If you have recently become a pet parent, one of the first things that you need to think about is whether your pet has been neutered already and if not, scheduling to have it done. Neutering is the non-gendered term for the removal of the reproductive organs. You may hear it referred to as spaying for females, or castration for males, but they are all essentially the same thing.
Why is Neutering Important?
Many people think neutering is carried out purely to prevent reproduction. This is certainly a very important reason for doing so, especially since there are millions of animals living in shelters and many more being euthanized every year because there are not enough loving homes to care for them. However, there are a number of other benefits to neutering your pet. These include:
Better behavior. Un-neutered pets are known for displaying a range of behavior problems, from aggression and bothering females in heat to urine spraying. Neutering can curb many of these impulses.
No messy heat cycles. When females come into heat, they experience a version of menstruation that can be messy and unpleasant for people living in your home. Spaying will prevent this.
Health benefits. Research has found that there is a range of health benefits to getting your pet neutered as early as possible. These include eliminating the risk of certain types of cancer, including testicular, ovarian and uterine. In females, it also eliminates the risk of a serious uterine infection known as pyometra, whilst males can benefit from a reduction in prostate problems.
No unwanted pregnancy. Raising babies is expensive and hard work. Yet if your female isn't neutered, this is what you could potentially be faced with.
What Happens When a Female Pet is Spayed?
The procedure to spay a female animal is a little more complex than neutering a male. This is because the reproductive organs of females are inside the body, making a more invasive surgical procedure necessary.
The process is carried out using a general anesthetic, ensuring your pet remains comfortably asleep throughout. Once anesthetized, an incision will be made on your pet's abdomen through which the layers are cut, and the ovaries and uterus tied off and removed. The entire process is done in stages to ensure that it is as safe and controlled as possible. Once all of the reproductive organs have been removed, the abdominal incision can be closed using sutures and your pet can be taken to recovery to come around from the anesthetic.
Since the surgery to spay a female is more invasive, it will take a while for your pet to recover. It can take around 24-48 hours for the full effects of the anesthetic to wear off, and around a week for the wound to heal. During this time, you will be given specific instructions on how to care for your pet for the duration of their recovery.
What Happens When a Male Pet is Neutered?
The male reproductive organs are located on the outside of your pet's body, and this often makes the process much simpler. Again, neutering males is done under general anesthetic. An incision is made in front of the scrotum. The blood vessels are tied off along with the spermatic cord before both testicles are removed. The incision can then be closed with sutures.
If your pet's testicles aren't fully descended, it becomes necessary to make an abdominal incision to remove the undescended testicle. This makes the process more complex and will require your pet to take longer to recover. Again, it is essential that you follow all post-surgical instructions provided to ensure your pet makes the best recovery possible.