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      Getting your pets fixed is more important than you may think

      We should be getting springtime soon.

      And when old man winter decides to back off, and mother nature sends us some green grass and trees, animals, including our beloved pets, will be looking to mate.

      Spaying and neutering your pets can not only prevent unwanted pregnancies, but it can also improve their health and behavior.

      "We love puppies and kittens, but that's a large number of animals. And eventually they're adults, and there's only so many homes out there. So to help fight the overpopulation and make sure every pet has a home, spaying and neutering your pet is very key," said Lareina Van Strien, UPAWS Manager.

      The Upper Peninsula Animal Welfare Shelter says they see around sixteen hundred animals come through their shelter every year.

      And Van Strien says many of those animals wouldn't have even had to go TO the shelter, if they had just been fixed in the first place.

      "We see a lot of animals turned into UPAWS for behavioral reasons related to not being fixed. So getting your pet fixed at an early age, or as soon as possible can help alleviate any behavioral problems that you might experience," said Van Strien.

      Veterinarians say getting your pets spayed or neutered can immensely help their health.

      In female dogs and cats, getting them spayed can prevent them from getting Pyrometra, a life threatening uterine infection, which occurs in up to 25 percent of dogs.

      In males, neutering can prevent prostate or testicular cancer or infections.

      "Some people like to do early spays and neuters, which would be anything before four months. Certainly there's some research to later spays and neuters have some other advantages too. But certainly I think if you can get them spayed or neutered before they come into heat or become sexually mature, at six months is probably a good idea because then we can really prevent any unwanted pregnancies," said Dr. Rauch, Veterinarian at the Negaunee Veterinary Clinic.

      Dr. Rauch said when pets are fixed, the males are castrated, which means just the testicles are removed.

      Male recovery time is about 24 to 48 hours.

      For females, it's a more invasive surgery.

      Vets must remove the ovaries and uterus from the animal.

      Female recovery time tends to be longer, three to seven days on average.