One female dog and her puppies can result in 67,000 dogs in six years, and one female cat and her kittens can lead to 370,000 cats being born in seven years.
What is spaying/neutering?
Spaying and neutering are surgical procedures to remove reproductive organs. “Spay” or “ovariohysterectomy” is the complete removal of the uterus and ovaries in a female dog or cat. “Neuter” or “castration,” is the removal of the testicles in a male dog or cat. These procedures eliminate the ability for a female to be impregnated, reducing overpopulation.
At what age can my animal be spayed or neutered?
The surgical procedure is recommended for puppies and kittens before they reach sexual maturity (5-6 months old).
What are the health benefits in spaying/neutering?
Spaying or neutering your pet helps provide protection against the following:
- testicular cancer
- prostatic diseases
- perianal adenomas
What are the behaviour benefits in spaying/neutering?
Spaying or neutering will remove the hormonal drive intact animals helping decrease the following common problems:
- urge to roam or explore
- unwanted sexual behaviour (arousal, humping)
- urine/feces marking
Spaying discontinues the bodies ability to come into heat – eliminating the vocalization, restlessness and a blood flow commonly seen in bitches.
If I spay/neuter my pet at a young age, am I predisposing them to issues later in life?
Estrogen (responsive urinary incontinence)
This is the involuntary passing of urine. Animals that have undergone a spay/neuter surgery are not at higher risk of developing this problem. Although to manage incontinence is by the use of a estrogen supplement, it is not caused by the the removal of the sex hormone. (1)
Stunting of growth
Spaying/neutering your animal before reaching sexual maturity does not enable the body to reach full growth potential. The growth plate closure is actually delayed once a animal is fixed. In both male and female canines, the extended growth period creates longer bones; however, the same results are not seen in cats. (1)
The actual surgical procedure does not make an animal gain weight. Once the sex hormones are removed from the body, the metabolism rate of the animal will decrease. However, animals only gain weight by being overfed and under exercised which can happen regardless of the surgery.
Even after your animal is spayed/neutered they will continue to be just as playful, protective, loyal, and smart whether they can reproduce or not.
All of the following issues discussed above have been addressed in the veterinary literature and found to be unjustifiable.
Should my female have one litter?
There is no proven medical benefits in allowing your animal have one litter. Mating and pregnancy can be stressful on your pet, there can be complications through the pregnancy and birth (dystocia) and the cost of having one litter can be expensive (x-ray/ultrasound, possible c-section,feeding, vaccines, deworming, ect).
There is a chance that once the puppy/kitten find a home they are brought to a animal shelter, adding to the overpopulation and chance of euthanasia if not found a new home.
(1) Ettinger, Stephen J., and Edward C. Feldman. Textbook of Veterinary Internal Medicine. Sixth ed. St.Louis, Missouri: Elsevier Saunders, 2005. Print.