What is the Difference Between Spay and Neuter?

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Dr. Rick Coufal, DVM

Dr. Rick Coufal, DVM

Dr. Rick Coufal is the founder and lead veterinarian for Ponderosa Veterinary Clinic. Coufal graduated from State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences in May of 2000.

Spaying or neutering your pet is one of the most beneficial decisions you can make for your furry friend! Research shows that spayed and neutered cats and dogs live longer on average than those who are not. Additionally, spaying or neutering your pet can prevent them from developing health conditions later in life, such as infections and cancer. As a pet owner, one of the first decisions you have to make on behalf of your cat or dog is whether to spay and neuter them. By understanding the differences between spaying vs. neutering, their benefits, and what to expect, you can become a more informed pet owner to make the best decision for your pet.

At Ponderosa Veterinary Clinic, a vet clinic in Colorado Springs, we are on a mission to provide the southern Colorado community with sensible, thoughtful, and affordable veterinary services. Our expert veterinary staff is passionate about caring for animals and educating pet owners. We are committed to offering compassionate and personalized vet care that exceeds the expectations of the pet-owning families that we serve. At Ponderosa Veterinary Clinic, we work to empower pet owners with the highest quality resources so they can make the most informed decisions for their pets, such as spaying or neutering them.

A picture of a cat wearing a cone.

What Does Spaying Mean?

Spaying a cat or dog is a surgical procedure called an ovariohysterectomy. The goal of this surgery is to sterilize your pet. Only female cats and dogs can be spayed because the surgery involves removing the uterus and ovaries. Typically, this procedure is completed between the first four to six months of age for your cat or dog.

The Benefits of Spaying

There are many benefits to spaying your cat or dog. Not only does spaying female pets help to protect them from health risks, but as a pet owner, you are also helping to stop pet homelessness. Millions of pets are abandoned each year, and spaying your cat or dog is the best way to stop pet overpopulation. Other benefits of spaying your pet include:

  • Preventing uterine infections 
  • Reducing chances of breast cancer
  • Eliminating hormone changes that cause false pregnancy
  • Stopping your female pet from going into heat
  • Lessening the inclination to roam
  • Reducing behavioral problems

What Does Neutering Mean?

Just like spaying a female pet, neutering prevents a male cat or dog from reproducing. Pets that are neutered undergo surgical removal of the testicles. This means only male cats and dogs can be neutered. This surgical procedure is typically completed between six to nine months of your pet’s life.

The Benefits of Neutering

Neutering your pet has many benefits. Neutered males cannot reproduce, which prevents accidental pet pregnancies. This means that neutered cats and dogs cannot add to the pet overpopulation crisis. By neutering your male pet, you are helping to stop cats and dogs from being abandoned, homeless, and euthanized each year due to overpopulation. Also, by neutering your pet, you are keeping them healthy for years to come. Additional benefits include:

  • Preventing testicular cancer
  • Stopping the inclination to roam
  • Reducing mounting behavior
  • Preventing prostate problems
  • Reducing aggressive behavior
  • Lessening the likelihood to spray

Spaying or Neutering: What to Expect

If you decide to spay or neuter your pet, you may be anxious for your pet to have surgery. However, know that the surgical procedure is extremely common and safe. When spaying or neutering your pet, you can expect the procedure to look something like this:

  1. Before surgery, your pet will be given an exam to check for any underlying health conditions. This usually includes bloodwork to ensure your pet is healthy to proceed with being spayed or neutered.
  2. Your cat or dog will be under general anesthesia to be spayed or neutered. This anesthesia is safe for your pet. If your pet is female, the veterinary staff will remove the uterus and ovaries. If your pet is male, this involves the removal of the testicles.
  3. You will take your pet home after being spayed or neutered. You should also talk with your veterinarian about aftercare instructions. Your pet will likely feel tired and should be provided with a comfortable place to rest for 24 hours after surgery.
A white and black cat wearing a cone.

Safely Spay or Neuter Your Pet With Ponderosa Veterinary Clinic

As a family-owned veterinary clinic in Colorado Springs, Ponderosa Veterinary Clinic provides compassionate services while empowering pet owners with transparent information to make the best decisions for your cat or dog. Our expert veterinary staff is here to empower you with the knowledge so you can be an informed pet owner, especially when it comes to surgical procedures. Now that you know what the difference is between spaying and neutering your pet, the benefits, and what to expect, you can decide what is best for your furry friend. If you have additional questions about our spaying or neutering services, or if you are ready to schedule an appointment, contact Ponderosa Veterinary Clinic!

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