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New This Month

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Cook County Animal Control will sponsor a spay/neuter program for the entire month of February 2015.

  • The program is limited to two pets (dogs, cats, ferrets) per household; the pets must reside in Cook County and must have current rabies vaccinations.
  • Clients who spay or neuter their pets under this program at Arlington Park Veterinary Hospital will receive a $40 discount.
  • Call the hospital at 847-934-1535.
    to schedule an appointment.

Spaying or Neutering Your Dog or Cat

Spaying Your Female Dog or Cat

Ovariohysterectomy (the medical term for spaying a female dog or cat) consists of surgical removal of the ovaries and uterus. Surgery is usually performed at 5-1/2 to 9 months of age in dogs and at 6 to 9 months in cats, before the first heat period.

The main reason for the surgery is to prevent pregnancy and heat periods, but the procedure is also necessary in treating severe uterine infections, ovarian and/or uterine tumors, and some skin disorders. If the ovaries are not removed, the bothersome heat periods still occur, even though pregnancy is no longer possible.

Although it is routinely performed, ovariohysterectomy is major abdominal surgery requiring general anesthesia and sterile operating technique.

Neutering Your Male Dog or Cat

Castration (neutering) is the surgical removal of their testicles. Such surgery is performed to eliminate sexual activities and render the animal sterile. In older dogs, castration may be necessary because of diseases of the testicles or prostate gland.

Castration usually (but not always) reduces a dog’s tendency to roam and fight. The general level of aggression may also be reduced. However, castration is not a replacement for obedience training by the owner.

When a cat is castrated before sexual maturity (6 to 8 months of age), the sexual characteristics fail to develop and the cat is sterile. Sex-driven behavior, such as roaming, fighting, and urine spraying, is either eliminated or markedly reduced.

Advantages of Spaying and Neutering

Advantage of spaying a female dog or cat:

  • Fewer unwanted puppies and kittens
  • Elimination of heat periods
  • Lower incidence of uterine infections and mammary gland cancer

Advantages of neutering a male dog or cat

  • Fewer unwanted puppies and kittens
  • Elimination of testosterone-dependent cancers and conditions, such as prostate growth, perianal tumors, and perineal hernias, in dogs
  • Elimination of potentially life-threatening testicular and prostatic infections in cats
  • Elimination of testosterone-dependent cancers and conditions, such as prostate growth, perianal tumors, and perineal hernias, in dogs
  • In dogs, decrease in undesirable aggression, territorial marking, roaming, and running away
  • In dogs, decrease in or elimination of such sexual behavior as mounting
  • In cats, decrease in undesirable aggression and territorial marking
  • In cats, reduction of strong urine odor

Frequently Asked Questions

Will spaying or neutering make my dog or cat fat and lazy?

No. Obesity is caused by excessive calorie intake. Weight can be controlled by proper feeding and exercise.

Will spaying or neutering change my pet’s personality, disposition, or intelligence?

No. Dogs’ personalities do not fully develop until one to two years of age. Cats’ personalities do not fully develop until about one year of age. Personality changes in young pets will occur whether they do or do not have surgery.

Shouldn’t my female pet have a litter first?

No. There is no advantage in allowing your dog to have a litter of puppies or your cat to have a litter of kittens.

Will my male dog still be a good watchdog if neutered?

Yes. Neutered male dogs remain protective of their homes and families.
Undesirable aggression is decreased, however.

Will my cat still be playful after neutering?

Yes. Neutered cats will retain their hunting-like behavior