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Val Caron Animal Hospital

3055 Highway 69 N
Val Caron, ON P3N 1R8


Benefits of Having your Pet Spayed or Neutered

Spaying and neutering are important preventative health procedures in dogs and cats. 

Spaying (ovariohysterectomy) is the surgical removal of the ovaries and uterus.

Health benefits:

1)    Prevention of mammary cancer.

The incidence of mammary cancer in cats is reduced by 91% in cats spayed by six months of age and by 86% in cats spayed prior to one year, according to one study. ~90% of mammary tumours in cats are malignant.

In dogs, the incidence of mammary cancer is near zero if spayed before her first heat. This risk increases to ~8% after the first heat, and ~26% after the second. 25-50% of mammary tumours in dogs are malignant. Spaying after this time is still beneficial as most mammary tumours in dogs are stimulated by estrogens.

2)   Prevention of pyometra, which is an infection of the uterus. Unspayed animals are at high risk for this infection. This is a very serious condition which is life-threatening and requires immediate surgery.

Other benefits:

1)   Reduces/eliminates roaming behaviour in females that are in heat.

2)   When a female dog goes into heat, there is a bloody vaginal discharge which can be messy.

     3)   Prevention of unwanted pregnancy.


Neutering is the surgical removal of the testicles.

Health benefits:

1)    Testosterone hormone often causes the prostate to increase in size with age which may become uncomfortable/painful, interfere with defecation or cause problems peeing. Removal of the testicles removes the source of testosterone and eliminates this problem.

2)    Eliminates risk of testicular cancer

Behavioural benefits:

1)    The interest in roaming is reduced significantly.

2)    Aggressive behavior against other male dogs/cats is reduced significantly.  

3)    Urine marking/spraying is MUCH less likely in neutered animals, especially cats. In addition, the urine of intact male cats is extremely unpleasant and strong smelling.

4)    Inappropriate mounting is eliminated in a large percentage of neutered dogs.

At what age should a dog or cat be spayed/neutered?

       It is recommended that both cats and dogs be spayed or neutered  between 4 and 6 months of age before they reach puberty to prevent the formation of  unwanted behaviours and to minimize health risks.

Should I wait until my pet has had a litter?

        Definitely not. Each heat cycle your pet has increases the possibility of breast cancer, uterine infections, and unwanted pregnancies.

Does spaying or neutering make pets fat and lazy?

        No. Spaying or neutering does however change the animal's metabolism, so that less food is needed to maintain proper body weight. Additionally, estrogens have an appetite suppressing effect so spayed animals may have an increased appetite. Obesity is encountered when owners feed their pets more than necessary. Similarly, the amount of exercise an animal receives is dependent on us. Many spayed/neutered animals compete in agility or field trials and are anything but lazy, but if not encouraged to exercise they can become couch potatoes just like us.