4.4 million pets are at risk of deadly conditions as they remain unneutered, according to new research from PDSA.\r\n\r\nVet charity PDSA today warned many much-loved family pets\u2019 lives are at risk, as nearly three\u00a0million dogs, 770,000 cats and 720,000 rabbits* are unneutered, leaving them susceptible to various dangerous conditions such as womb infections and cancers.\r\n\r\nTo coincide with World Spay Day (28 February) the charity\u2019s vets are urging owners to get their pets neutered \u2013 a potentially life-saving, simple procedure that can help pets live longer, healthier lives.\r\n\r\nThe PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Report**, produced in conjunction with YouGov, has revealed why pets aren\u2019t being neutered. The main reason given by owners was \u2018Haven\u2019t thought about it\u2019 (22 per cent), followed by \u2018Don\u2019t believe in it\u2019 (16 per cent) and \u2018Not got round to it\u2019 (14 per cent).\r\n\r\nPDSA vet Rebecca Ashman, said: \u201cSadly, vet practices across the UK see the devastating consequences of leaving pets unneutered all too often. Many cancers can be prevented by neutering, as can horrendous life-threatening conditions such as womb infections.\r\n\r\n\u201cAs well as avoiding unwanted litters, neutering can have many health benefits for your pet. It\u2019s best not to delay \u2013 health problems in unneutered pets are more likely as they get older. We all love our pets, so it\u2019s important to prevent potential problems arising when we can. I\u2019d highly recommend owners speak to their vet to avoid future heartache.\u201d\r\n\r\nPet neutering levels vary considerably across the UK, with the North East seeing the highest levels of unneutered pets \u2013 1 in 4 pets (26 per cent) \u2013 compared to 16 per cent of pets in the South East.\r\n\r\nMyths and misconceptions may also be partly to blame for some owners choosing against neutering their pets, as Rebecca explains:\r\n\r\n\u201cAs a vet, I\u2019ve heard many reasons why people are reluctant to have their pets neutered, ranging from worrying it will emasculate their pets, to concern about denying a pet\u2019s parental rights. The reality is that animals don\u2019t experience emotions in the same way we do. There\u2019s no evidence to suggest there is an emotional cost to animals when they don\u2019t have a litter. If owners have concerns about their pet having an anaesthetic and surgery, their vet or vet nurse will be able to put their minds at rest.\r\n\r\n\u201cThere is also a fear that neutering will change your pet\u2019s personality. Again, this a common misconception: neutering can reduce testosterone-fuelled behaviours \u2013 such as aggression \u2013 but this is not the same as changing their nature, which is shaped by genetics and life experiences. If owners have any questions, I\u2019d always recommend they speak to their vet, who can give them specific advice for their pet and address any concerns.\u201d\r\n\r\nFor more advice from PDSA about neutering, visit www.pdsa.org.uk\/neutering\r\n*11 million is the estimated UK cat population, 9.4m = dog population and 1.5m = rabbit population, reported in the PAW Report 2016. 31% of dogs, 7% of cats and 48% of rabbits are unneutered.\r\n*Source: PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Report 2016: The total sample size was 4,252 owners of cats, dogs and rabbits aged 18+ who live within the UK. Fieldwork was undertaken between 6 and 30 June 2016. The survey was carried out online via YouGov\u2019s online research panel. The figures have been weighted to be representative of the population by pet species and the owner\u2019s gender, age and geographic region.