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The definition of neuter is 'desexing your animal, male or female.' There are many reasons for neutering animals - most often considered is reproduction / population control. This reason, though imperative in our society due to the increasing feral and unwanted animal population, is only one aspect of animal welfare that is accounted for when we take our animals in to be 'fixed.' The other important reasons to neuter our animals are to prevent the many health and behavior related problems that can arise in the intact animal.
Many are the diseases that can in fact be prevented / treated by neutering alone. In the female, we can prevent or greatly reduce susceptibility to ovarian, mammary and uterine cancer as well as other reproductive organ diseases such as pyometra, uterine torsion or intussusception, cystic endometrial hyperplasia, uterine rupture and vaginal hyperplasia. Happily, the occurrence of red drips on the new white carpet that occur every 4 - 8 months are also avoided or eliminated. In males, testicular tumors, certain prostatic diseases, perianal gland tumors and other inflammatory conditions of the male reproductive tract can be eliminated with castration.
Behavioural disorders such as spraying, aggression, roaming and fighting can be decreased or eliminated. In many cases even the embarrassing 'wild thing' on your leg will stop when company is over!
There are different veterinary protocols for neutering animals with respect to age, vaccination status, hospitalization and procedure. In general, animals should be healthy, have a current vaccination status and be approximately 6 months of age (preferably before they reach puberty or their first heat cycle). Consult your veterinarian for more information.
Pictured above is 'Barley' comforting his sister 'Millie' after having a laparoscopic spay.