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North Hills Monthly

Ask the Vet: what is the best age to spay or neuter my pet?

Oct 31, 2018 09:52AM ● By North Hills Monthly magazine

By Dr. Theo Nelson, DVM
Animal Friends’ Senior Veterinarian of Clinic Services

This is a very common question from pet owners who are trying to make the safest and healthiest decision for their beloved animal companions.

And, depending on who you ask, you can get many different answers.

Most private practice veterinarians won’t schedule a spay/neuter surgery until the animal is at least 6 months old. Meanwhile, common shelter practices involve spaying or neutering as early as 2-3 months of age.

While there may be a difference in opinion among veterinarians about the ideal age to alter an animal, the truth is that pediatric spay/neuter (or surgery performed on a pet younger than 5 months) has been safely performed for years.

Pediatric spay/neuter is a common practice among animal welfare leaders like Animal Friends for a number of reasons.

First, it allows shelters to find adopters for their younger residents during a highly adoptable period of their lives. Before pediatric spay/neuter, shelters would adopt out unaltered young animals with the hope that their families would seek out spay/neuter options when their pet was a little older. But, as pet overpopulation continued to be a growing problem, organizations realized that the best option was to alter their animals before adoption.

Another benefit of pediatric spay/neuter is a faster recovery time following surgery. Often times, younger patients can actually be awake and playing within hours of their operation.

And, pets who are altered are at a lower risk of developing certain cancers.

While everyone can agree that kittens, puppies and baby bunnies are adorable, there is certainly no shortage of them in our region. Whether purebred, mixed breed or lovable mutt, offspring who are born – intentionally or unintentionally – contribute to the growing pet overpopulation facing our community.

Each year, millions of companion animals are euthanized in the United States. For decades, Animal Friends has strongly believed that euthanasia can never be the solution to pet overpopulation. Spay/neuter is safe, humane and – thanks to the low-cost services at our Howard Ash Animal Wellness Center – affordable.

If you have an unaltered pet at home (young or old!) visit http://www.thinkingoutsidethecage.org/site/c.elKWIeOUIhJ6H/b.9548119/k.C605/LowCost_SpayNeuter.htm or contact our Clinic Services team at 412.847.7004 to discuss spay/neuter options for your four-legged family member.