Spay = ovariohysterectomy = surgical removal of the ovaries and uterus
Castration = orchiectomy = surgical removal of the testicles
Neuter = generic term for sterilizing either sex, but commonly used to refer to castration
Spaying or neutering your pet will help prevent undesirable hormonal behaviors and reduce or eliminate the risk of life-threatening reproductive cancers and infections.
Intact males may develop behavioral issues such as urine marking (even in the house) and running away to find an intact female. They may be more aggressive towards other intact males. Medical issues such as prostatitis (prostate infection), and testicular and perianal cancers could also develop.
Intact female dogs go through approximately 1-2 heat cycles each year. Intact female cats continuously cycle until bred. Vaginal bleeding, behavioral changes, and impregnation could occur during each cycle. If not impregnated, the uterus lining thickens and often becomes infected over time. The uterine infection (pyometra) can be fatal if not addressed with emergency surgery. Hormone stimulation from being intact also dramatically increases the female’s risk of developing mammary tumors. If spayed before the first heat cycle, there is virtually 0% risk of developing mammary tumors. Each heat cycle your pet has increases her risk of developing mammary tumors.
We recommend spaying or neutering your pet at 6 months of age. This may vary slightly depending on your situation. By 6 months, your pet should have matured enough to handle anesthesia more safely and have lost all of its deciduous (baby) teeth. If there are retained teeth, we can extract them at the time of surgery. Waiting until 6 months may prevent the need to put your pet under anesthesia twice (once for surgery; once for extractions). After 6 months, the chances your pet will go through a heat cycle or develop behavioral changes increase.
If you will be breeding your pet, we recommend sterilizing it after you decide not to breed any longer.