Difference Between Spay and Neuter

The main difference between spay and neuter is that spay is a female animal whose reproductive system has been removed whereas neuter is either a male or a female animal whose reproductive system is been removed completely or to a large extent.

The main purpose of the removal of the reproductive system of an animal is birth control. Beyond that, it is done to lessen behavior issues and to increase work capacity while suppressing aggression.

Key Areas Covered

1. What is a Spay
      – Definition, Procedure, Effect
2. What is a Neuter
     – Definition, Procedure, Effect
3. What are the Similarities Between Spay and Neuter
     – Outline of Common Features
4. What is the Difference Between Spay and Neuter
    – Comparison of Key Differences

Key Terms: Behavior, Birth Control, Hormones, Neuter, Removal of Reproductive system, Spay   

Difference Between Spay and Neuter - Comparison Summary

What is Spay

A spay refers to a female animal whose reproductive system has been removed. This surgical procedure is referred to the ovariohysterectomy. This process includes the removal of ovaries, Fallopian tubes, as well as uterus. An ovariohysterectomy in a female cat is shown in figure 1.

Difference Between Spay and Neuter

Figure 1: Ovariohysterectomy in a Female Cat

Female animal will have an incision in her abdomen. Due to the removal of the ovaries, the female animal may not produce estrogen and progesterone anymore. Spaying in dogs increases the attachment towards the owner. However, they may be more aggressive as well. Generally, spaying reduces the risk of ovarian and uterine cancers. But, there may be a minimal chance of urinary incontinence.

What is Neuter

A neuter refers to a male or female animal whose reproductive system has been removed. Orchiectomy is the surgical procedure which removes the reproductive system completely or to a large extent and creates a neuter. Though some may often use “neutering” incorrectly to refer only to male animals, the term is applied to both male and female animals in real. The male-specific term of neutering is castration. In modern veterinary, neutering refers to de-sexing. Neutering of a cat is shown in figure 2.

Main Difference -  Spay vs Neuter

Figure 2: Neutering of a Cat

In male animals, neutering involves removing the testicles, but the scrotum remains as it is. Since testicles are removed, they no longer produce sperms and testosterone. This makes the male animal sterile. Also, as testosterone drives most of the undesirable behavior in males, these animals remain calm. Males will have incisions on either side of the scrotum after the surgery.

Similarities Between Spay and Neuter

  • Both spay and neuter are animals who have undergone the surgical removal of reproductive systems.
  • Both may represent female animals.
  • Both spaying and neutering are done for mammals.
  • The purpose of creating spay or neuter may be birth control.
  • The risk of cancers is decreased drastically in both.
  • Both may live longer.
  • The traditional age for spaying or neutering is 6-9 months from birth.
  • Pets such as dogs and cats are subjected to either spaying or neutering.

Difference Between Spay and Neuter

Definition

Spay: A spay is a female animal whose reproductive system has been removed

Neuter: A neuter is a male or female animal whose reproductive system has been removed

Gender

Spay: Describes a female

Neuter: Describes either a male or a female

Purpose

Spay: Birth control

Neuter: Birth control, increase work capacity, and suppress aggression

Name of Procedure

Spay: Ovariohysterectomy or spaying

Neuter: Orchiectomy or castration

Procedure

Spay: Ovaries, Fallopian tubes, and uterus are removed

Neuter: Testicles are removed in males

Result

Spay: Does not produce estrogen and progesterone

Neuter: Does not produce sperms and testosterone

Effect

Spay: Increased aggressive behavior in some cases

Neuter: Decreased aggressive behavior in males

Conclusion

A spay is a female animal whose reproductive system is surgically removed. A neuter is either a male or female animal whose reproductive system is surgically removed. The main purpose of the removal of the reproductive system is birth control in females. In males, it is done to increase work capacity as well as to suppress aggression. The main difference between spay and neuter is the gender of animals described by each term.

Reference:

“Spaying/Neutering.” American Humane, Available here.

Image Courtesy:

1. “Spay 1″ By Joel Mills – Own work (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Kastrationsblech” By Uwe Gille – Own work (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia

About the Author: Lakna

Lakna, a graduate in Molecular Biology & Biochemistry, is a Molecular Biologist and has a broad and keen interest in the discovery of nature related things

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