Our team continues to be here for you and your cherished pets. We are OPEN and are now able to provide a wide range of services. To learn more about the changes we have implemented in response to COVID-19 and what to expect during your next visit, click here.

When and Why: Spaying and Neutering

Dr. Bishop performs a vasectomy.

There has been a lot of debate around Halifax and Dartmouth lately on the optimum time to spay or neuter your dog or cat. Shelters typically spay and neuter all puppies and kittens at very early ages i.e. 8-12 weeks.  More conventional neutering is done at 5-6 months of age.  Some people are opting to keep their pets intact until they have finished growing between 12 and 18 months of age.  Others are investigating vasectomies and ovary sparing spays where the hormone secreting gonads are left intact but reproduction is no longer possible.

The primary reason for spaying and neutering is to reduce the numbers of unwanted puppies and kittens that would be euthanized in shelters, disposed of by owners, abandoned to die or become feral.  In North America spay and neuter practices have led to significant improvements in these areas.

There have also been some behavioral benefits and health benefits associated with neutering.  Male cats will reduce urine marking, fighting and roaming if neutered.  Female cats will no longer yowl, roll and present their hindquarters after spaying.  Female dogs in heat attract males and have a bloody vaginal discharge.  Intact male dogs sometimes have inter-dog aggression problems and will seek out females with enthusiasm!

Health benefits are also toted as reasons for spaying and neutering.  Mammary tumours which are usually fatal in cats are reduced by 96% if the cats are spayed at about 5 months of age.  Mammary tumours in dogs are 50% of the tumourous cancers seen in Europe where intact animals are more common.  In North America, where the population is mostly spayed, mammary tumours are a small fraction of the cancers we treat. Obviously, if you remove the testicles and the ovaries, the patient will not get ovarian or testicular tumours. As well, animals that are spayed and neutered have longer average lifespans than intact pets.

There are; however, some health risks to spaying and neutering.  Obesity occurs more frequently in spayed and neutered animals. About 5% of female dogs will develop estrogen deficiency urine leakage problems after a spay.  Recent historical analysis of populations of Rottweilers, Golden Retrievers and Viszla’s suggest a correlation between cancers of the bone, spleen, mast cell tumours and spaying. There is also a theory that spaying and neutering before the growth plates close contributes to the high incidence of knee ligament injuries in dogs.

Canine Vasectomy
Canine Vasectomy

Research is ongoing in all areas of benefit and risk associated with spaying and neutering and it may take  20 years for true cause and effect data to be generated.  In the meantime, what should dedicated and socially responsible pet caretakers do?

Talk to your Full Circle veterinarian about the relative risks and benefits of delaying a spay or neuter or performing the procedures between 5-7 months of age. Other procedures like vasectomies and ovary sparing spays may also help your pet keep a normal hormone profile without producing unwanted young.

Here are a few related links you may find interesting:

https://www.morrisanimalfoundation.org

https://www.parsemusfoundation.org/ovary-sparing-spay/

https://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2013/09/30/neutering-health-risks.aspx

 

Your pet deserves the Full Circle of Veterinary Care!

Our dynamic, passionate and dedicated customer care team wants you to experience inspired, integrated veterinary health care.  Our broadly educated veterinarians, technologists and support staff meld conventional veterinary medicine and surgery with diverse special interest fields including: nutrition (commercial and home prepared feeding plans), diagnostic ultrasound, acupuncture, Chinese Herbal Medicine, canine rehabilitation, feline focused medicine and more.  Take the first step and join us.

 

 

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Last updated: June 5, 2020

Dear Clients,

With recent changes to restrictions on businesses, we are pleased to advise that effective June 5, 2020 some restrictions on veterinary practices have been lifted. Based on these changes, below are some important updates to our operating policies.

1. WE CAN NOW SEE ALL CASES BY APPOINTMENT ONLY

This includes Canine Rehabilitation Services, Animal Chiropractic, TCVM Consultations, Bloodwork for Referral Services, Wellness Exams, Vaccines and more!

2. SAFETY MEASURES TO KEEP EVERYONE SAFE

3. ONLINE CONSULTATIONS ARE AVAILABLE

If you wish to connect with a veterinarian via message, phone or video, visit our website and follow the "Online Consultation" link.

4. OPERATING HOURS

We are OPEN with the following hours:

- Monday to Friday: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
- Saturday & Sunday: CLOSED

Thank you for your patience and understanding and we look forward to seeing you and your furry family members again!

- Your dedicated team at Full Circle Veterinary Alternatives Inc.