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Where to Spay/Neuter Your Animal

The number of animals who have to be euthanized every year in the United States has fallen drastically in recent decades. Forty years ago, as many as 12 to 20 million homeless dogs and cats were put down yearly. Today, the number is closer to three to four million. We have animal shelters and rescue organizations to thank for this decrease and for making us more aware of the benefits of animal population control. By spaying and neutering our pets or captured wild dogs and cats, we can make sure that more animals have good homes and less have to be euthanized or roam the streets.

In addition to keeping the overall animal population under control, spaying (females) and neutering (males) can benefit our pets, helping them live longer, healthier lives. Spaying female dogs and cats reduces the risk of breast cancer and eliminates the risk of uterine and ovarian cancer. It also eliminates them going into heat, howling or yowling, and attracting unaltered male dogs and cats in your neighborhood. Neutering male dogs and cats prevents testicular cancer and prostate problems and reduces aggressive behavior and the urge to roam. Altered animals are often more docile, with less tendency to fight and spray as a way to mark territory. You can spay or neuter your pet at any age, but under six months is often recommended as a way to prevent the development of negative behaviors.

Where should you take your pet for neutering or spaying? Either your local La Jolla veterinarian or an animal shelter offer these services. Check out our Blue Book directory listings. There you'll find several neighborhood vets conveniently located in La Jolla and Pacific Beach. Many offer special puppy and kitten care packages, which include altering, vaccinations and exams. Your local vet can also explain the procedure and answer any questions you may have. They also work in conjunction with local animal shelters and rescue organizations, sometimes offering discounts.

The San Diego Humane Society offers a spay/neuter clinic five days a week. The fees are low. If you adopt an animal from the Humane Society, spaying and neutering are done automatically and are included in the adoption fee. For more information, visit the Humane Society website (www.sdhumane.org) or call (619) 299-7012.

The Humane Society also offers a free public spay and neuter service for those giving up a litter of kittens or puppies from their pet or who have found a stray litter of kittens and are able to capture the stray parent animals. In addition, the Humane Society has developed a community-based movement called Spay San Diego (www.spaysandiego.com), which is dedicated to helping pet owners find affordable assistance for spaying and neutering their pets.


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