The Spay and Neuter Fund pays the surgical costs for Heritage Humane Society animals that need to be altered prior to adoptions. Unaltered pets are one of the leading causes for unwanted companion animals. Participating veterinary clinics offer the Heritage Humane Society reduced rates allowing the society to make the most out of your donation.
1. Will my dog or cat be a calmer pet after altering?

Yes. In addition to the benefits of not having heat periods and unwanted offspring, the animals tendency to roam is decreased. Most altered pets become less aggressive toward people and other animals.

2. What are some of the other known advantages of having my pet altered?

The neutered male cat has a decreased urine odor, less of a tendency to fight and roam, and it is far less inclined to mark its territory by spraying urine. The neutered male dog is also less likely to roam, mark territory, and display aggression toward other dogs. Neutered dogs have fewer tumors around the anus and decreased urine odor. The spayed female cat and dog do not have reproductive tract disease problems, have less urinary tract infections, and significantly fewer cases of mammary cancer.

3. What is actually done in a spay or neuter procedure?

In both cases, the animal is put under general anesthesia so that it cannot feel anything. A spay surgery (also called an ovariohysterectomy) is performed on females. While performed routinely, an ovariohysterectomy is a major surgery in which the reproductive tract including the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and uterus is removed. Blood work may be performed to make sure the pet is healthy enough for anesthesia and surgery. Neutering refers to the castration of a male animal. It is a surgical procedure in which both testicles are removed. Neutering requires considerably less time and equipment than a spay surgery.

4. How old should my pet be before surgery?

Consult with your veterinarian about the best age for your pet to have this surgery. In most cases, it is considered safe to alter dogs and cats as early as eight weeks of age. There may be health risks/concerns specific to certain breeds and sizes of dogs, specifically larger breeds; your veterinarian may advise waiting to perform this surgery until the dog is 6 months to one year or older. As long as they are healthy enough for surgery, there is generally no upper age limit for pets to be spayed or neutered and, in fact, older pets can benefit from the surgery.

5. Should the female have a heat period or a litter before being spayed?

If your pet is going to be a companion animal rather than a breeding animal, then there are no benefits to allowing her to have a litter or to go through a heat period. It is actually healthier for your dog or cat never to experience a heat as it lessens the animals chance of getting mammary cancer and decreases the animals stress and risks due to pregnancy and delivery. Research indicates that dogs spayed prior to their first heat have less than a half of one percent chance of experiencing mammary cancer as compared to an eight percent chance after the second heat. Cats spayed after their first heat have a seven times greater chance of suffering from mammary cancer than cats spayed prior to their first heat.

6. Isn’t it unnatural to deprive my pet of a sex life?

No. Dogs and cats have sex strictly to satisfy hormone-induced instincts, not for pleasure.

7. Will spaying or neutering my pet cause it to become fat and lazy?

No. Weight gain is due to being fed more calories than the animal uses. Watch the quantity of food you give your pet. Also, older pets need fewer calories than younger ones because they tend to be less active and are no longer growing. Regular play and exercise, along with diet, are the keys to keeping your pet in shape.