Photo provided by Dawn J. Sagert/The York Dispatch
The spaying or neutering of dogs and cats is recommended for a number of different reasons. These include health benefits for the individual animal, as well as benefits for the community as a whole. Spay/neuter programs help control animal overpopulation, reduce the burden on animal shelters in the area, and decrease the number of animals euthanized.
The health benefits of spaying and neutering are undisputable. It prevents uterine infections, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, testicular torsion and testicular cancer. It also greatly decreases the chances of prostatitis, prostatic hypertrophy, and mammary cancer. In fact, having a pet spayed before their first heat cycle decreases the likelihood of mammary cancer by 98% - almost completely eliminating the chance of developing this very common type of cancer! Spayed and neutered dogs live almost 20% longer on average than intact dogs. Spay/neuter can also decrease “roaming” behavior, meaning there are fewer injuries and incidents like animals being hit by cars or lost pets in general.
The spay and neuter surgeries themselves are quick, routine procedures that can be performed by a skilled veterinarian in 15 minutes or less. Females have a small abdominal incision, where the ovaries and uterus are removed. Males have a small open incision on the scrotum where the testicles are removed. Most animals recover completely from anesthesia in 24-48 hours, and heal within about 7-10 days.
Having an effective spay/neuter program in place can positively affect a community in a number of ways. The American Animal Hospital Association believes that ideally no adoptable animal should need to be euthanized. In order to someday achieve this goal, there must be an available home for EVERY relinquished and stray
animal. Spaying and neutering prevents unwanted litters and an overabundance of animals in shelters. Even if you do not have a pet yourself, there are still reasons to care about spay/neuter. Spay/neuter prevents unnecessary animal suffering. Property can also be damaged and livestock killed when intact animals roam or run away.
The York County SPCA Spay/Neuter Surgical Center has performed over 40,000 spays and neuters on dogs and cats in our community since opening our facility in 2013. In fact, we performed over 9,000 surgeries in 2020 alone! These surgeries have prevented countless unwanted litters and have improved the health and wellbeing of many animals. We are dedicated to preventing overpopulation, and are therefore determined to move closer to the goal of having an available home for every adoptable animal.
For questions about spay/neuter services or to schedule an appointment at the York County SPCA Spay/Neuter surgical center, please visit our website.