September 21st, 2016
By Laurel Meleski, RedRover Program Coordinator II
We know that having our pets spayed or neutered is the right thing to do for the purpose of pet overpopulation and the impact it has on our overtaxed shelter system and the animals who end up there. But what if you feel certain that your female dog or cat won’t come into contact with a male? Why choose to put your pet – and your pocketbook – through an “unnecessary” surgery? While pregnancy prevention is a reason to have our pets altered, it’s not the only reason.
For females, spaying by six months of age helps to reduce the likelihood of cancerous mammary tumors. The longer a female is intact, the higher the chances that she’ll have mammary tumors. Spaying also prevents a life-threatening condition called pyometra. Pyometra is an infection of the uterus that can happen to any intact female. It’s most common around a heat or after giving birth, and if it is not taken care of quickly the chances of your pet surviving are slim.
Pyometra can sometimes be managed with antibiotics, but the only way to ensure that the infection will not come back is to have your pet spayed. Unfortunately, a typical pyometra spay can cost $1,000-1,500, and the infection can happen so quickly that many people are financially unprepared for such an immediate need. The one thing we hear from every RedRover Relief Urgent Care grant recipient who has a pet with pyometra is, “I wish I’d known this could happen! I would have had her spayed – I just didn’t think it was necessary because I wasn’t going to breed her.”
I always urge those people to take their hard-learned lesson and pass it along to friends and family. Inform your friends and family that getting their pets spayed is essential, not just because of pregnancy, but because of the potentially life-threatening risk of pyometra. Help all pets live a longer, healthier life.