Dog & Cat Spaying & Neutering in Flagstaff
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Spaying and Neutering in Flagstaff, Arizona
Hi, I’m Dr. Dobbin at Continental Animal Wellness Center and spring is in the air, which basically means puppies and kittens everywhere, so I feel like this would be a good time to talk a little bit about spaying and neutering of our pets.
Health Benefits of Spaying or Neutering
So there are quite a few health benefits to early spaying and neutering. By early spaying and neutering I mean at or around five months of age. Here are just a few examples:
- If you spay an animal before their first heat, you virtually eliminate the risk of breast cancer.
- If you spay an animal at any age, you eliminate the risk of pyometra, which is an infection of the uterus and often ends up as a surgical emergency.
- Early neutering of our pets can decrease prostate disease as well as some testosterone-driven behavior such as being bit by another animal and/or hit by a car.
- Any animal – cat/dog male/female – there have been some studies that show sterilized animals actually live, on average, longer than they’re intact counterparts.
Overpopulation & Spaying or Neutering
Every 11 seconds in the United States in a shelter, a cat or a dog is euthanized. That amounts to about 10,000 a day. Up to 50% of litters are accidental and/or unwanted so, in theory, by early spaying and neutering, you would prevent a lot of that euthanasia due to overpopulation.
It should also be mentioned that gestation of parturition, aka pregnancy and delivery, has its own complications as well.
When to Spay or Neuter:
So now you’ve kind of heard the two main benefits that I feel strongly about, so the question is when do I spay or neuter? And that is a very good question, and if you do a lot of research, do your homework, you will be very confused because there really is no perfect 100 percent of the time right answer to that question. For the two reasons I mentioned as well as from a surgeon’s perspective, early spaying and neutering equals smaller incision, less anesthesia time, therefore faster recovery. So health benefits, over-population and surgery, in and of itself, is the reason that here at Continental, we do recommend the early spay neuter which, once again, is a door around five months of age.
Ultimately, the decision is yours. I just encourage you to include your veterinarian in on your discussion, and if you’ve recently adopted any cute puppies or kittens, bring them on down to see us and check out our awesome puppy and kitten package.
Many of us know that our puppies need vaccines but what do they need, how many do they need and what are they even being vaccinated for?
Let’s talk exactly about that:
What vaccines do our puppies need?
Well, first of all, let’s start by setting up the very first appointment when our puppy is six to eight weeks of age. At that time, that’s when they’re gonna get the very first vaccine.
That first vaccine is the DA2PP vaccine. What that vaccine is is actually a lot of vaccines all-in-one, and it stands for the distemper virus, adenovirus, parainfluenza virus and the parvovirus. Distemper parvo is pretty common in Flagstaff so that’s why it’s so important to get those two on board first so your pet has at least some protection and some immunity against distemper and parvo right off the bat. So that’s why, once again, at six to eight weeks we’re gonna come in and get that first vaccine. After that, every three to four weeks, we’re going to come in for another booster of that vaccine until about four months of age. Then we’re gonna get our final one-year vaccine and that’s gonna be the final distemper parvo combo vaccine and then our final one-year rabies vaccine.
Now, when they come in a year later for the next vaccine after that, then we can get three-year vaccines, but as puppies we still don’t have that full immunity yet. We’re still growing, so that’s why we want to booster vaccines so that we can get that full immunity and they can be fully protected.
So one misconception that a lot of people have is they’re gonna get all these puppy vaccines and then they have that one-year vaccine, they’re gonna come back in and they’re gonna get a three year vaccine and then they’re done. Their puppy’s vaccinated and good for life. Well actually, no.
So, over time, that immunity actually decreases and your dog needs to be revaccinated so we recommend after all these puppy vaccines, your dog is going to need to come back every three years for the rest of his lifetime to keep up this immunity. So that’s why it’s so important that not only are we bringing in your puppy, but also your older dogs as well to make sure that we’re always keeping up with our vaccines so we’re always protective against these viruses.
The Bordetella Vaccine
Now, on top of these two vaccines, there’s one more vaccine that I wanted to mention that’s really important to vaccinate for as well and that’s gonna be the bordetella vaccine. Bordetella is a component of kennel cough. Kennel cough is a terrible cough or hack that your pet can get and, just like a common cold for us, it can be passed by touching noses when dogs are sniffing each other or by sharing dog bowls or things like that. So any dog that’s going into boarding, grooming, or dog parks, or even just hanging out downtown or going into your local Petsmart or Petco, they can pick up kennel cough there. So we also recommend vaccinating for bordetella, and that one is vaccinated once a year or, if you’re going into kenneling, every six months.
So those are our three main vaccines that we vaccinate for here in Flagstaff. That’s the kennel cough, which is bordetella, that distemper parvo and rabies.
Caring for Your New Pet in Flagstaff
Caring for a new pet can be a lot of work! Spaying or Neutering and vaccinations are just two of the first things you should do to keep your cat or dog healthy and happy. If you have any questions, call us or contact us to schedule an appointment.