6 Benefits of Neuter and Spay Surgeries
Published on September 4, 2019 by arothstein
The dream career of people who love animals is the opportunity to care for and work with them each day. Although many of these people will pursue their education to become a licensed veterinarian, a lot of animal lovers don’t want to commit to the time it takes to get the necessary degrees.
An alternative to becoming a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) is to enroll in a degree program to become a licensed veterinary technician. A vet tech has the opportunity to gain a lot of knowledge about the care of various species that can help them in their career path. A lot of vet techs work in private practices. However, by furthering their education, a vet tech may specialize and work in wildlife sanctuaries, zoos, or in research.
Vet Tech Job Responsibilities
The vet tech is usually the first person a pet and its owner have contact with in a veterinary practice. The veterinary technician may conduct a preliminary examination and report the findings to the attending veterinarian. The vet tech records the animal’s medical history, takes samples and x-rays, and may provide emergency first aid.
A vet tech uses their education, knowledge, and skills to assist the attending veterinarian in all aspects of animal care. A lot of the responsibility in a private practice revolves around cats and dogs. However, vet techs may also care for an array of small mammals, various species of birds, and even reptiles.
One of the issues that a vet tech may discuss with pet owners is having your pet spayed or neutered. Although a vet tech can’t perform these surgeries because it falls under the category of practicing medicine, they may assist with these procedures.
What Are Spay and Neuter Procedures?
Veterinarians recommend neutering for cats and dogs. The procedure is highly successful and safe. The surgery may be done on a kitten or puppy as young as six months old.
A neuter procedure removes all or part of the reproductive organs of an animal. Meanwhile, a female animal’s procedure is referred to as a spay. When most people speak about spaying or neutering, it refers to cats and dogs. When the procedure is performed on a male horse, the medical term is gelding.
Types of Spay and Neuter Surgeries
Two methods of performing a spay on a female animal are the traditional open surgery and laparoscopic surgery.
Laparoscopic surgery is a procedure which consists of using a camera and surgical instruments and inserting them through small, keyhole sized incisions.
During the laprascopic procedure, the veterinarian uses computer imaging. The veterinarian and vet tech inflates the animal’s abdomen with carbon dioxide, giving the surgeon room to work. The veterinarian uses instruments to move the ovaries away from the animal’s other organs. The surrounding tissue is cauterized, the ovaries are removed, and a unique instrument is used to heat the blood vessels and cut them.
No sutures are used inside the animal’s body using this method. Although the laparoscopic procedure may be more costly than the traditional surgery, depending on the veterinarian, there are benefits including:
- Less pain for your cat or dog
- Faster recovery time for your pet
- Small wounds heal faster
Spay and Neuter Aftercare
If a pet owner’s veterinarian option is traditional surgery, the pet will be sent home with pain medication to keep them comfortable. Another good reason for keeping a pet medicated is that a lot of owners want to keep an active pet more stationary following surgery to ensure proper healing.
Benefits of Spay/Neuter Surgery
Some pet owners are reluctant to have their pets spayed or neutered. However, there are a lot more benefits than risks in having the procedure done.
Spay/Neuter Surgery Benefit #1: Reduced Chance of Cancer
Spaying your female pet can prevent infections of the uterus and breast tumors, which are malignant in about half of all dogs and most of cats. Having a cat or dog spayed before the first heat cycle is the best way to prevent these diseases.
Spay/Neuter Surgery Benefit #2: Pet Hygiene
One of the best reasons to have a pet spayed is pet hygiene. When a female dog goes into heat, the dog will urinate more frequently.
Spay/Neuter Surgery Benefit #3: It Keep Animals from Going into Heat
Female cats can have a heat cycle every three weeks during the breeding season. Each cycle may last for four to five days. A female cat may yowl more and with more intensity to attract male cats. Urinating more frequently during a cycle is common, and a lot of females will urinate indiscriminately, even on furniture and carpeting.
Spay/Neuter Surgery Benefit #4: Less Marking of Territory
Neutering a male dog or cat can eliminate behavior problems. Unneutered cats and dogs tend to spray to mark their territory. Their urine has a powerful odor, and they tend to spray wherever they want, usually anywhere inside the house. Neutering a male pet can eliminate this problem.
Spay/Neuter Surgery Benefit #5: Eliminate Roaming or Wandering Behavior
When dogs reach the puberty stage, they’re more likely to wander away from home if they haven’t been spayed or neutered. A dog could get lost or injured if it’s allowed to roam the neighborhood freely.
Spay/Neuter Surgery Benefit #6: Reduce the Homeless Pet Population
Every year, 6.5 million animals are relinquished to shelters around the country; 3.3 million of these animals are dogs, and 3.2 million are cats. There aren’t enough homes to go around for the vast numbers of animals that enter shelters, according to the ASPCA.
Debunking Myths About Spaying and Neutering
Neutering a male dog can eliminate some of the undesirable traits they developed due to a high level of testosterone. After the surgery, a dog is less likely to try to mount other animals and people. However, if a dog has behavior problems, neutering him won’t automatically make the problems go away. If the dog has developed undesirable habits, a veterinarian or vet tech may recommend a good trainer in the area.
Some pet owners believe that their dog or cat should experience motherhood once before they have her spayed. Another myth is that a male dog doesn’t feel as masculine if he’s neutered. Animals don’t process thoughts the way humans do, so neither of these is a valid reason to keep a pet’s reproductive ability intact.
When to Spay or Neuter a Pet
A lot of veterinarians will spay a kitten as young as eight weeks old. Kittens and cats in shelters are often spayed or neutered before they’re adopted. When a kitten is adopted, it’s a good idea to have the spay or neuter surgery scheduled before the kitten is five months old.
Puppies can generally be spayed or neutered as early as eight weeks if they’re healthy. However, most veterinarians recommend having a puppy spayed or neutered between the ages of six and nine months. Adult dogs may have spayed or neuter surgery. There is a slightly higher risk of post-operative issues with a dog that’s older, overweight, or has health problems.
A Dog’s First Heat Cycle
The age of a dog when it has its first heat cycle can vary. The first heat cycle for a puppy is usually at around six months of age. However, the time of the first cycle depends a lot on the dog’s breed. Some small breed dogs may go into heat as early as four to six months.
Medium-size breeds like Labrador Retrievers may have their first cycle between six months and a year old. Giant or large breed dogs may not have their first cycle until between 18 and 24 months.
Before the Surgery
The veterinarian or vet tech will provide the pet owner with instructions before they cat, or dog has surgery. Veterinarians recommend not feeding a pet after midnight on the night before the spay or neuter is scheduled.
After the Surgery
A veterinarian or vet tech will provide the pet owner with instructions for the pet’s post-operative recovery. Veterinarians usually prescribe pain medication for pets recovering from spay or neuter surgery that will be sent home.
To make sure a pet has a comfortable, safe recovery, keep them inside the home where they won’t be in contact with other animals. Provide a quiet, comfortable place for the pet to rest and recuperate. Don’t bathe the pet for at least ten days following the spay or neuter. Check the incision site each day to ensure it’s healing correctly. An infection could result if the pet is able to lick the incision. A veterinarian may provide an E-collar to prevent this.
Follow the veterinarian’s instructions. Keep the pet calm and don’t allow them to jump or run around for at least two weeks, or longer if the veterinarian recommends. The recovery time for animals following surgery can vary significantly.
Want to Learn More?
Did learning about the benefits of spaying and neutering a pet interest you? Ready to start a program to become a veterinary technician? With an associate degree in veterinary technology, you’ll gain the knowledge and skills you need to start an entry-level career as a veterinary technician. Broadview University has been part of the community for more than 40 years, so we’ve developed connections that can help move your career forward. After completing our accredited degree program, you’ll be eligible to sit for the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE). Passing the VTNE allows you to become a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT), a designation that will give you a competitive advantage when you enter the job market.
Contact us today to learn more about becoming a veterinary technician and working in veterinary technology.
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