How to Identify Pet Pain

Pet pain isn't always obvious and is often easy to ease with the help of your local veterinarian.Our pets may not walk, talk, or behave like us, but that doesn’t mean they don’t feel pain in much the same way as humans. Over the past few decades, veterinary science has made tremendous strides in the areas of pet pain prevention and management.

At Animal Medical Hospital, we believe the best way to empower pet owners is through education. September is Animal Pain Awareness Month, so now is the perfect opportunity to delve deeper into the issue of pet pain.

Signs of Pet Pain

Unfortunately, our pets can’t tell us when they’re hurting. Combine this with the fact that dogs and cats are hardwired to hide signs of illness or injury, it can sometimes be extremely difficult to tell when a pet is in pain. Your pet’s regular wellness exams are a good opportunity for us to assess your pet for signs of trouble, but your observations at home are just as important. Continue…

Why spay or neuter?

Neutering is a sterile surgical procedure that involves removing both testicles from a male pet. Spaying refers to the operation where the ovaries and uterine horns are surgically removed from a female pet. It is recommended to spay and neuter your pets between 5 and 8 months of age, before they reach sexual maturity. This is for both medical and behavioral reasons. The only reason not to spay or neuter is if you are going to breed or show your pet.

For male pets, there are several medical reasons for neutering. The first is to eliminate the risk for testicular cancer, which is the 2nd most common cancer in unneutered male dogs. If the testicles are removed, they can’t get cancer there. Neutering reduces the risk for prostate cancer and prostatitis, and reduces the risks of diseases associated with hormones such as testosterone. As for behavior- there will be a decrease in the need for roaming as your dog will not have the urge to reproduce, as well as decreased aggression. It also decreases the urge to “mark” their territory, so inappropriate urination is less likely to be an issue.

There are medical and behavioral advantages to spaying your female pets as well. Medical reasons include the eliminating the possibility of false pregnancy, uterine infections known as pyometras, decreasing the risk of breast cancer and eliminating the chances of uterine and ovarian cancer. As with males, behavioral benefits include reduced aggression and other undesirable behaviors such as inappropriate elimination.

There are serious medical complications and behavioral issues that can arise from not spaying and neutering your pets, as outlined above. In addition to these, you will be preventing the risk of unplanned pregnancies. If you take away the urge to reproduce, they will be much more suitable as pets because they will no longer have to answer the “call of the wild.”

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Spaying & Neutering

So your puppy or kitten is getting older…what is next in providing the best care for them? When your pet is about 5-6 months old, we recommend having them spayed or neutered. This is an important decision for pet owners. There are several reasons for this recommendation:

Good for Your Pet

  • Spaying and neutering helps pets live longer, healthier lives.
  • It can eliminate or reduce the incidence of a number of health problems that can be very difficult or expensive to treat.
  • For your female pet, spaying eliminates the possibility of uterine or ovarian cancer and greatly reduces the incidence of breast cancer, particularly when your pet is spayed before her first estrous cycle.
  • Neutering your male pet eliminates testicular cancer and decreases the incidence of prostate disease.

Good for You

  • Makes pets better, more affectionate companions.
  • Spaying your pet eliminates her heat cycle.
  • Unsterilized animals often exhibit more behavior and temperament problems than do those who have been spayed or neutered.
  • Can make pets less likely to bite.
  • Neutering makes pets less likely to roam the neighborhood, run away, or get into fights.

Good for the Community

  • Communities spend millions of dollars to control unwanted animals.
  • Animal shelters are overburdened with surplus animals.
  • Stray pets and homeless animals get into trash containers, defecate in public areas or on private lawns, and frighten or anger people who have no understanding of their misery or needs.
  • Some stray animals also scare away or kill birds and wildlife.