Are there medical reasons why spaying or neutering is advised?

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Yes, there are several reasons why your vet is likely to advise neutering for your pets.

Lets take some common pets in turn;


For female dogs, spaying has some very significant health advantages. The first is a massive reduction in the chances of them developing breast cancer. If they are spayed before their first season it is virtually zero. However, if they are left until after around their 6th season, this advantage is lost and the likelihood of developing cancer is then the same, whether they are spayed or not. The second is that they cannot develop a condition called ‘Pyometra’, which is when infection gets inside the uterus and it fills with pus. This is a life threatening problem, around 25% of entire bitches will suffer with it, and it requires risky and expensive emergency surgery to cure.

For male dogs, the health benefits are less marked. They cannot get testicular problems because the testicles are removed and prostate problems are less likely but not completely ruled out. However, not enough male dogs who are left entire will go on to develop these conditions in later life, for most vets to advise a blanket policy of neutering while they are young.


In cats, for both sexes, the health benefits are huge. Entire cats will wander to find mates and this leaves them at significant risk of road traffic accidents, injuries from fighting (especially the males) and sexually transmitted disease. It is estimated that unneutered male cats will, on average, live 10 years less than their neutered counterparts.

Even if they are 100% indoor pets, neutering for cats is still important. Female cats, like female dogs, will be very vulnerable to developing both mammary cancer and pyometra, if they are left entire. Indoor male cats are less at risk for disease but they are still likely to spray, which would be very unpleasant to live with, and are likely to try to escape and find a mate.

Also, for cats there is also the very important issue of population control. Sadly, in the UK, and around the world, there are thousands of unwanted kittens born every year and all pet owners should be responsible enough to not add to this number.


At least 80% of female rabbits will develop uterine cancer if they are left entire and neutering is the only way to prevent this. For male rabbits the situation is similar to other species, there aren't huge health benefits for neutering but it will make them more pleasant pets and again, they will be far less likely to spray or be aggressive.

Rabbits are very social creatures and it is important they are kept with at least one other of their own kind. Neutered pairs with one of each sex are often the best combination but usually, for them to live together in harmony, rabbits will need to be either spayed or castrated. | 02.24.16 @ 12:56
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$commenter.renderDisplayableName() — {comment} | 06.14.21 @ 19:00
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