Spaying in Female Dogs and Cats

Female Dogs

Spaying is highly recommended for the following benefits.

  • Prevention of “heat” or estrus
  • When in “heat”, the female experiences an urge to escape in order to find a mate. This unwanted and dangerous behavior is eliminated.
  • Elimination of the hormone fluctuations that cause false pregnancy following the “heat cycle”
  • Prevention of uterine infection known as pyometra
  • Prevention of breast cancer. Dogs spayed before their first “heat” have less than 0.5% chance of developing breast cancer.
  • Elimination of the risk of uterine and ovarian cancer

“Spaying doesn’t cause a change in personality, guarding instincts, intelligence, playfulness or affection.”

When: Most veterinarians recommend spaying between four and six months of age. Spaying at an earlier age, which is a common practice at animal shelters, does not appear to be detrimental


Female Cats

We recommend that all non-breeding cats be sterilized. Several health benefits are associated with spaying your cat. First, spaying eliminates the risk of ovarian and uterine cancers. Second, breast cancer is the number one type of cancer diagnosed in intact or un-spayed female cats. If your cat is spayed before her first heat cycle, there is less than ½ of 1% (0.5%) chance of developing breast cancer. With every subsequent heat cycle, the risk of developing breast cancer increases. After about 2½ years of age, ovariohysterectomy offers no protective benefit against developing breast cancer.

Finally, cats with diabetes or epilepsy should be spayed to prevent hormonal changes that may interfere with medications.

When: Spaying should be performed before the first estrus or “heat cycle”. Most cats are spayed between four and six months of age although some veterinarians choose to spay cats at two to three months of age.