Spaying and Neutering Information
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[Spay and Neuter Q&A] [Myths] [National Population Facts]
SPAY AND NEUTER Q & A
Q: What are spaying and neutering?
Spaying and neutering are simple, safe surgical procedures that stop an animal from being able to have babies. Females are spayed, and males are neutered (although the word "neuter" may also be applied to a group of animals of mixed or unknown gender). The clinical name for "spay" is ovariohysterectomy. When a female is spayed, her ovaries and uterus are removed. The clinical name for "neuter" is orchidectomy. When a male is neutered, his testicles are removed.
Q: Does spaying and neutering hurt?
Any discomfort an animal experiences is minimal, and well outweighs the suffering and death caused by uncurbed breeding. Veterinarians perform spay and neuter surgeries under a general anesthetic. Animals usually return to normal activity within 24 to 72 hours. According to VetCentric.com, "most cats will heal very easily and quickly," and "most dogs show no signs of discomfort from the procedure." In fact, some dogs "may attempt to resume their normal level of activity immediately after surgery." This, of course, should be monitored to ensure that the animal does not aggravate the incision.
Q: Does spaying and neutering provide any other health benefits?
Yes. In both cats and dogs, spaying greatly reduces the risk of breast cancer and prevents various reproductive tract disorders. Neutering often resolves undesirable behaviors such as aggression, spraying, and roaming, and eliminates the risk of various testicular diseases.
Q: Can animals younger than six months of age be spayed or neutered?
Yes. Although animals have traditionally been altered at six months, many veterinarians are now practicing pediatric (also known as "early-age") spay/neuter surgery, which can be performed on animals as young as six weeks. Doctors practicing this technique report that the surgery is significantly easier and quicker to perform; guardians who have had pediatric spay/neuter performed on their animals report fewer medical problems than those who have older animals altered; and spaying or neutering homeless animals before adopting them out is the best way to ensure unwanted births do not occur. If your veterinarian would like more information on early-age spay/neuter, please refer her or him to our Additional Resources page.
Q: Doesn't spaying and neutering make animals less protective?
No. Any changes brought about by spaying or neutering are generally positive. Neutered male cats usually stop territorial spraying. Neutered dogs and cats tend to fight less and are less likely to become lost due to straying from home in search of a mate. Spayed animals do not go into heat or need to be confined indoors to avoid pregnancy. Animals do not become less protective or loyal to their guardians as a result of being altered.
Q: Is it really necessary to neuter males? Males don't give birth!
The old saying "it takes two to tango" is as true for animals as it is for humans. Even if you are very careful to keep your male pet under control at all times, accidents do happen and he may escape. In fact, he will likely try repeatedly to escape, digging up your yard, scratching up your door, or chewing off his restraint in the process. Males roaming in search of a mate are susceptible to being injured by traffic and in fights with other males. And while a female cat or dog can only have one litter at a time, male animals can impregnate many females each day.
Q: Isn't spaying and neutering expensive?
Although to some animal guardians the cost of surgery may seem high initially, it's a real bargain when compared with the cost of raising a litter of puppies or kittens. Spaying and neutering also saves taxpayer dollars. According to a recent study,* it costs some shelters an average of $176 to capture, house, feed and eventually kill a homeless animal-a cost that ultimately comes out of all our pockets. Most important of all, when you consider the moral expense of killing millions of healthy, innocent beings whom many of us consider "best friends," the cost of spay/neuter surgery fades to insignificance.
While prices for spay/neuter surgery vary considerably, many humane societies, welfare organizations, and municipal animal care and control departments offer low cost spay/neuter services for people who truly need them-those struggling to make ends meet on a low income, animal rescue workers such as those who trap and neuter feral cats, and Good Samaritans who are paying for someone else's animal(s). Friends of Animals, for example, distributes low cost spay/neuter vouchers through its national toll-free hot line: 1-800-321-PETS (1-800-321-7387).
The bottom line when adopting an animal is, you assume responsibility for that animal's well-being. Spaying and neutering is as vital to your pet's health and happiness as routine physical examinations, good nutrition, grooming, playtime, and love. Before you adopt an animal, you need to seriously consider whether or not you are ready to take on the financial responsibility of properly caring for one. If you have already adopted an unaltered animal, it is your responsibility to have that animal spayed or neutered regardless of cost.
* Wenstrup, John, and Alexis Dowidchuk, "Pet Overpopulation: Data and Measurement Issues in Shelters," Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, 2(4), 1999, 303-319.
Want to breed your pet?
Spaying or Neutering (or "Fixing") your pet not only helps control the pet overpopulation but is healthier for your pet.
The thinking that a female should go into heat before spaying or "should be bred at least once" is out dated and a myth. Spaying decreases the chances of certain cancers in female dogs. This chance increases with each heat cycle. Whelping (giving birth) although "natural" is dangerous. Numerous things can go wrong during this time and the mother dog may need emergency (and expensive!) vet care. It is also a possiblility that even with the best of vet care, she (and all the pups) could die. It happens more than you think, even to experienced breeders that have bred their dogs before.
Also, even the friendliest family pet can become very protective of her newborn babies. This could make for a dangerous situation for everyone.
Saying that male dogs will not grow properly, not "protect" the home is also a myth. A dog that has a tendency to protect or be shy has much to do with breed, other dogs in his line and temperament of the individual dog and has nothing to do with whether or not he is neutered. If a dog is going to be short and stocky or tall and "leggy" he will be this way regardless of when he was neutered. Again, it has everything to do with the individual dog and his parents and grandparents before him.
Nuetered males are less likely to roam seeking a female in heat, less likely to be territorial (urninating to "Mark" their territory). Neutering can also prevent health issues later in life.
Please take a moment to look at the following web sites for more information.
NEUTERING: BENEFITS AND SAFETY
Pet Care - Facts About Spaying and Neutering
Spaying & Neutering - Myths & Facts
So now you have read all the links and you still want to breed your dog? Well there are other things to consider.
Did your dog come from a pet store? Pet store puppies usually come from puppy mills or "BYB's" (back yard breeders) and often have health problems related to poor breeding. Reputable breeders would never send their puppies to a pet store to be sold no matter what the store employee told you.
Does your dog exibit any "undesirable" behavior like aggressiveness, or is overly shy? Undesirable traits such as these are often due to the natural temperament of the dog and can be passed on to the puppies.
Do you think breeding your dog is a good way to make money? Reputable breeders do NOT make money by selling puppies. Breeding a dog, after all the proper clearances, vet care, and puppy care is an expensive venture. Most breeders are happy to make most of the money back and almost never make money.
If you answered "No" to ALL of these questions, you might want to breed your dog but we aren't done yet. PLEASE read on......
Is he or she at least over two years old? Dogs under two hould not be bred for many reasons, the major one being risks to their health.
Is your dog an excellent example of his or her breed? Does your dog meet the breed standards for height, size, markings? How is the dogs temperament?
Does he/she have many champions in his/her line? Not one or two many generations back but recently? Parents, grandparents?
Have you had your vet do all the necessary health clearances? By this, we don't mean "Is your dog healthy?" Although that is part of the process. Certain breeds are prone to certain hereditary problems with eyes, hips, elbows, etc. Has your dog been certified clear of all these hereditary problems? Where the parents, grandparents, great grandparents? If you don't know what any of this means, you should stop right here and do more research of your chosen breed.
Has your dog "proven" himself in the show ring or earned any titles? AKC papers are NOT enough. That is simply a registration process saying that parents were "purebred" and registered with the AKC. This is from the AKC website
AKC Registered and Quality
There is a widely held belief that "AKC" or "AKC papers" and quality are one and the same. This is not the case. AKC is a registry body. A registration certificate identifies the dog as the offspring of a known sire and dam, born on a known date. It in no way indicates the quality or state of health of the dog. Quality in the sense of "show quality" is determined by many factors including the dog's health, physical condition, ability to move and appearance. Breeders breeding show stock are trying to produce animals that closely resemble the description of perfection described in the breed standard. Many people breed their dogs with no concern for the qualitative demands of the breed standard. When this occurs repeatedly over several generations, the animals, while still pure-bred, can be of extremely low quality.Also, you should note here that some unscrupulous "breeders" have doctored paperwork to get dogs registered.