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Neuter or Spay; What’s the difference anyway?

As you may recall earlier this month we discussed the real dangers of canine influenza and how to prevent it (refer to article Canine influenza).  Now, here at the Larchmont Animal Clinic we do not want to give you the idea we favor canines over felines or vice versa. Instead we discuss topics that are relevant to whichever domesticated animal is in need. Sometimes that pertains to just one species like canines with influenza or multiple, like when discussing spays/neuters. For this article (and because we believe in fair play) we will go over spays or neuters for our feline friends. We will answer the question of, what is a spay or neuter exactly? What are some of the myths concerning a spay or neuter?  What are the lasting effects of such actions?

 Spaying or neutering conceptually mean the same, however spaying a female pet is a common term that actually refers to an OVH (ovariohysterectomy) and neutering/castration a male pet involves removing both testicles. We will start off with looking at spaying because as the saying goes “females first” (always true). Now although its referred to simply as spay, this surgery is actually an ovariohysterectomy (what a mouthful) or the removal of both uterus and ovaries. Although that may sound frightening, once your cat is spayed they are at a much lower risk to contract ovarian cancers, cysts, mammary gland tumors, and uterine infections. However, if you choose not to go with the surgery your cat is more likely to exhibit random urine markings, aggravated wailing, and crying during their heat cycles. The urge to reproduce is strong within cats, so if you do not get them spayed expect a rambunctious feline friend. And expect the same if you do not want to neuter your male cat.  Although they may not caterwaul like females, males will spray their strong-smelling urine all over your home to mark his territory. Also, unneutered cats tend to be aggressive and wander away from home as they seek a partner. Now remember you can avoid all that if your neuter you cat. Not only will he escape these behavioral and unwanted urine complications, he will also be less susceptible to testicular cancer and prostate disease. Neutered cats also tend to be affectionate and people-orientated. In the end, you can truly see how beneficial and fundamental these surgeries are in order to prolong a great life for your feline friend.

 Before we conclude let’s address some myths surrounding neuters and spays. A popular myth about getting your pet spayed or neutered is that they will get fat. This is false as your pet’s habits and aging process are what truly determine his or her weight. Another myth is that females need to complete a heat cycle before being spayed. Again, this is false because the fewer heat cycles you pet goes through before being spayed, the better her protection against mammary cancer. Last but not least and perhaps the most popular myth is will my cat lose his or her personality after these surgeries? Be rest assured that the only thing your cat is going to lose are sexual impulses and urine markings everywhere. Be confident in the fact that these surgeries prevent some many ailing diseases and prolonged healthier life.