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Canine Spay and Neuter

Why should I have my dog spayed?

We recommend spaying all female pets. The benefits to your pet's health and to help reduce the pet overpopulation crisis make this decision easier. It should be remembered that owners of Guide Dogs for the Blind, Hearing Dogs for Deaf People and Dogs for the Disabled routinely have their dogs spayed and this does not affect their ability to perform their duties in any manner whatsoever.

What are the advantages of spaying in the female dog?

  • Prevention of "heat" or estrus
  • When in "heat", the female experiences an urge to escape in order to find a mate. This unwanted and dangerous behavior is eliminated.
  • Elimination of the hormone fluctuations that cause false pregnancy following the "heat cycle"
  • Prevention of uterine infection known as pyometra
  • Prevention of breast cancer. Dogs spayed before their first "heat" have less than 0.5% chance of developing breast cancer.
  • Elimination of the risk of uterine and ovarian cancer

Is spaying performed for any other reason?

The operation may be performed for several medical conditions. These include:

  • Treatment of intractable false or phantom pregnancy
  • Treatment of irregular or abnormal cycles due to ovarian cysts
  • Treatment of uterine infection (pyometra) or cancer
  • Dystocia (difficult birthing) or post caesarean-section surgery
  • An aid to correction of certain behavioral abnormalities

What are the disadvantages?

Most of the perceived disadvantages are false. The most quoted of these are that the dog will become fat, lazy, and useless as a guard dog. Obesity is probably the most commonly quoted disadvantage of spaying. Obesity is the result of overfeeding and lack of physical activity. The role of female hormones in preventing obesity is poorly understood. By regulating your dog's diet and caloric intake, you can prevent obesity in neutered or intact females.

"Spaying doesn't cause a change in personality, guarding instincts, intelligence, playfulness or affection."

When should the operation be performed?

Most veterinarians recommend spaying between four and six months of age. Spaying at an earlier age, which is a common practice at animal shelters, does not appear to be detrimental.

I have heard that letting my dog have one litter will calm her down.

There is no scientific evidence that having puppies has any calming psychological effect. This myth has no basis in fact.

Why should I have my dog neutered?

Neutering should be considered if you are keeping any male dog as a pet. Remember that Guide Dogs for the Blind, Hearing Dogs for Deaf People, and Dogs for the Disabled are routinely neutered, and this does not impair their ability to perform their duties.

What are the advantages of neutering my male dog?

  • Reduces the risk of benign prostatic hyperplasia and prostatitis
  • Reduces the risk of hormone-related diseases such as perianal adenoma
  • Eliminates the risk of testicular cancer, the second most common cancer in intact dogs
  • Removes sexual urges, which usually decreases roaming behaviors
  • Reduces certain types of aggression

What are the disadvantages?

Most of the perceived disadvantages are false. The most quoted of these are that the dog will become fat, lazy, and useless as a guardian. Obesity is probably the most commonly quoted disadvantage of neutering. In most cases, obesity is the result of overfeeding and not exercising enough. By regulating your dog's diet and caloric intake, you can prevent obesity in both neutered and intact males.

Neutering doesn't cause a change in personality, guarding instincts, intelligence, playfulness and affection.

When should the operation be performed?

Most veterinarians recommend neutering at around six months of age. However, neutering at an earlier age, which is a common practice at animal shelters, does not appear to be detrimental.

More than just a vet, Portland Oregon's Town and Country Animal Hospital is your animal's second family.