April Newsletter: At What Age Should You Spay or Neuter Your Pet?

Overstimulated cat stares into camera.

At What Age Should You Spay or Neuter Your Pet?

Are you wondering when you should spay or neuter your new pet? Although recommendations for when to spay or neuter your pets varies depending on the type of animal you have, these surgeries are most often performed during a pet's first year of life.

Spaying and Neutering Age Recommendations

Spaying (for females) and neutering (for males) are surgeries that eliminate heat cycles in females and prevent reproduction in both sexes. Your veterinarian neuters your male pet by removing his testicles. Spay surgeries involve removing the uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes in female pets.

The surgeries are recommended at these ages:

  • Dogs. The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) recommends spaying and neutering small-breed dogs at six months or before the first heat in females. Large breed dogs should be spayed or neutered when the pet has stopped growing, which can occur between 9 to 15 months.
  • Cats. The AAHA's "Fix Felines by Five" campaign endorses spaying and neutering cats by 5 months.
  • Rabbits. The Best Friends Animal Society notes that young rabbits can be spayed when they're sexually mature, which may happen between 3 to 6 months of age. Dwarf breeds reach sexual maturity earlier than full-size breeds.
  • Ferrets. Merck Manual notes that most ferrets are spayed or neutered by the time they're 6 weeks old. If females aren't spayed and start a heat cycle, they will remain in heat until they're bred, according to the Manual.

Your pet's veterinarian can help you decide the perfect time to spay or neuter your pet. Spaying and neutering surgeries aren't just for young animals. Most animals, regardless of age, can be spayed or neutered.

Spaying and Neutering Benefits

Spaying and neutering offers many benefits for your pet's health and well-being, including:

  • Lower Cancer Risk. Spaying and neutering eliminates the risk of testicular cancer in males and uterine and ovarian cancer in females. It also decreases your female pet's risk of mammary (breast) cancer. According to the American College of Veterinary Surgeons (ACVS), breast tumors occur more often in unspayed female dogs or dogs that were spayed after age 2. The ACVS also notes that cats spayed before 6 months have a seven-time lower risk of developing mammary cancer. Female rabbits are also at increased risk of cancer, particularly uterine cancer when not spayed. Neutering reduces the risk of testicular or prostate cancer in male rabbits.
  • No Desire to Roam. Your pet may roam far from home to fulfill its mating instincts if not spayed or neutered. Pets that roam are more likely to be hit by cars or injured in other ways.
  • Reduced Spraying. Your pet may not be able to search for love on a dating app, but it has its own way of attracting a potential mate. Spraying small amounts of urine helps unaltered cats, dogs, rabbits, and ferrets announce they're available, in addition to marking their territory. Spaying and neutering may reduce or eliminate this behavior.
  • Fewer Reproductive Health Problems. Removing the testicles, ovaries, uterus, and fallopian tubes may also reduce reproductive system health issues in pets. Your male pets may be less likely to develop hernias or prostate disease, while females can avoid pyometra. Pyometra is a potentially deadly uterine infection that tends to affect pets that have been in heat at least several times.
  • No Unwanted Litters. Spaying and neutering helps reduce the number of unwanted animals in the U.S. According to the ASPCA, more than 6 million pets enter shelters every year, but only 4 million find new homes. Spaying and neutering ensures that your pet doesn't contribute to the pet overpopulation problem.

Is it time to spay or neuter your pet? Contact our office to make an appointment for an exam and discuss scheduling your pet's surgery.

Sources:

American Animal Hospital Association: When Should I Spay or Neuter My Pet?

https://www.aaha.org/your-pet/pet-owner-education/ask-aaha/spay-or-neuter/

Best Friends Animal Society: Rabbit Spay/Neuter: What to Know

https://resources.bestfriends.org/article/rabbit-spay/neuter-what-know

Merck Manual: Breeding and Reproduction of Ferrets, 10/2022

https://www.merckvetmanual.com/all-other-pets/ferrets/breeding-and-reproduction-of-ferrets

American College of Veterinary Surgeons: Mammary Tumors

https://www.acvs.org/small-animal/mammary-tumors/

Ross University College of Veterinary Medicine: Spay vs Neuter: Benefits of Spaying and Neutering Your Pets, 11/1/2023

https://veterinary.rossu.edu/about/blog/why-spay-and-neuter-pets

Your First Visit is FREE

Sign up now

Office Hours

Monday:

7:30am

5:30pm

Tuesday:

7:30am

5:30pm

Wednesday:

7:30am

7:00pm

Thursday:

7:30am

5:30pm

Friday:

7:30am

5:30pm

Saturday:

7:30am

12:00pm

Sunday:

Closed

Closed

Location

Find us on the map

Testimonial

  • "Excellent caring staff. If I could give them a trillion stars I would. Your fur babies are in the best hands. The most caring compassionate staff you will ever meet!"
    Lori H
  • "The absolute best in the QC. Have always taken great care of our puppies and dogs throughout the years. Feels like family and always a warm welcome. Treat your pets with the best care like they are their own."
    VeronicaV.
  • "i wish all the vets offices would do this!I think it is wonderful to advertise all our fur babies and how they are doing!"
    Penny G.
  • "Every single person at Scott County Animal Hospital, whether it is one of the doctors, one of the techs or groomer or a front desk worker...EVERYONE treats us like family every time we have a contact with them."
    Debi E.
  • "A huge thank you to Colene for always making Lola’s visits relaxing 💜 Lola did great with Dr. Knutson. I’m happy that I’ve finally found a place that truly cares about the well being of my fur-baby 🐶 Their whole staff is welcoming and I never have to worry about Lola’s appointments."
    Amber K
  • "SCAH has some of the most caring, compassionate and professional staff anywhere! They have treated our puppy dogs for the past 31 years and have treated each one with such kindness, knowledge and special care that we can't imagine going anywhere else. We have had some special issues with a few of our dogs and I feel like they not only did their utmost to give the best care, but also make sure that we as pet owners are part of the process. And when sadly, one of our fur babies has passed, they have given us such kindness and understanding that it makes a hard time much easier. Bless you all for your wonderful care to us and our doggies."
    Nancy N.
  • "Very caring people. I live in Clinton and it is worth the drive to them. I have been there a handful of times and the customer service has been above and beyond. Nothing but great things to say about every experience!"
    Chandra H

Featured Articles

Read about interesting topics