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Spay, Neuter Pets For Better Health
By Amy Woolfolk
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Having pets spayed or neutered not only helps control the pet population, but it also helps protect the animals from serious medical problems.
Dr. Cory Langston, associate professor of veterinary medicine at Mississippi State University, said spaying females before their first heat cycle eliminates the threat of uterine and ovarian infection or cancer. These are common in unaltered females.
Risk of tumors in the mammary gland, the milk producing gland, also can be reduced tremendously by spaying.
"If a dog is spayed before her first heat cycle, her chances of developing cancerous tumors decreases to less than one percent," Langston said.
A high percentage of mammary tumors are malignant, and if allowed to spread to the animal's lungs or bones, they can be fatal, he added.
Spaying female pets also helps them avoid the dangers of giving birth.
"Females giving birth can have problems, such as a narrow birth canal or abnormal presentation of the pup, that may require veterinary assistance or potentially be fatal," Langston said. "With a spayed female, you avoid these risks."
Neutering males helps prevent testicular tumors and most prostate problems, Langston said. It also decreases the chances of dogs roaming and fighting.
Sterile pets not only have a greater life expectancy, but they also make better pets for families. Sterile pets become calmer, more content and more affectionate.
The specialist said neutering male pets also makes them less aggressive toward other male animals and less distracted by females in heat. This makes pets less likely to stray away from home looking for a mate.
Spaying female pets eliminates inconveniences for pet owners.
"Females in heat attract unwanted male dogs. They also have a bloody discharge that can stain rugs or furniture," Langston said. "Sterilizing females helps avoid these problems and any caused by unwanted pregnancies."
Pet owners fear that sterilizing their pet will make the pet gain weight and become lazy. Langston said proper feeding and adequate exercise can prevent these problems.
Anesthetics are another concern for pet owners.
"Anesthetics used today are very safe," Langston said. "The medical benefits of having a pet spayed or neutered greatly outweigh the small risk associated with anesthesia."
Contact: Dr. Cory Langston, (601) 325-1265