Spaying and Neutering Myths

 

Hundreds of thousands of unwanted pets are killed in North America each year because many people still do not understand the seriousness of the pet overpopulation problem. If more people would spay or neuter their petscespecially their catscthe majority of these animals would not have to die. (Because many dog owners also share their home with cats, we are presenting information for both dogs and cats in this article.)

Myth: Spayed or neutered pets get fat and lazy.

Spayed or neutered pets do not gain weight because they've had surgery. They gain weight because they are fed too much food and exercised too little. Also, the time of surgery (at about six months of age) usually coincides with the pet's entry into adulthood. As the pet matures, calories are not required for further growth and spaying or neutering lowers the animals' metabolic rate. Therefore, the amount fed needs to be adjusted accordingly. Various special formula foods are available to help you match calories with your pet's various life stages.

Myth: Female dogs and cats should have one litter before being spayed.

Female dogs and cats who have had litters or go through a heat period prior to spay surgery have an increased chance of developing malignant breast cancer later in life. So, allowing them to reproduce can actually negatively affect their health and longevity. Spaying completely eliminates the possibility of your female dog or cat developing ovarian and uterine cancer.

Myth: Female dogs and cats can only get pregnant once a year, so why bother having them fixed?

The average female dog or cat is capable of getting pregnant by about five to nine months of age and is capable of bearing two litters a year.

A dog comes into eheate usually twice a year. During this time she will become obsessive about finding a mate and difficult to control. You will not be able to take her to off-leash parks or anywhere that other dogs may be encountered. The eheate cycle is also very messy.

Once a cat comes into eheat,e she cycles in and out every two weeks until she becomes pregnant. A female cat does not ovulate until she has been bred. During this time she can be quite obnoxious. The on and off heat cycle is physically and psychologically difficult for hercand for you. The constant yowling and pacing is nerve wracking, to say the least!

Myth: We can't afford the surgery.

Mandatory spay/neuter policies in place at most animal shelters have made a significant difference in the total number of animals sterilized in North America each year. But for the pet owner who obtains his/her pet from an alternate source such as a pet store, breeder, or an ad in the newspaper, spay/neuter surgery can still appear to be quite costly.

Pet owners must realize that sterilization (especially with females or male dogs that have retained one or both testicles in the abdominal cavity) is major surgery. The veterinarian's cost for the operation is justified because he/she is offering you complete hospitalization, surgical, and anesthesiology services; a nurse (Animal Health Technologist); medications; and, of course, the benefit of their many years of training and expertise.

If you honestly cannot afford the cost of spay/neuter surgery, many cities offer financial assistance programs. Talk to your veterinarian or your local Humane Society about programs that you (or someone your know) might qualify for.

Myth: There are no health or behavioral benefits to spaying or neutering.

Wrong! There are many health benefits of spaying or neutering your pets. For example, sterilized pets are less prone to suffer medical problems related to their reproductive systems and are less likely to roam and fight. They are easier to train and keep under control. What more could you ask for?

Myth: Spaying and Neutering is a waste of money.

In order to encourage more people to be responsible, many cities offer a reduced licence fee for spayed or neutered dogs and, where applicable, cats. So, despite the initial cost of surgery, you can realize an overall savings in the cost of licensing your dog over its lifetime, as well as potential savings in emergency vet bills and the cost of caring for unplanned litters or unexpected emergency caesarian sections.

Myth: Pets need to be 6 to 12 months of age before being spayed or neutered.

Ideally, our companion animals should be altered by the time they are six months of age. It is interesting to note that some animal shelters are beginning to conduct spay/neuter surgery in puppies and kittens as young as eight to 12 weeks of age. Ask your veterinarian for his/her views on early spay/neuter surgery. If your dog or cat is already older than six months of age, and is not a purebred used for breeding or show purposes, the best advice is SPAY DON'T LITTER! Call your veterinarian for more information today.

Myth: It's a good idea to spay female cats and dogs, but with male dogs and cats it doesn't matter.

Wrong again! One eintacte male dog or cat is capable of producing far more offspring that any one female dog or cat. Intact male dogs and cats also mark their territory by urinating on objects in your living room drapes, your bed, and your front doorcyou name it! Intact male dogs are more aggressive and difficult to train, especially when they smell a female dog in heat. Intact male cats may wander away for days or weeks; they fight, yowl and become neighborhood bullies. Neutering eliminates testicular cancer and lowers the incidence of prostate disease.

Need we say more?

Article submitted by: © Terri Perrin

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