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Friday, November 19, 2010

Spay And Neuter

To Spay, Or Not To Spay--That Is The Question

There are millions of wonderful cats and dogs euthanized each year in the U.S. because there aren't enough homes . . .

  • Overpopulation control
  • Longer and healthier life for your pet
  • Significantly reduced risk of mammary tumors and ovarian and/or uterine and testicular cancer
  • Elimination of heat cycles (elimination of pet's discomfort and owner's cleaning in cases of females)
  • Reduced/eliminated risk of spraying and marking (males)
  • Decreased aggression
  • Reduction of roaming tendencies that may lead to loss of pet and/or  injuries caused by dog fights
  • Eradication of sexually transmitted diseases (such as FIV)

Spay and Neuter Cons

  • The statistically minor risk of the routine medical procedure
  • Potential slight weight gain

When to Spay and Neuter

Most vets in the U.S. recommend spaying and neutering for cats and dogs alike before they reach sexual maturity, between 5 and 7 months. It is safer to opt for the 5 month deadline however because sometimes pets go into early sexual maturity, and there can be complications, such as: higher risk with the spay surgery for an animal in heat and potential pregnancy in your own home (say if you own a brother/sister) or worse, your pet runs off driven by the reproductive instinct.

Early Spay and Neuter

Early age altering refers to spays and neuters done between the ages of 8 and 16 weeks instead of the conventional 5-7 months. While the American Veterinary Medical Association has endorsed the concept of early age altering since 1993, the controversy surrounding this issue has not been resolved. While it has been practiced for over a quarter of a century in North America, the main purpose for early spay and neuter is that it is a more reliable means of preventing shelter pets from reproducing after adoption--it is used as an even more effective means for reproductive control. Based on studies, about 50% of pets adopted out of shelters, despite careful screening of adoptive homes, prepayment or reduced alteration contracts, and economic incentives, are not altered. I'm biting my lip here. As a responsible owner I have always kept my word and often gotten frustrated by a shelter's refusal to allow me to rescue an animal, but personal feelings aside, they are right.

Do your part to end pet overpopulation. Please spay and neuter.
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