Acording to the Humane Society Of The United States,some 12
million unwanted puppies, dogs, kittens and cats come into shelters yearly. Over 8 million are euthanized. These numbers do
not include animals abandoned and killed on the highways or those left to fend for themselves. Neutering
or spaying are essential to ensure that every puppy or kitten is wanted and will receive a
lifetime of loving care. Lack of information or misinformation may be a factor in the serious problem of pet overpopulation.
Some pet owners are fearful that the procedure might be painful or cruel or that it will result in a personality change. Others
believe that a female should be allowed to have one litter before spaying. Another misconception is that males need not
be neutered. One unaltered male allowed to roam cane sire multiple litters. Females of either species present problems during
their heat cycles. Both sexes in both species realize health benefits from neutering or spaying. Separating fact from
fiction should reassure pet owners that these procedures not only help solve the problem of unwanted pets but also contributes
to their health.
Neutering or spaying changes a
Fact: A pet's genetic makeup and the attention and training it receives are the factors that shape its personality. Neutering or spaying is usually performed just
as a pet is approaching puberty.
The changes in a pet's playfulness and sleeping habits that normally develop at puberty are sometimes attributed to this procedure.
Myth: Females have a sweeter, gentler personality
if allowed to have one litter before being spayed.
Fact: No evidence from behavioral research
or from clinical observations supports this belief. Some animal behaviorists suggest that this belief can be described as "the placebo
effect." The owner expects
that breeding will bring
about a behavior change and this expectation leads to the assumption that behavior has improved. Although neutering a female after the first litter decreases the future
number of unwanted animals,
can beincreased when"just one litter" is allowed to be born.
Myth: Neutered or spayed pets become obese.
Fact: A good body condition can
usually be maintained by close monitoring of a pet's diet(eliminating table scrapsand, if necessary,reducing
the amount of pet food offered). In additionto diet management, regular exercise and play periods to encourage a pet to exercise should also help prevent obesity.
Solid medical evidence supports the advantages of neutering male dogs. The risk for testicular cancer and other testicular diseasesi s eliminated. The desire to roam
and aggression toward other
dogs usually diminish. As a neutered
male becomes a more contented stay-at-home companion, the threat of his wandering into the path of an automobile and being injured or killed or being injured in fights with other dogs is reduced. Urine marking is also reduced. Spaying a female before her first heat
cycle protects against mammary tumors. However, if surgery is done later in her life,it does not provide this benefit. Early spaying also helps prevent the development or progression of several reproductive tract
Your veterinarian can advise you of the best time to neuter or spay your puppy or kitten. Traditionally, puppies are neutered at six months of age. Female kittens
can also be neutered at six
months. Male kittens should be neutered
before spraying and other undesirable habits associated with an intact male have been established. This normally would occur between seven and nine months of age. The possibility of
neutering or spaying at an
earlier age is under investigation
at several universities. Many veterinarians believe this procedure at an earlier age presents little or no increased risk. The medical procedure for spaying a female dog or cat is called ovariohysterectomy. The veterinarian may keep the pet under observation overnight following surgery. The pet is anesthetized and the veterinarian
removes its ovaries and uterus.The incision can be closed in one of two
ways: nonabsorbable stitches which
must be removed 7 to 10 days later, or subcuticular stitches which are sutures below the skin. These are gradually dissolved in the body.