Why do we ask our clients to spay and neuter their pets?
Here at Tomah Veterinary Clinic we happily donate a lot of time to helping local shelters and shelter pets. Shelter over-crowding, growing numbers of puppy mills, commercial kennels, and pet stores is a growing concern in Monroe County and across the state of Wisconsin. With this in mind, our clinic has chosen to adopt a spay/neuter policy, and requests that all new healthy pets be spayed or neutered within six months of becoming our patients.
How much does spaying and neutering cost?
The cost of a spay or neuter for your pet depends upon their size and age. Once your pet has received their first examination we can give you an estimate of what the surgery will cost. We offer wellness plans for early spays and neuters of puppies and kittens to help clients with the health care cost and needs of young animals. If you live in Monroe County and have financial constraints that are making you concerned about affording the surgery, please contact us. We can often refer you to shelters and rescue groups that may be able to help you defray the cost of the procedure.
What is a spay surgery?
Spaying, or ovariohysterectomy, is the surgical removal of the ovaries and uterus. Spaying is considered a routine abdominal operation. The procedure is done with the animal under general anesthesia and involves making an incision in the abdomen for removal of the reproductive organs. Recovery is usually prompt; most cats and dogs can go home the day of surgery and are back to normal within five to seven days.
What is a neuter surgery?
Neutering, or orchiectomy, is the surgical removal of the the testicles. Neutering is considered a routine operation. The procedure is done with the animal under general anesthesia. In male dogs a small incision is made in front of the scrotum to allow removal of the testicles. In male cats, an incision is made through the scrotal tissue over each testis to allow removal. Recovery is usually prompt; most cats and dogs can go home the day of surgery and are back to normal within five to seven days.
I waited too long and my dog just had a litter of puppies, or I took in this stray cat and she had a litter. What do I do now?
If your dog or cat had an accidental litter give us a call right away to help you get started on appropriate kitten or puppy care. The first step is an examination and vaccination of the queen (female cat) or bitch (female dog) if they are not current. Having a well-vaccinated queen or bitch is very important for the health of the puppies or kittens. During this examination we can talk about setting up an appropriate deworming and vaccination schedule for the puppies or kittens to keep them safe and healthy. Please be aware that we do not offer cat declawing, puppy tail docking, or ear cropping services at Tomah Veterinary Clinic.
Female cats can be spayed once the kittens are 6 weeks of age and the litter can handle her being away from them during the day. Please be aware that cats can get pregnant while nursing a litter. Female dogs may also be spayed when the puppies reach six weeks of age, but we often wait until the puppies are 8-12 weeks old to allow some of the mammary tissue to decrease after they have finished nursing. Most dogs won’t go into heat until at least one to two months after they have weaned the current litter.
Won’t spaying or neutering my dog or cat make them fat?
Spaying and neutering does not cause an animal to be overweight. Obesity is a problem of too many calories and not enough exercise. Spaying and neutering does sometime causes a decrease in a dog’s metabolism due to the removal of estrogen and testosterone from the system, but this can easily be compensated for by controlling your pet’s food intake. We highly recommend that our pet owners feed their dogs in measured meals. If your dog or cat is eating in meals and you notice that they seem to be gaining weight after surgery, it is very easy to cut back on the amount of food.
In addition, feeding measured meals allows you to adjust your dogs or cats intake when their activity level changes. Not only does this make it very easy to control your dog’s weight, a decrease in appetite is much easier to notice when a dog is fed in meals. Small shifts in amount of food intake that persist over time might be the first indicators of chronic medical conditions especially in older pets.
I want my dog to be involved in hunting/flyball/agility/dock jumping/etc… Won’t spaying or neutering decrease their drive to do this activity?
No, in fact he or she may do better because they are not distracted by their hormonal drive. Additionally, spaying a female dog means no litters of puppies to interfere with your ability to go to competitions.
Will spaying or neutering alter my dogs personality?
No, spaying and neutering doesn’t change a dog’s basic personality. The procedure won’t affect their working abilities, friendliness, playfulness, or disposition. However, surgery can decrease many behaviors associated with the hormones that drive an intact dog. We see a reduction in roaming, frequent urination and marking, inappropriate mounting, irritability associated with heat cycles, and of course aggression.
I just got a new puppy and I would prefer not to spay/neuter because I intend to breed my dog if they win hunting trails/agility competition/conformation ring/etc.
It takes a lot of skill, determination, and commitment on the part of both the dog and owner to compete and it is wonderful to see people who put so much time and effort into their pets. Unfortunately, we might not be the right clinic for you. We would be happy to see your new puppy to get them started on basic vaccinations and health care and discuss any obvious genetic defects that might prevent your pet from competing or breeding, e.g., patellar luxation, hip dysplasia, cryptorchidism, hernias, etc.
However, if you do decide that you are not going to spay or neuter your new puppy after 6 months or you are absolutely positive you are going to breed your dog, we will help you refer to another clinic that can better suit your needs. Since we currently do not handle breeding animals, we do not offer reproductive services or OFA and CERF certification that is strongly recommended prior to breeding any dogs to help screen for life-altering genetic defects such as hip dysplasia, retinal disease, etc.
Well, all this information on spaying and neutering is great but how do I find a responsible breeder and do my best to ensure that I get a healthy puppy?
There are many factors to consider when looking for a responsible breeder, including vaccinations, deworming, training, OFA and CERF certification and more. Here are links to two well-written articles regarding finding a responsible breeder: