When is my pet old enough to be spayed or neutered?  Vets are often asked this question, especially when vaccinating puppies and kittens.  No one wants to be surprised with an unexpected litter! Spay is the common term for surgically sterilizing female animals while the word neuter refers to males.


Many clinics now perform spaying and neutering at about four months (16 weeks) of age.  Newer generations of anesthetic drugs allow us to safely do surgeries at a younger age.  When you spay or neuter while young, it is less stressful to the animal than waiting until they reach sexual maturity.  Many clinics now offer laser surgery which reduces post-surgical pain and speeds recovery time.

If you find that your pet is unexpectedly in their first heat cycle, surgery can still be done but it is more complicated, risky, and expensive.  If you schedule the surgery at four months of age, you can avoid the possibility of ending up with a young pet in heat or pregnant inappropriately.  Should you choose to have surgery performed during this time, your veterinarian can give you recommendations, advice, and aftercare instructions about surgery.


There are some definite advantages to spaying or neutering early.  Besides avoiding the risk of pregnancy, future cancer of the mammary glands are reduced by up to 80%.  Male animals are less aggressive and less likely to be injured while roaming or fighting.  Urine spraying to mark territory is also reduced.

Spay and neuter surgeries can be performed on pets older than four to six months.  The advantage of early surgery are past, but the surgery can still be performed safely.  Animals that have been used for breeding are often spayed or neutered when they are older and no more offspring are desired.  In some cases, such as when there is cancer or infection of the reproductive organs, surgery must be performed on an older pet to save its life.

The best time to spay or neuter a pet may vary with the individual animal or its circumstances and health status.  It is best to have the animal examined and to consult with your veterinarian about the best time to have surgery performed.

Spay and neuter services in Rexburg are available for your pets and animals at Upper Valley Veterinary Clinic. Give us a call today at (208) 356-4271 to schedule an appointment today to meet with our veterinarian.

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