have one litter?
There's no reason for a female dog to have even one litter. It won't make her a better companion, and it will increase the likelihood that she will develop mammary cancer. Spaying a dog before she goes into heat even once greatly reduces the risk of her developing mammary cancer.

For more information about the importance of spaying or neutering your pet, please contact your veterinarian.

High-volume spay/neuter clinics

High-volume spay and neuter clinics are designed to help address pet overpopulations by providing these surgeries to clients who can't otherwise afford them. These clinics are run by not-for-profit agencies, and their costs are offset by donations, government grants and tax exemptions.

These clinics may offer limited pre-operative testing and post-operative care, encouraging pet owners to obtain these services from their veterinarian instead.

Regardless of where you have your pet spayed or neutered, do some research to make sure you're comfortable with the level of care provided. If possible, get a tour of the facility, including the surgery room.

This type of surgery requires general anesthesia, so ask how it's done and how your pet will be monitored, and also how its pain will be controlled after surgery.

Always make sure you're comfortable with the facility and the people who will be caring for your pet.