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Animal Coalition of Tampa: Why Spaying/Neutering Your Pet Is So Important

By Elisha Neubauer

The Animal Coalition of Tampa wants the Tampa Bay area to be aware of exactly how important it is to spay and neuter your pets. In addition to the health benefits associated with the procedure, spaying and neutering your pet can help lower the number of unwanted homeless pets in the area by preventing unplanned pregnancies, in turn, easing the overcrowding in the county shelters.

"One of the most important health decisions you'll make is to spay or neuter your pet," stated Linda Hamilton, Executive Director of the Animal Coalition of Tampa. "Spaying (surgical removal of the ovaries and uterus of a female) offers lifelong health benefits. Neutering (surgical removal of the testicles of a male) will improve health and behavior and keep him close to home."

Not only are there health benefits associated with the procedure, but Hamilton insists it is the socially responsible thing to do for both your pet and your community. "Each year millions of unwanted dogs and cats are euthanized or suffer as strays because there are not enough homes for them," she stated. "Don't add to this unfortunate situation."

While these are important reasons to ensure your pet is spayed or neutered, there is still another one that hits a little closer to home for most owners: it promotes better behavior. "Once spayed or neutered, your pet will focus more attention on you rather than on the instinctive desire to breed," explained Hamilton. "Spaying and neutering can decrease the roaming of males who may get hit by cars or get picked up as strays."

This, she explained to us, is because a female in heat can be detected from miles away and can be hard to resist for an unneutered male. "It can lessen howling, barking, urine marking, and aggression between males," she detailed. "Spaying and neutering reduces the risk of developing certain health problems. In females, spaying decreases the odds of developing mammary, ovarian and uterine cancer as well as prevents a life threatening uterine infection called a pyometra. In males, the risk of developing testicular cancer and prostate enlargement is decreased after neutering."

Still looking for a good reason? Spaying can eliminate the annoying heat periods that female dogs go through biannually. In cats, it can cease the yowling that occurs during heat cycles. "They yowl incessantly to attract a male until they are either bred or go out of heat," said Hamilton.

So why do people still not get their pets spayed or neutered if there are all these health benefits?

"People avoid getting their pets fixed for a multitude of reasons," Hamilton affirmed. "The saddest one is that we just don't take the time. Other reasons people don't spay and neuter include an anticipated change of behavior (my dog won't protect my family if I neuter him) or a change in physical attributes (my cat will get fat, lazy, etc)."

Cost, of course, is the next biggest factor. But that's where the Animal Coalition of Tampa steps in. "We honor the voucher that Hillsborough County offers a $10 surgery to those that qualify for public assistance," Hamilton confirmed. "If you don't qualify, our regular prices are lower than you might think. Call us!"

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About The Author

Elisha Neubauer is a freelance editor, ghostwriter, book reviewer, and author. She is...

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