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Deciding whether you to have your pet spayed or neutered is a serious decision to make for your pet's wellbeing. Although veterinarians consider both procedures to be routine, electing any surgery for your pet is still a big deal. To assist in your decision making process, our veterinarians in Troutdale have answered six of the most common spay and neuter questions.

What do "spay" and "neuter" mean?

Spay and neuter are the names for the surgical procedures which prevent your pet from reproducing by removing the reproductive organs. Surgically removing a female animal's ovaries and uterus is known as spaying. The surgical removal of a male animal's testes is known as neutering. Our veterinarians regularly perform both procedures at our office.

How is spaying/neutering good for the pet and the pet owner?

Having your pet spayed or neutered will greatly benefit both the animal and the owner. Spaying and neutering eliminates your pet's risk of developing cancers related to the reproductive organs. Female pets spayed before their first heat also have a reduced chance of developing breast cancer. Neutering eliminates the risk of testicular cancer in males. The procedures will also mitigate a pet's fixation on reproducing, reducing your pet's instinct to wander, howl, and exhibit aggressive behavior -- resulting in a more obedient, affectionate pet.

How is spaying/neutering good for the community?

Having your pet spayed or neutered will prevent the population of unwanted animals from growing. Animal shelters have become increasingly overcrowded. Unfortunately, shelters are unable to find homes for every stray animal. Spaying or neutering your pet will help to prevent the overcrowding of shelters, making it more likely the homeless animals already in shelters will be adopted and find permanent families.

How old does my dog/cat have to be to have spay/neuter surgery?

Spay and neuter procedures can be performed at any age. Our veterinarians in Troutdale, however, recommend having your pet spayed or neutered before the animal reaches sexual maturity in order to enjoy the full health and behavioral benefits of the procedures. Pets generally reach sexual maturity between five and six months of age.

Will my pet get fat and lazy if she/he is spayed/neutered?

Having your pet spayed or neutered will not affect its natural energy level or cause it to gain weight. After fully recovering from a spay or neuter procedure, you will see your pet return to its normal, playful, and energetic self.

My dog/cat just had a litter; can I still get her fixed?

Yes, female dogs and cats can still be spayed after giving birth to a litter. To prevent further litters, the new mother should be spayed as soon as her puppies or kittens have been weaned (after about four to five weeks for puppies and five to six weeks for kittens).