Tip of the Month

7/27/2009 What You Should Know about Spaying and Neutering

According to the Humane Society of the United States, approximately 6 to 8 million cats and dogs enter one of the approximately 6000 U.S. animal shelters each year. Of these animals, an estimated 3 to 4 million are euthanized. An estimated 25 of these animals are purebred. A veterinary assistant or any veterinary professional can inform you of the benefits of spaying and neutering pets.

Many of the animals euthanized in animal shelters are perfectly healthy and young. The animals are commonly the offspring of a beloved family pet that had an unintentional litter, and as is common in most cases the owner wasn’t able to find homes for each puppy or kitten. There are simply more homeless animals than there are people willing to provide them with loving homes.

A fertile dog may produce two litters of puppies per year with an average of six to 10 puppies per litter. Cats can produce up to six kittens per litter and have up to three litters per year. Spaying and neutering is the only 100 effective way of controlling the ability of cats and dogs to reproduce. Spaying or neutering your pet will help you to avoid adding to the pet overpopulation problem.

The benefits of spaying your Female dog or cat are as follows:
• She won’t go into “heat,” meaning that there will be no mess for you to clean up.
• Eliminate the risk of diseases like pyometra (pus-filled uterus), uterine cancer, and ovarian cancer.
• Drastically reduces the risk of mammary gland tumors (cancer of the mammary gland).
• No risks associated with pregnancy like false pregnancy, retained placenta, prolapsed uterus, dystocia (difficulty giving birth), or eclampsia – all of which are extremely expensive to treat and may result in death of the mother.

The benefits of neutering your Male dog or cat are as follows:
• Neutered animals tend to be calmer and more relaxed and may be less territorial or aggressive.
• It decreases the risk of a male pet “running away” or “roaming” when they sense a female “in heat”.
• It eliminates the risk of testicular cancer.
• It drastically reduces the risk of an enlarged prostate or prostate cancer. Over 80 of un-neutered male dogs develop some form of prostate disease.

Ashlie Herring a veterinary technician who works with animals says, “There are many misconceptions about spaying and neutering. For instance, some people think that pets that have been spayed or neutered become fat or lazy. It is up to the owner to make sure that her cat or dog gets fed a healthy diet and has regular exercise.” Surgical sterilization will also not affect the physiological development of a dog or cat. There is not scientific data that supports the theory that spaying or neutering affects a pet’s physiological or psychological development. Again, it is up to the owner to provide her pet with adequate nutrition and the loving care that is necessary to help their pet grow into a happy and healthy adult.

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