North Shore Animal Hospital

14487 North Cleveland Avenue
North Fort Myers, FL 33903


There are many myths surrounding spaying and castration or neutering (term applies to both males and females) in our dogs and cats. There are studies also that may have age-related recommendations. However, it is important to realize that these studies are limited to a subset of dogs only seen in university teaching hospitals and do not necessarily represent the majority of dogs. 

Early neutering at 4 months of age is recommended for both male and female cats. Female cats may come into heat as early as 4 months of age. As cats are prolific when it comes to reproduction, ensuring that this doesn't occur is essential in being a responsible pet owner at reducing the cat overpopulation in our area. The surgery is safe, quick, with a rapid recovery time. Neutering male cats prevents fighting that frequently occurs in mature male cats over territory and resources, as well as during breeding. It is not uncommon to see intact male feral cats with wounds and scars from fighting other male cats. The majority of cases of FIV are seen in intact male cats due to fighting. The virus can then be passed on through reproduction. 

Most dogs can be neutered early. The exception that we abide by is the neutering of large-giant breed male dogs, as there is a correlation between orthopedic disease and early neutering. Spaying prior to a female dog coming into heat is recommended to reduce the risk of mammary cancer (breast cancer). Spaying can reduce the risk of inter-dog aggression between females. Neutering of males can reduce the risk of inter-dog aggression between males. It is important to realize though that early neutering may have an effect on behavior, with early neutered dogs in some studies being more fearful. However, the complexity of behavior makes it difficult to identify a specific reason for fearfulness. Other factors include genetics, epigenetics, and environmental factors. Discussion of when to neuter your dog should be done with your veterinarian to determine the optimal time for your individual pet.

Importance of spay/neuter in our pets.